An unfortunate set of circumstances led to the OA's kicking off the game with only 10 men as debutant Ally Dessain couldn't find the pitch and Henry Ogden deciding it wise to cycle the 10 miles from Hampstead... not the start that to the game that skipper Matt Rigg (celebrating his 30th birthday) had envisaged. Epsom, who had quite obviously been reinforced with at least four 1st XI players, made their numerical advantage very much felt in the opening stages launching wave after wave of attack. The visitors had 2 or 3 opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net as the OAs struggled to cope defensively. Epsom blushes were spared as an effort was blasted over from inside the box when the ref blew for offside. Another near-open goal was missed into the side netting, and finally possibly their best player raced through on goal, took the ball around the 'keeper only to see the ball bobble as he scuffed it over the bar.
20 minutes in and we were finally up to our full compliment of 11 as Ally Dessain slotted in at left mid (his first touch nutmegged his marker, and his second was a backheel which sent George Outred bursting down the wing) and we were beginning to claw our way back into the tie. Epsom's momentum was wearing out as we kept possession and looked comfortable passing the ball around the defence and midfield. Henry Ogden arrived (exhausted already from cycling) and came on for Jason at RB. 10 minutes before the break we took the lead, George Outred whipped in a corner and Matt Rigg rose above his marker to head into the corner of the net. We went in at the break at 1-0 as the Epsom forward started to resort to dirty tactics, stamping, kicking, hitting our defenders to try and provoke a reaction. Their heads had evidently gone.
With the wind behind us after the break we doubled our advantage in what looked like a well drilled training ground routine (although this is impossible as we don't do training). Corner was taken short to George who slipped a pass into the front post to Jimmy Dwyer, who in turn prodded it across the box and Matt Rigg swept it into the bottom right from 12 yards. Dreams of a birthday hattrick were starting to formulate. . . Epsom tried pushing further forward which opened up spaces for us to exploit especially with the wind behind us. Tom Williams dropped deep in CM and launched a diagonal long ball for Jack Rogers who was running down the right wing, and hearing a shout from John Armour played it inside first time which Johnny collected and ripped a powerful drive that somehow their keeper got a strong hand to and tipped over the bar. John did get his goal though not long after, when 'keeper Dan gathered the ball from an Epsom attack and drop-kicked the ball high into the air catching the wind and catching out their centre back. Armour let the ball bounce once and then dinked it over the on-rushing goalie to make it 3-0.
One final chance from a corner was cleared and the OAs kept their 2nd clean sheet of the season. MOTM Matt Rigg for 2 goals and defensive clean sheet.