Balham took a resounding 4-0 win against Epsom & Ewell to follow up Wednesday’s excellent result. Goals from Jake Henry and Arsen Ujkaj as well as 2 from Ibrahim Olutade secured the win against the league’s bottom side.
“We started a little bit shakily”, said manager Greg Cruttwell afterwards, “but once we got going we were really good. The attitude was spot on, too, after the Wimbledon result.”
Indeed, it wasn’t a fantastic start for Balham, as Epsom had two great chances in the opening 5 minutes. Epsom winger Roberts failed to convert both, hitting the post from inside the six yard box with the first and miscuing a lob when clean through with the second.
Balham took time to find their rhythm, struggling to retain the ball in the early stages, but once they began to improve Epsom never really came close, only threatening from long range.
Balham’s best chance of the first half-hour came from Anis Nuur, who had a close range effort saved by the goalkeeper. The opening goal would have to wait until the 35th minute, when Jake Henry cut inside from the left wing, and hit a incredible right footed shot from deep that flew into the top right corner.
Just before half time, Olutade made a good run into the box, but was unable to find the 2nd goal. He proved more clinical after the half time interval, as Balham took the lead within minutes of the restart. Olutade was played in by Tomasz Wocial, and sped away from the defence before placing the ball just beyond the reach of the goalkeeper and into the net.
The second half proved less frantic, and it wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that Balham rounded off the win. The 3rd came from Arsen Ujkaj on the rebound, after the Epsom goalkeeper denied Olutade what would have been a superb goal. Olutade would manage a brace in the end, finishing a cross from substitute James Adebayo with 5 minutes to go.
Epsom & Ewell were competent, but their attacking threat was nullified by Balham’s back 4. The comfortable 4 goal margin was a fair reflection of the comparative quality of the two sides, the result moving Balham into the top half of the table, whilst keeping the visitors firmly at the bottom.
Team: Read, Fenlon, Goodband (capt), Frew, Henry, Gallagher, Ujkaj A, Nuur, Fosse, Wocial, Olutade
Subs: McConnell, Adebayo, Gibbs
Goalscorers: Olutade(2), Henry, Ujkaj A