Report by Alan Burgess
Epsom & Ewell (0) 2 v 2 (1) Godalming – Southern Combination
A cold evening fixture played at Leatherhead and Godalming came away with a point against the league’s second placed team and a bit of a bogey side for us in the past.
A change in goal, with Alfie Mickley being unavailable for three games Ryan O’Sullivan, also with Knaphill, was brought in to replace him. He played behind a back four of James Colinese, Luke Beale (Captain) and Ollie McAleese with Matt Cox playing on the left. Tom White and Kurt Greenaway were the starting frontmen with Ross Cheek, Rikkie Letch, James Mariner and Rob Parrott holding the middle. On the bench we had Liam Avery, Connor Blanchard, Sam Boultwood, Jason Cotton and Luca Scanella.
The game kicked off serenaded by the sound of church bells and honours were even between the teams until on 9 minutes Matt Cox was brought down out wide level with the area on our left. Ross Cheek’s free kick was delivered back out to him off the line by the Epsom keeper and the return ball in was knocked on by Kurt and put away on the far post by Ollie McAleese. 1-0 Gee’s. We like these early goals, but it leaves a long time left to defend. A second free kick from a similar position was cleared by Epsom and shortly afterwards Kurt broke forward, played a 1 – 2 with Rob but shot wide of the goal. We won our first corner on 13 minutes which was cleared up field, an Epsom player got to the by-line where fortunately his fellow forward appeared to make no effort to score, a bit of a let off.
20 minutes in Kurt went down injured and was forced off to be replaced by Jason Cotton. Kurt’s diagnosis is that he might be out for 2 weeks, let’s hope he’s being overly pessimistic. Ross attempted a long-range snapshot which the keeper dropped but quickly gathered. After a lengthy debate in front of the Gee’s bench while we all froze the referee eventually decided on a yellow card for an Epsom player. 10 minutes to half time and our Ref gave a debatable free kick to the opposition on our ‘D’, a decision Cheeky thought debatable enough to be sinbinned. Although that is our first in a while, we have now seen three in the last three games, looks to me like new instructions have been issued from Ref HQ! The 10 men got to the whistle despite losing Mazza through injury (hopefully not serious), Liam replacing him. Tom shot over and later created an opportunity for Coxy before Jason had a penalty appeal turned down. 1-0 at half time.
Ross Cheek was back on for the second half and as we had begun to see from them before the break Epsom continued to build from the back and camp around the halfway line and further forward. An Epsom effort was off target and past our left-hand post early on. It’s an easy thing to say from the side-lines but we appeared to be defending too deeply and so relying on the break.
And break we did 57 minutes in as Rob Parrott played a perfect ball through the middle to Tom White who lobbed the keeper to make it 2-0. All this and a full half hour remaining to the final whistle.
The Gee’s still created a few half chances and won a corner against the opponents pressing game however from the first Epsom corner of the half Ryan made what appeared to be a decent punched clearance only to see it volleyed back past him for 2-1. 20 minutes left and it was Epsom who were now ‘ping ponging’ the ball about our box Godalming style while we sought to clear the lines, one attempt at least cleared right on the goal line. 12 minutes left and it became 2-2 after a low drive from our left was put away by an opponent with time on his hands on the far post. The final substitutions followed, Ross and Tom replaced by Connor and Luca, with Boulty replacing Rob shortly after. Godalming saw the game out for the point and latterly managed to take some of the game back to Epsom with a couple of runs from Boulty and a long throw by Luca causing problems for their defence. Final whistle, not before Tony Roberts appeared to be given a yellow card, and it finished 2-2.
After going 2-0 up are you glass half full? or are you glass half empty? I’ll take the glass half full after some of our recent results against Epsom. We always travel in hope, but had you asked me before kick-off I would have certainly taken a point.
The players reaction after the game told us they were disappointed after all that hard graft. I understand that and in its way that’s good for the games to come and a reminder of where we want to be come the last week in April.
There’re 7 games remaining to go for maximum points to achieve what probably looks now like a play-off place, but you never know, do you?
Let’s get behind them for the run in. We start this Saturday with our second trip in 3 weeks to the End of the Runway, Gatwick. It’s at 3pm I think, but always best to check first.