Bath v Epsom LC
23rd February 2019
Venue – Odd Down
Final Score – Bath 6:2 Epsom
Much needed win for Bath
Bath have been a bit out of sorts on the field of late, losing heavily at Oxford University (1:28, which made it on to the stats top 10 tables) and then losing a tight encounter at home to Cheltenham (6:7), all this means the first team were languishing at the bottom of the SEMLA League Div 2 table.
Epsom are a competent outfit and the score in Surrey was a 10:10 tie, this was not to be an easy push over. To compound captain Mark Lane’s problems, all but 6 of the regular first team players were available. A situation that is far from ideal, this meant a step up for 6 of the second team in the shape of 5 first year students (who have come on leaps and bounds this season; but have only been playing 4 months) and one old man (Nik Roberts one day off 58th Birthday).
Crucially Bath were strong in a couple of key departments, and this was to prove the difference between the teams. At Face Alex Hustler came out best, although he didn’t dominate completely, the lions share of the possession from the restarts came Bath’s way, and in Goal Mark Lane showed once again why he should be right under the noses of the South selectors, saving well and providing a great range of clears that added to the home sides attacking value on the pitch.
Bath started the game well, coming up with the ball and forcing a good save out of the Epsom Keeper, something that would be a regular feature in this game. Bath finally got the breakthrough with a crease goal from Roberts and extended the lead through a nice pick up and finish by Simon Griffiths, Epsom managed to pull one back just before quarter time to make the game”:1 to the home side after the first period.
Both clubs had relatively small squads and the temperature on the day (hottest February on record) meant that both teams played the game at a slow pace, Bath however always looked the more dangerous, Roberts hit the keeper on the foot from a Carey feed before converting from a nice dump to crease by MVP Kaylan Slade minutes later. A drive across the front of the defence by Alex Hustler was finished with a sharp shot into the top corner. Bath further extended the lead with another good shot from Griffiths from the right-hand quarter.
Half time saw Epsom re-evaluate their formation and the third quarter saw the visitors much more dominant in most areas, at one stage the Bath defence was down to a three man zone but still held out, with some great knock downs and fantastic saves from Lane, The defence of Sam White, Laurence Dawson Smith, Paul Bown and Ramzi Nazr was looking difficult to break down.
At midfield, Mike Carey had to retire from the game with a Hamstring problem, which meant Adnan Siddiquei, Toke Akinseye, Chris Brown and Alex Hustler put in a real shift.
It was Bath after a time out and roughly thrown together set play that scored in the third quarter, using a back-door sneak, Roberts deflected a Hustler pass into the net.
By the fourth quarter both teams were feeling the effects of the heat, and neither team managed to dominate, Roberts hit the Keeper square in the cup, Slade, hit the keeper in the chest Akinseye was unlucky after getting into a good position. The only goal came from Epsom after a good spell of possession closing the game 6:2 to Bath.
Despite being the underdogs in this game Bath played well and, in the end, deserved the win, nothing fancy and, had all the opportunities been taken, the home side could have walked away with it. This win moves Bath off the bottom of the division an importantly raises moral.
MVP Kaylan Slade – Great Hustle and assists
1st quarter Bath 2:1 Epsom
2nd quarter Bath 3:0 Epsom
Roberts, Hustler, Griffiths
3rd quarter Bath 1:0 Epsom
4th quarter Bath 0:1 Epsom
Final Score Bath 6:2 Epsom
Miles Whittle (Panel)
Tom Hamey (Panel)
Colin Carey (Bath)