After last week’s disappointing loss to mid-table Worthing United at home, we were on the road again to visit Wick FC at their Crabtree Park home ground. The pitch had been passed fit after a 10 am inspection and we travelled knowing that we would be in for a hard game against the team lying below us second in the league. We played Wick at Home earlier in the season and had beaten them 6-1; we were expecting them to come out trying to put that result right.
There were a few changes from the team that lost at home last week with Aaron Bogel being absent so Gideon Acheampong moved into central defence, Jonny Akoto (ka Sonic) came into the right-back berth and upfront, Jaevon Dyer started. It has to be said that in the opening exchanges Wick was on top but they never actually created a clear-cut chance and as the game went on and into the second part of the first half we were very much in the ascendency and a Wick foray into our half was a rare sight. We had a few half chances the best of which was a free kick from just outside the box which the Wick goalkeeper did well to parry to safety then in injury time of the first half, who else but Jamie Byatt was in the 6-yard box to stab home our opening goal. It was nothing short of what we deserved so at halftime it was 1-0 to Epsom.
As the second half began our front line was giving the Wick defence a torrid time with a tormentor-in-chief Athan Smith-Joseph creating all sorts of havoc down the left flank. The game was stopped after a misfortunate slip by Wick No2 with no one around him which led to a long delay as a stretcher was called for and he was carried off in a lot of pain (we subsequently learnt that he was not as bad as first thought and we at Epsom wish him a speedy recovery). Again we were on top with no notable chances for Wick at all apart from the odd speculative shot from way outside the penalty box which resulted in the ball either going over the top or well wide of the goal. Because of the nine-minute stoppage for the aforementioned injury to Wick No2, we knew there would be a long period of injury time and in the 96th minute, we put the game out of reach of Wick with Josh Alder, a second-half substitute for Jamie Byatt got onto a long ball from Zac Powell and beat the keeper even though he had got a hand to the shot so 2-0 to Epsom. We then saw the game out, the only real disappointing aspect of the late stages of the match was a booking for Nick ‘Tricky’ Wilson for what was a fairly innocuous challenge which means he will miss the match against 2rd place Shoreham at Home next week.