We hosted Horley Town at the ‘Madgwick’ on Saturday, March 23rd, in what was another crucial game as we try to secure our place in the Premier Division for the next season. The match was billed as ‘Non-League Day’ due to the international break. However, the turnout was disappointing, with only 70 supporters in attendance.

Carl Obiltey returned to his position as our central striker after recovering from a hamstring issue, while Matt Macgillviray took up a central midfield role.

Before kickoff, a respectful minute of silence was observed to honour the passing of Terry Molloy, the Banstead Athletic Chairman and Owner, who sadly passed away on Thursday. Terry’s remarkable contribution to non-league football in Surrey over the years was acknowledged by many clubs in the region, including ours, with a minute of silence before the game.

Despite a promising start, we found ourselves trailing as our visitors opened the scoring in the 15th minute. The goal came amidst what seemed like a clear foul on one of our players, but the referee allowed play to continue, resulting in Horley scoring. (The Horley players and supporters also confirmed after the game, that they also felt it was a foul.) Despite this setback, we had an opportunity to level the score, but we hit the post instead of finding the back of the net. Shortly after, a Horley player was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes for dissent towards the referee, but we failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage. Just before halftime, Horley extended their lead after capitalising on a clearance from one of our players. The halftime score stood at 2-0 in favour of the visitors, compounded by questionable refereeing decisions.

No changes were made to our lineup at halftime, and although we maintained possession, we struggled to convert it into goals. A failure to mark a Horley player during a corner kick led to their third goal, putting us at a significant disadvantage. However, we managed to pull one back in the 82nd minute through a powerful header from Thompson Adjemi, giving the Horley goalkeeper no chance. Despite the Horley goalkeeper delaying the restart by kicking the ball out of play, no action was taken by the referee. Additionally, the referee’s inconsistent decision-making was evident as three yellow cards were shown to Epsom players within a five-minute period for minor challenges. A fourth goal conceded in injury time sealed our fate, resulting in a final score of 4-1. As we left the pitch, a Horley player, who had committed several fouls without being booked, was seen laughing with a teammate about “getting away with it” in front of the referee.

Aside from the disappointing performance by the referee, we failed to capitalise on the chances we created, only managing to convert one into a goal. With four crucial matches remaining, we now have four  “Cup Finals” left to try and secure our future in this division, starting with a home game against Spelthorne Sports on Tuesday, April 2nd, with a kick-off time of 19:45 at the “Madgwick”. Your support will be greatly appreciated.