Horley make mincemeat of Epsom and Ewell


Horley Town 4-0 Epsom & Ewell FC. Combined Counties League – Premier Division. Saturday 23rd December 2023.

Exactly six years to the day since we last visited Horley Town, we made a visit that will not live long in the memory unless you are a Horley fan as we crashed 4-0 in our latest League fixture.

Horley produced a nice touch for this contest by sending some of the children around the ground to offer everyone mince pies, but regrettably that was all we would get from them in this match, as they finished much the stronger of the two teams after a fairly even first half hour. In comparison, we were extremely generous and many gifts were presented by our team!

Our line up contained our Captain Harvey Keogh, who had returned from a trip away, while Tommy Williams came back into the starting eleven, pushing Ethan Nelson-Roberts further forward. Tijani Eshilokun, Luke Miller and Tino Carpene also started, while Thomson Adeyemi surprisingly dropped to the bench and Sirak Negassi and George Owusu were not available. Finally, Ollie Thompson was back on the bench after what looked like being a longer term injury last weekend, although he advised that he wasn’t going to be risked. For Horley there were two former Salts as Josh Alder and their Captain Louis Chin lined up against us.

Although possession was fairly even in the opening exchanges, we never really managed to get a shot of any power or accuracy at goal, while for Horley, Sam Harper broke through, but Keogh spread himself well to block the ball with his feet. An Alder right wing cross just eluded the incoming strikers, while Keogh then required treatment after he and a home player both went up with high feet and our man came off worse. Fortunately he was able to continue after receiving treatment.

The game changed in the 33rd minute when Miller picked up a yellow card, somewhat harshly, I thought. However, his response to this in applauding the decision earned him an unnecessary visit to the sin bin. Our club are well aware when a referee has an assessor present, but I wonder whether our Management are advised of this fact, as you always know that these sort of things are more likely to be actioned on by an official who is being assessed.

Within a minute we were forced into a substitution after Reece Tierney picked up an injury and Thompson came on for an appearance he wasn’t expecting to make. Horley stepped up the pressure and Nick Inwugwu made a good clearance from a dangerous ball in. Then Alder’s shot on goal was blocked for a corner, from which Jake Roberts then fired the ball into the roof of the net for the opening goal in the 37th minute.

We were back to ten men soon after, but Horley were up and running now and a right wing cross was headed just wide of our goal before our defence parted in the 48th minute and Joshua Rapson delicately chipped the ball over the exposed Keogh to put the home side two nil up at the break.

We had a couple of half chances early in the second half, but Nelson-Roberts was flagged offside when Miller appeared to be fouled in the area, and then a Steve Springett free kick required George Hyde in the Horley goal to make his first real intervention of the day by punching the ball clear, but these were small crumbs unfortunately and in the 57th minute we conceded a third goal in awful circumstances when Harper eased past Inwugwu and squared the ball for Cameron Gyeabour to finish off from close range.

Bad became worse just seven minutes later when Hyde’s long goal kick put Alder through and with no defenders nearby, Keogh had to come out, leaving the former Salt to chip the ball over him into the net from twenty yards, despite a covering defender being on the line by this time.

In response Springett sent a free kick high and wide from 25 yards and substitute Adeyemi also sent a shot wide, but I didn’t recognise a single shot on target from our boys in this match and there was even time for Hyde to venture behind the goal to share a drink with some of the home fans! The final chances fell to the home team and they had a fair shout for a penalty turned down, before Hyde nearly secured a second assist when his long ball found Rapson on the left and his shot was well blocked by Keogh, although the ball went up in the air and should have really been finished off by an incoming player, but fortunately he missed his kick! We were then reduced to ten men in the 93rd minute after Nelson-Roberts picked up a visit to the sin-bin himself. He has been one of our best players this season, but obviously you can’t influence the match when you are on the sidelines and we need to start learning this lesson. Mercifully the whistle saved us from further punishment and we retired, defeated by four clear goals.

There were many concerning aspects about this particular afternoon, but I shall concentrate on the three most important ones. Firstly, the way we defended, particularly in the second half. Secondly, we have now gone 301 minutes of normal time since we scored a goal. Finally, for the first time in a while results around us did not go well, particularly with Colliers Wood United winning at Tooting & Mitcham United. We face the latter in our next contest and it’s fair to say that this now becomes a very important League match for our club.

Epsom & Ewell: Harvey Keogh (c), Tommy Williams, Nick Inwugwu, Steve Springett, Reece Tierney, Nick Wilson, Luke Miller, Tijani Eshilokun, Tino Carpene, Rory Edwards, Ethan Nelson-Roberts

Subs: Ollie Thompson for Tierney (34), Thompson Adeyemi for Carpene (56), Jaan Stanley for Miller (76), Ade Batula for Springett (76)

Report Source: www.eefconline.co.uk

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