We entertained Virginia Water FC at the Reg Madgwick stadium in Cobham on Tuesday. 16th January in the Second round of the Southern Combination Cup on what was a very cold evening. With FA cup replays on the TV, we were not expecting much of a crowd and were quite surprised by the 62 hardy souls who turned up to enjoy the fare on display wearing a wide variety of cold weather clothing.
It had been a strange 24 hours for the Epsom faithful with the unexpected resignation of our interim manager, Steve Springett on Monday. This meant that the team were taken by Warren Burton and Gwynne Berry who had been assisting Steve for the past 6 weeks. It would be remiss of us not to thank Steve for his contribution to our football club over the past few years both as player and more latterly as our interim manager. Thank you, Steve.
As for our line up, we welcomed to the club on the substitutes bench Carl Oblitey who would play a part in this match late in the second half. Nick ‘Tricky’ Wilson partnered Reece Tierney in the middle of our defence and we started with TJ in the striker’s berth.
Our opponents were riding high in the North Division of the Combined Counties league so we understood we would be truly tested.
What of the game? We were a match for our higher placed opponents in the initial stages and we went ahead through a well taken goal by Luke Miller after a smart interchange of passes. We held onto the lead until just before half time when a shot from one of our opponents hit the inside stanchion of one of our posts and was clearly a goal but it took a discussion from the referee and one of his assistants to confirm the goal. The half ended 1-1.
In the second half we were definitely second best and went behind from a well taken goal after a smart move. We went further behind after an innocuous challenge on the D of the penalty box and the referee awarded a free kick and from this resulting infringement our goalkeeper failed to hold onto the free kick and an opposition player was on hand to score to make it 3-1. It was 4-1 shortly after when we scored an own goal from a dangerous free kick from outside the box. We did also have our own chances to reduce the deficit throughout the second half but was only successful with one of these when Sirak Negassi scored what was probably the best goal of the evening with a curling shot which nestled in the top corner of the oppositions net. The match ended 4-2.
We now have another weekend off from league matches and then entertain our landlords (Cobham) at the Reg Madgwick stadium on Friday 26th January with a 1945 kick off. On the following Tuesday we are at home again to Jersey Bulls with another 1945 kick off.