Falcons travelled to Epsom on Saturday, scene of a 6-1 defeat last season, but with a much stronger line-up and in good form. Russ Warner had returned from his final pre-birthday trip and Boots Dawson replaced Nige Doggett up front who was away giving another Elvis tribute act performance, this time in Mexico! (not really, but don’t tell him I told you the truth!!).
Falcons started the game well with a slightly more attacking minded approach, taking advantage of Boots strength in possession which enabled runners to play off of him. After 12 minutes such a move led to the ball being fed through to Mark White who despite being surrounded by defenders was able to flick the ball into the net on his reverse side.
Epsom looked dangerous and were trying to use the speed of Carlos at centre-forward to their advantage, but Jonesy was up for the battle and together with Dick Heinrich was making good interceptions and through Blommers, Sumser and Billington the team were building effectively from the back. 5 minutes after the first goal Boots worked his way into the circle and unleashed a good shot which was well saved by the keeper only for the rebound to fall to Andy Sumser who promptly dispatched the ball for a 2-0 lead. 6 minutes later it was 3-0 when Falcons were awarded a short corner which Buzz injected to Boots who slipped it inside to Phil Dunnill who used the angle to crash the ball inside the far post.
At this point Falcons skipper Buzz took a stick to his jaw and needed to leave the field of play, Sumser moved from defence into midfield and the team continued to dominate but 5 minutes later club captain Hutts took a stick to the nose and had to be replaced to stem the bleeding, so Buzz returned having been icing his jaw for the interim period. Each change worked seamlessly, a testament to the well drilled performances the Falcons have been playing and it wasn’t long before Boots held up play inside the 23 yard line and pushed a through ball for the more advanced Sumser to run onto and merely deflect the pass around the advancing keeper for 4-0.
The injury must have awoken the skipper as just before half time he picked up the ball and ran around a couple of defenders before mishitting his shot into the ground but the bounce it generated wrong-footed the goalie and the ball bounced over him and in for a 5-0 half-time lead.
Falcons knew Epsom wouldn’t sit down and would come out fighting, Hutts with a plaster now adorning his nose returned to the team for the second half, but Epsom came out all guns blazing and Wilsdon in goal made a couple of fine saves despite having largely been a spectator to this point! Following such an attack Warner received the ball 25 yards out and when Buzz indicated the deflection was on, crashed the ball outside the far post where Buzz applied the necessary touch to send the ball into the net for 6-0.
Despite the deficit and to their credit, Epsom continued to push and when Wilsdon was harshly adjudged to have played the player before the ball when dealing with another attack, Epsom managed to convert the ensuing short corner for 6-1. Despite this glimmer of hope, Jonesy and his defence were coping admirably with the hosts renewed vigour and undeterred, Falcons continued to push through Boots, Griffiths and Dunnill who were all enjoying good possession and when fellow forward Mark White broke through on the right hand side he was able to slip the ball inside for Andy Sumser advancing from midfield to complete his hattrick.
The game finished 7-1 and both parties retired to Epsoms sports ground for food and a drink all consumed in good spirits and as the players were leaving news broke that top of the table Woking had lost to Windsor which meant Falcons would finish the year topping the WSFA table. Thanks to Epsom for the teas and hospitality, we wish you a very merry Christmas and best wishes for 2020.
With news of the change in league leadership filtering through to all members of the team, it was decided that all travelling groups would stop for a cheeky celebratory drink on the way home, but also to keep Russ Warner from getting back too early for his surprise birthday party, congratulations Russ on your 60th!! Stats for mid-point in the season: played 12, won 11, lost 1, goals for 62, goals against 11 (+51 total)
MoM: Steve Jones with honourable mentions for both Boots and Sumser who made the vote a tight run affair, unlike the election last week ;)