Brought my wife for her first non league game ever, to accompany me to Fetcham Grove, home of both Leatherhead FC and Epsom and Ewell FC, in a one off friendly, which was played for the Stella Lamont Trophy. The trophy was named after the long serving president of Epsom & Ewell FC who has been involved in the club for 50 years and is now in her 94th year.
Fetcham Grove is an attractive and welcoming ground. It has covered standing and seating along one side of the pitch and covered standing behind both goals. It’s capacity is 3.400 and the ground has a grass pitch, floodlighting and a decent clubhouse and refreshment facility. There was a decent crowd inside today which looked to be over 250.
Leatherhead FC play in the Isthmian League South Central, and are managed by young manager Luke Tuffs who was previously at Ashford Town. Epsom & Ewell FC play in Southern Combination Division 1 and ground share with Leatherhead. They appointed new joint managers Anthony Jupp and Liam Giles in May 2022.
There were no team sheets available in the ground and no information on Twitter or the club websites.
The game started at a lively pace, with early chances falling to Epsom & Ewell FC, in the first ten minutes, forcing a fine save from a free kick and a last ditch defensive intervention from a corner.
In the 14th minute, the home crowd celebrated a goal for Leatherhead, from number 9 Dave Tarpey, latching onto the ball in the box after a tricky long throw in from the left had disrupted the Epsom & Ewell defence.
The same move almost worked again for Leatherhead in the 37th minute but at the interval the teams went in with the score still 1-0 and the teams closely matched.
The second half saw the sides evenly matched and both teams created chances. In the 65th minute Leatherhead FC’s influential number 11 fell and twisted his knee badly, which resulted in him being stretchered off.
Rather than negatively affecting the home team, the enforced substitution seemed to galvanise them. On 71 minutes the experienced goal scorer, Dave Tarpey, broke the offside trap and chipped in his second goal of the game, to make it 2-0.
Epsom & Ewell FC began to look ragged at the back. Leatherhead FC’s left back, (Number 3) scored after a well placed through ball from Tarpey, in the 88th minute to make it 3-0.
There was time in the final minute for Tarpey to have a penalty chance to score his hat trick and to extend the lead to 4-0. Unfortunately his penalty struck the post despite sending the keeper the wrong way.
The referee’s whistle blew as soon as the penalty was completed. After what had been a really competitive tie, Leatherhead FC were the team coming away with the Stella Lamont Trophy.