Groundhopping in the rain…. Epsom & Ewell FC v British Airways


Oh how happy I am to be back writing on this blog, it has been nearly two months since we’ve been active on here, but unfortunately a national lockdown sort of scuppered a lot of footballing plans for me!

Anyway, yesterday it was an absolute mission trying to find a game to go to now Surrey is in Tier 3…

Guildford City was first choice but that was called off due to the rain, Westfield FC was next to fall by the wayside, meaning the next best option was Epsom & Ewell v British Airways at Fetcham Grove.

It was not going to be a new tick for my final game of 2020, but the game certainly provided enough entertainment to make up for that…. eventually.

We arrived in Leatherhead, paid our £7 and found our way to some shelter as the clouds were looking pretty ominous, luckily most of Fetcham Grove is covered as the heavens were about to open.

Literally as soon as the clock struck three, we were greeted with a torrential downpour that lasted a good ten minutes, if ever there was to be a metaphor for 2020 then this was it.

Looking quite gloomy

The tricky playing conditions clearly made it tough for either side to get into their rhythm, and there was a distinct lack of quality throughout the first half. Epsom & Ewell came the closest to finding a breakthrough with a slick move down the left that led to an excellent cross, but no one could get their foot to the ball to tap home.

To be fair, both sides looked pretty strong defensively for the first 45 and chances really had to be carved out, but neither team could consistently find openings.

As the second half kicked off, we were treated to another onslaught of rain and hail stones, and the quality didn’t exactly pick up for the first half of the second 45.

Neither team were giving anything at the back…

As the rain was lashing down, the game was at 0-0, and it had just been announced we would be in tier 4 from Sunday, we were all in a pretty glum mood and probably contemplating just driving home….

But the last 13 minutes of the game served up some absolutely riveting drama! Thank the lord!

The deadlock was broken in the 77th minute after some good play down the right created some space for Daytroy Thomas to lash home into the bottom corner for the home side, and it looked like they had sealed another victory.

But literally straight from kick off British Airways went down the other end and levelled the game!

The ball was launched forward and after a quick passing move the ball dropped to the visitors’ number nine who lashed home an emphatic finish, and the game was officially alive and kicking.

After this hullabaloo of action it was as if someone had injected caffeine into our veins, we were on the edge of our seats and ready for an enthralling last 10 minutes of Combined Counties Division One action.

Also, I have just seen this picture on Twitter of the British Airways keeper getting some cover from the persistent heavy rain, quality!!

Anyway, the game still had plenty more to offer, and with just six minutes left the home side once again wrestled back the advantage.

A long free kick was sent up the pitch and all of a sudden Epsom & Ewell found themselves with two unmarked players baring down on goal. It was Ellis Lentell who rounded the keeper and slotted home for his first goal in blue and white.

This sparked wild celebrations from both home players and fans, but did they celebrate too soon????

British Airways certainly applied pressure to Epsom & Ewell’s back line and eventually they got a golden chance to level the scores and leave Fetcham Grove with a point.

After a free kick was worked well on the edge of the box, the visitors earned themselves a clear penalty after a clumsy challenge in the box, this was to be the very last kick of the game.

Players from both sides congregated around the penalty spot and words were exchanged for a good couple of minutes before the British Airways player stepped up to take the crucial spot kick.

The mood around the ground was tense to say the least, but soon enough the number 10 stepped up confidently and hammered the ball straight over the bar and over the fence!

The ball nestled in those trees!

A huge sigh of relief was felt around Fetcham Grove and the referee was soon blowing his whistle for full time, bringing to an end an absolute whirlwind 90 minutes of action (literally and metaphorically!)

The players departed the pitch pretty swiftly as I’m sure they were desperate to jump into a warm shower!

The game lacked quality in the most part but once the first goal went in we were treated to an enthralling climax, a fitting end to a crazy year…

The home side probably deserved their three points in the end, but it could have been very different had the penalty been converted. But it wasn’t to be for BA and they left empty handed.

That’s all for this weeks blog!

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and New Year despite yesterday’s news.

Hopefully I will be back on this blog sooner rather than later, but who knows….

  • GROUND: Fetcham Grove
  • GAME: Epsom & Ewell FC 2-1 British Airways FC
  • COMPETITION: Combined Counties Division One
  • GROUND NUMBER: Already ticked
  • HOPPER: George
  • DAYS SINCE LAST 0-0: 666

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