On a hot, balmy and humid afternoon the 1st XI made their penultimate legacy appearance as a squad. The pitch glistened from its pre-match watering and the grounds team had presented a magnificent cut surface for the team to play on.
The match started well, with Epsom looking strong in possession and seeming to have the measure of a physical Haileybury team. Epsom made plenty of inroads into the Haileybury half and 18-yard box and had much of the possession throughout the first half. Alas, the much-desired breakthrough goal just did not come and a brief foray by Haileybury into the Epsom half saw the defence have a momentary lapse of concentration. Epsom contained Haileybury well until halftime to go in 0-1 down at the break.
With a change of personnel and slight modifications to formation, Epsom continued to press for an equaliser and had plenty of chances in the third quarter of the game. Haileybury dug deep and continued to break with a long ball game, catching Epsom out with a sucker punch goal slotted in at the back post. Undeterred, the team fought back and finally got into a stride and pattern of passing play. A stunning six-pass move saw Epsom go from box to box ending with a lovely tap-in for Zach Alfalahi (C) that saw the team looking to bring about a draw with just over five minutes to play.
Two or three late injuries saw further adaptations but Epsom pressed continuously and could have equalised in the dying moments with a perfect cross to the back post for a tap-in. Sadly it ended the wrong side of the post and as the final whistle blew, Haileybury came away with a well-fought win, mainly from two minor lapses in concentration from the Epsom team.
In many ways, Epsom were the better ‘football’ team, as Haileybury relied heavily on their physical attributes, which the team could not quite overcome. This was partly due to not moving the ball quickly enough and playing to the team’s strengths, unlike the opposition.
Goalscorer: Alfalahi (C)
Players of the Match: Bryn Cann (Fa) and Kit Temperley (Rn)