Epsom & Ewell were very much looking forward to the game against their Landlords Cobham Fc at the Reg Madgwick stadium on Tuesday evening especially after two fine performances in the FA Cup and FA Vase recently.
Our manager, James Scott kept the same team from those two matches with the only addition on the bench was the returning Tommy Williams after recovering from a slight injury incurred at the home match against Redhill a fortnight ago.
The game was somewhat marred by some bizarre officialdom throughout the evening; more of that later.
We started well with our passing game working well, but with little or no penetration from our forward line. We had a couple of scares in the opening exchanges but after 20 minutes we were ‘holding our own’. Our opponents then began to assert a little more pressure on our back line and from a corner took the lead around the half hour mark with a ‘toe poke’ from near the goal line. We did not react too well to this setback and the half ended 1-0 to our hosts.
We hoped that we could come back in the second half, but again apart from a couple of long range shots we were ‘second best’ all over the field. This half will be remembered for some decisions from all three officials which went against our team. The first was the sending off of Tommy Williams for a second yellow card after he went through on the keeper and then tried to leapfrog over him; he did catch him slightly but there was no absolute menace in the challenge. In fact a video of the incident clearly shows that the referee’s initial reaction to the challenge was to begin to wave play on only to be stopped by the Cobham players to remonstrate with him. The referee went to the linesman and discussed the incident with him and we could all see what was going to happen and Tommy was shown his second yellow card. What we find hard to take is that the officials must be 100% correct in their decision making before taking that course of action and they clearly were not especially when they were shown the video of the incident after the game.
Our ten men went further behind in the 89th minute and then an even more bizarre goal in injury time made it 3-0. As the attack for the third goal began the referee’s assistant was waving his flag as if thought he had been to semaphore school and yet the referee played on and our opponents scored. Again when asked afterwards the officials informed us that the person he had been waving for offside was not interfering with play so that’s why he had played on, the same player was the person who scored the goal so I we are unsure if that decision was right how can a player not be interfering with play and then a few seconds later score the goal.
This all may seen rather contrite and excuses for our display. These are not, we all just want the officials to make clear decisions which are consistent. Having said all this, it was not a good performance and we deservedly lost. We now find ourselves at the foot of the table with no points; we need to pick up one points and very soon.
In a few days time we turn our attention to a very tough game in the FA Cup away at Eastbourne United, who have started their respective Step 5 campaign very well. We then travel to Jersey to take on there ‘Bulls’ on Saturday 9th January. Our next home game is on the 16th when we face Sheerwater.
Report: Peter Mutton
Photos: Gemma Jarman