There cannot be many games that are decided by 3 penalties but that’s what happened to us when we played away at Abbey Rangers on Saturday 25th November. It was yet another cruel result for our team with the deciding penalty being awarded in the 90th minute after an alleged handball from one of the Epsom defenders; the bizarre part of this decision is that the penalty was given by an assistant referee who must have been 40 yards from the incident. The handball resulted in the Epsom defender being sent off for the offence again we reiterate that a decision like this must be 100% correct to firstly award the penalty and then to send the player off; how can the officials be that sure from that far away?
As for the game itself, our player manager Steve Springett was on the bench due to illness of our assistant manager, Sam Groombridge, otherwise there were a couple of changes with Ethan Brazier making what turned out to be a polished debut in place of the suspended Tommy Williams. Nick Wilson came into midfield and made a huge difference throughout the game not only in midfield (more of that later).
Our opponents lay in 4th place in the league after a very good recent run of results, so we were expecting a hard game. In the first half we more than held our own, although not threatening too much and we were indebted to our excellent goalkeeper, Harvey Keogh who kept us in the game with some excellent point-blank saves. And then with one or our rare attacks in the first half as the game was entering its final stages, we were correctly awarded a penalty which Nick Wilson despatched easily to make it 1-0 which is how the half ended.
It was incredibly important to keep the scoreline tight in the opening minutes of the second half, however unfortunately we were caught out by a quick break and committed a foul in the penalty area which the resultant kick was despatched into our net – 1-1.
Shortly after we had the bizarre spectacle of our goalkeeper being sent to the sin bin after he had been booked for supposedly delaying the start of the match and then arguing the point with the referee. Nick Wilson went into our goal and yet again after his stellar performance away to Hailsham Town last season when he kept a clean sheet, he did the same again for us here for the ten minutes that Harvey was off the field.
The game was beginning to fizzle out into a draw when we had the aforementioned decision for another penalty to our hosts which was taken and went in the lead 2-1. This is how the game finished and it was as previously mentioned a harsh result for us.
There is no need to dwell on this performance as we move onto another away game at Alton Football Club next Saturday; we need your support more than ever.