Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division
Epsom & Ewell 3 Horley Town 4
THE making of Horley Town arrived thanks to first-half hat-trick hero Ashley Nadesan at a bitterly cold High Road, overcoming being reduced to 10 men to triumph in this one-sided local derby on Saturday.
Early goal scorer midfielder Connor Power was sent off by Bulgarian referee Stanimir Stoyanov after 57 minutes following a foul, having been cautioned needlessly after 48 minutes for kicking the ball away.
Top scorer and man of the match Nadesan was in unstoppable form, just edging a close contest for the outstanding Town player award.
Power broke the deadlock after only two minutes, finishing off fine approach work by Ben Herdman and Asa Curtis.
Rhys North equalised after 12 minutes, beating goalkeeper George Hyde from 35 yards. Clarets restored their lead after 23 minutes, Nadesan beating Michael Eacott from the penalty spot, captain Adam Pullin finding Nadesan who was fouled by Matt Tanton for the opening spot-kick.
Six minutes later Nadesan was spot on again from 12 yards after Scott Robson’s right-wing throw-in found Herdman who drew a foul in the box cleverly by Bentley Graham before the scoreline became 3-1 to the rampant visitors. And Clarets were in dreamland after 42 minutes when Robson combined well with Power whose cross from the right was only deflected by a defender onto Nadesan who headed home at the far post, giving Eacott no chance again, completing a remarkable treble before half-time.
In the second half, however, the numerical disadvantage galvanised Clarets still further. But it became an unnecessarily rocky ride in stoppage-time. Hyde was uncharacteristically unconvincing as impressive substitute Rob Hendry made it 4-2 on 90 minutes, heading home past Hyde from Matt Ferdinando’s cross from the right. Worse was to follow in the third of five stoppage-time minutes when ex-Horley striker Kyle Hough converted a penalty which was awarded following Robson’s foul on substitute Reisse Griffin to set up a crazily nail-biting finale considering how worthy winners the visitors were.
Clarets’ manager Anthony Jupp, who pronounced himself as "happy gaffer," admitted afterwards: "Epsom & Ewell just could not deal with us and our flowing football, to be honest. Overall, it was an outstanding team performance, with Jack Poplett, Ashley Nadesan and captain Adam Pullin being superb despite such windy conditions.
"From the sending off point of view we were outstanding. The players’ work rate and shape was highly commendable against such a high-flying Epsom & Ewell side. Even with 10 men we created two glorious chances and should have been 6-1 ahead but for poor finishing.
"That win got us back into fifth place in the table. As I said to the lads they now need to believe how good a side they are and realise how they have progressed this season.
"A big thanks for our support with such a great following. The only downside was losing outstanding centre-back Lewis Forsdick with a hamstring injury early in the second half but we hope that it is not too bad. Asa Curtis also took a knock but thankfully, without a midweek game, hopefully the players will pull through for next weekend and the league visit of AFC Hayes."
Midfielder James Clarke took to social media afterwards to salute supporters who made such a difference. While the players warmed their fans’ hearts with the quality of their performance, the travelling army inspired the team onto new heights.
Horley Town: George Hyde, Scott Robson, Jack Poplett, John Eldred, Adam Pullin (capt), Lewis Forsdick (Liam Cox 58 min), Ashley Nadesan, Ben Herdman, James Clarke (Bailey Rumbelow 86 min), Asa Curtis (Richard Wetton 73 min), Connor Power. Unused subs: Liam Giles, Nathan Jupp.