Five star performance from firsts
The first team picked up their first win in eleven attempts against Epsom & Ewell on Monday, when a second half hat-trick by substitute Daryl Cooper-Smith helped them ease to a 5-0 win.
Looking to bounce back from their disappointing FA Cup exit, manager Darren Salmon rung the changes. Skipper Aaron Bogle returned at right back, and their were starts for Matt Auletta, Matt Tanton, Marlon Rodney and Craig Nelson; Dan Dean, Josh Burrowes and Jay Jones were left out of the squad, whilst Cooper-Smith and Matt Ferdinando dropped to the bench.
We started brightly, and after four minutes a deep free kick by Bogle was headed goalwards by Craig Hastings, but gathered comfortably by Epsom keeper Colin Harris, and a few minutes later another hopeful ball into the area towards Hastings was again dealt with by Harris.
We continued to hold the upper hand, and after Harris had gifted us possession with a poor throw, the ball found its way to Matt Farrell but his shot from distance went wide of the left hand post.
Epsom had their first chance on 12 minutes, when a great ball in by Daniel Rose was heading for Jason Nwachukwu, only for James Taylor to make a timely intervention and clear the danger, and two minutes later a low cross was turned behind by Hastings, as Epsom forced the first corner of the game, which game to nothing.
The recalled Marlon Rodney then did well to find Jordan Gallagher, who in turn linked up with Matt Tanton, but the final delivery was just out of reach of the SCR forward line. Epsom went close on 15 when a corner was headed goalwards by Dale Marvell but went wide of the left hand post, and at the other end good work between Farrell and Auletta ended with Gallaghers effort being blocked by Harris, and Rodneys strike from the edge of the area went wide of the left hand post.
Just shy of the half hour and Epsom should have taken the lead, great play on the left by Kyle Hough saw him float a ball to Josiah Loftus-Cheek at the back post, but the big forward was unable to direct his header on target and we survived.
Auletta fired wide of the right hand post as we started to exert a bit of dominance, and with ten to go to the break, Hastings saw a header comfortably gathered by Harris.
Five minutes from the break and we took the lead. Danny Fernandez and Rodney did well to chase down Ali Dewar, and force a corner. From Fernandez's ball into the area, Hastings put a loopy header goalwards, which somehow eluded Harris, and the two defenders on the line to put SCR 1-0 up. Two minutes later, and it should have been 2-0, Auletta and Farrell combined to set up Gallagher but his shot was deflected wide by Reisse Griffin, and SCR went in at the break a goal to the good.
Darren Salmon was forced into a change at the break, with Cooper-Smith replacing the injured Fernandez. Epsom started the half brightly and should have levelled on 47 minutes, a decent ball into the area by Sam Robinson was powerfully met by Rose but his header was well off target and from the second ball in, Hastings did well to clear.
Farrell thumped a header from a Gallagher corner against the post on 50 minutes, and a minute later it was 2-0. A deep free kick by Bogle was headed back across goal by Taylor and headed home from close range by Cooper-Smith.
Four minutes later and it was game over. A corner from the left this time was not cleared by Epsom, and as the ball dropped, Cooper-Smith lashed home from close range to make it 3-0.
Salmon made a second change on 58 minutes introducing Francois Gabbidon in place of Rodney, and a minute later the big forward was just unable to get on the end of a low Cooper-Smith cross, and Epsom scrambled the ball away.
Epsom made a couple of changes replacing Dewar and Liam Roberts with Tayo Ajayi and Ashley Thompson, but we continued to dominate, and on 67 minutes neat link up between Gallagher and Nelson saw the ball reach Cooper-Smith and his delightful ball to the back post was headed just over by Gabbidon.
Gabbidon then latched onto a mistake by Marvell but saw his effort well saved by Harris, and was just unable to turn the loose ball home, under some pressure from Griffin.
Taylor denied Epsom a way back into the game on 73 minutes, when a great break by Griffin was destined for Loftus-Cheek only for the SCR man to make a great block and clear the danger.
Salmon made his final change on 76 minutes, introducing the ever popular Arnold Okiror, for Auletta. It was 4-0 a minute later, when Gabbidon turned his man, drilled over a low cross, which the unfortunate Griffin turned into his own net, with Cooper-Smith lurking behind.
Robinson fired an effort wide of the right hand post on 81 minutes, and on 84 minutes Harris did superbly to turn a fierce Gallagher effort over the bar.
Scoring was complete on 89 minutes, when Okiror latched onto a ball over the top and squared to Cooper-Smith who tapped home for his hat-trick and 5-0.