After winning the pool last week, Epsom set up a semi-final against Alleyn’s School at Reigate Grammar. The girls continued their form from the pool stages and put Alleyn’s under pressure from the first whistle. A number of chances fell for Epsom but the ball went anywhere but in the goal. With a goal also disallowed, it looked as if it was not going to be Epsom’s day. However, with the half coming to a close, Epsom won a string of short corners and – from a rebound – Tabitha Evans (M) was able to finish from close range.
The second half saw an improved performance. Two excellent pieces of play down the right-hand side from Ella Stephens (R) and Georgie Jarvis Sobey (Cr) led to Ava Manketo (Rv) coming in at the back post to fire the ball home from close range. At 3-0 the game was won, although Epsom weren’t quite finished and Jarvis Sobey added another to make it 4-0.
The final brought tough opposition in Kingston Grammar. The girls started very slowly, and KGS took the lead in the first minute. This galvanised Epsom and they took hold of the game. The KGS keeper had a very good game and again it looked as if Epsom would not be able to turn the high amount of pressure into a goal. Going into half-time, KGS’s lead was just 0-1, due to some very good defending from Bella Buck (R) and Izzy Benzie (R) down the left side of the pitch.
The second half saw a strong display from Epsom and the shots rained in on the goal. However, it looked as if it would be the KGS goalkeeper’s day until – with a minute and half left – the ball was slid through to Ella Stephens who struck first time past the keeper.
Penalty strokes were then required to decide who would be the London champions. After both sides had taken one each and the score was standing at 1-1, thanks to a cool stroke from Amelia Burke (Rv), the floodlights failed which only added to the pressure.
A move to a neighbouring pitch was required to complete the penalty strokes, Epsom scoring through India Gould (Rv). Amber Roberts (Wh) then made an excellent save, meaning that Tabitha Evans (M) had to score with the last stroke to win the match. As she stepped up, the lights again failed – piling on yet more pressure – and a short wait for them to be turned on was required. After the return of the light, Evans kept her cool to score and to crown Epsom London Champions.
The team enters the South regional stage of the competition next Tuesday 19 November.
Player of the Tournament: Tabitha Evans (M)
WON vs Alleyn’s 4-0 (Manketo (Rv) x2, Evans (M), Jarvis Sobey (Cr))
Drew vs Kingston GS 1-1 (Stephens (R))
[WON on penalty strokes 3-2]