football-7Sutton Common Rovers 1    Epsom & Ewell 1

Sutton Common Rovers first team picked up a rare point against Epsom & Ewell on Monday, but it was a case of

After a cagey start, we created probably the best chance in the opening five minutes, when decent play on the right by Matty Auletta saw his beat a couple of players and put over a dangerous cross, which after some confusion, Epsom were able to clear. A minute later and a curled effort by Joe Mead was comfortably gathered by Epsom keeper Michael Eacott. At the other end former SCR man Daryl Cooper-Smith almost muscled his way beyond Nemo Adams and George Murphy, but his final touch was heavy and the ball rolled comfortably back to Craig Bradshaw.

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Epsom could have taken the lead on eight minutes. A free kick by Savva Panayiotou was met by Dan Dean but his header only went back across the face of goal and we cleared. From the clearance, Reisse Griffin did well on the right and his low cross was met by a great challenge by SCR skipper Owen Davies, with Bradshaw able to gather the loose ball.

Epsom were in the ascendancy, with Panyiotou directing traffic and almost setting Cooper-Smith away on a couple of occasions, but in general the game was quite scrappy and lacking any spark.

Matt Robinson bought a comfortable save out of Eacott on 18 minutes, after good work by Jordan Johnson-Palmer, and a minute later a good ball into the area by Epsoms Adam Heagney almost caused confusion, but a combination of Davies, Auletta and Mead managed to clear the danger.

Two minutes later and Michael Campbell opened the scoring. Sam Blowers crashed into a couple of challenges just outside the Epsom area to win possession and quickly found Campbell. He beat one man and hit a loopy left foot shot towards goal. The normally excellent Eacott had a momentary lapse, half parried/fumbled the ball and could only dive back in horror as the ball came down over the line to give SCR the lead.

Epsom responded positively, with a good run down the left almost picking out Griffin at the back post, but Murphy and Adams did well to see the ball out for a corner. We cleared the danger and then put Epsom under a spell of pressure, with Johnson-Palmer, both Robinsons (Matt and Keano) and Campbell all fizzing the ball around the Epsom area, before eventually Eacott was out sharply to prevent Campbell from latching onto another Johnson-Palmer pass.

Panayiotou then weaved through several challenges before being crudely halted by Blowers, and from the free kick, Cooper-Smith saw his effort well saved by Bradshaw diving to his right.

Minutes later and another Murphy eased Rob Hendry off the ball, conceding another free kick on the edge of the area. This time the low strike went left and Bradshaw was able to comfortably save.

Keano Robinson ended a great run by the lively Jordan Gallagher on 32 minutes, and on 36 minutes K Robinson linked up with Auletta, and his low cross was deflected behind for a corner. Adams was caught in possession on 37 minutes, but recovered well to win the ball back off Matt Farrell.

Hendry went down easily in the area on 42 minutes, but the referee was having none of it, and waved play on, and we almost fashioned another chance late on in the half, when Johnson-Palmer found M Robinson, but, on the stretch, he was unable to guide his header on target.

Half time came with us holding a slender 1-0 win.

Both sides started the second half brightly, we saw Campbell and M Robinson pinged for offside in the early stages, and another decent run by the lively Gallagher ended with a shot that was just over the head of the in-coming Cooper-Smith.

Auletta then skipped passed a couple of challenges before being blocked by Dean, earning him a booking that he was too rue later in the game. Johnson-Palmers free kick cleared the wall, but also the crossbar as the chance went begging.

The scores were almost level on 57 minutes. A mistake by Davies let in Cooper-Smith, and has he headed goalwards we were grateful to a timely challenge by Murphy to put the ball out for a corner. The corner was only cleared to Dean but his volleyed effort went wide of the right hand post.

We went close to increasing our lead on the hour, when Blowers found Johnson-Palmer and having beaten one he squared for Campbell who was denied by a good save by Eacott and from the loose ball M Robinson saw Dean block his goalbound effort. Epsom broke quickly and we were grateful for a Mead interception which prevented them from levelling things up.

Mead then did well to free Auletta who got beyond Matt Tanton only to see his shot blocked behind for a corner.

Epsom replaced Cooper-Smith with the pacy Jason Nwachukwe on 62 minutes and his first involvement almost saw him set up Hendry but Mead cleared behind for a corner. Minutes later and another Epsom sub Matt Ferdinando held off Blowers but curled his effort wide of the right hand post.

Epsom were starting to dominate and we were fully stretched to keep them at bay. Gallagher and Hendry then linked up well and almost created a chance for Nwachukwu, but Murphy did well to intercept and clear.

Darren Salmon replaced Johnson-Palmer with Hamilton Antonio on 71 minutes. K Robinson then released Campbell who in turn found the other Robinson and as he bobbled through a couple of challenges, the ball reached Auletta but he was outmuscled by Tanton.

Robinson bought a good save out of Eacott low to his right, and then Campbell got away from Dean only to be clipped by the defender who was quickly shown a second yellow card by the referee and then the red.

From here you would have thought we would have gone on to take all theee points, but it was not to be. Instead, it was Epsom who seemed galvanised. A long Eacott clearance was only half cleared by Murphy, to Farrell, and he put his shot wide.

The scores were level on 78 minutes, having survived a three on two, we failed to deal with a throw in, the initial shot by Hendry was screwed towards Gallagher who fired beyond Bradshaw for 1-1.

Auletta almost restored our lead two minutes later, but having got beyond Tanton on the left, he bought a good save out of Eacott.

Full time came with us having to be content with a share of the spoils.