By Andrew Finch
Molesey's late dash for a top three finish all but disappeared as they were convincingly beaten by the team that currently occupy that spot, Egham Town.
The 3-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of a game in which other than the first five minutes of both halves, the Moles simply didn't turn up, and with two games remaining they now find themselves six points behind the Sarnies and five adrift of fourth-placed Hanworth Villa. Four points from those last two games will see off the challenge of Camberley and Horley and confirm a fifth placed finish.
The Moles went into the game brimming with confidence following four consecutive victories, including a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture against Egham just eleven days previously, whilst the Sarnies had lost their previous three.
Lewis Ackerman and skipper Andy Graves returned to the starting lineup in place of the injured Luke Elliott and Gervais Waye-Hive, and the Moles started brightly, with Doug Ford and Ross Chalke combining well on the right and finding the unmarked Joe Grant at the back post, but he headed wide when it looked easier to score (apparently - I missed it).
The rest of the half was then littered with mis-placed passes and a lack of imagination on the Moles part, and it was no surprise when they fell behind after 16 minutes. Wester Young did well to keep out Mo Harkin's deflected effort, but Dale Marvell was quicker to react than the Molesey back four and finished off from close range. The two combined again shortly afterwards but Marvell's effort was deflected wide.
Harkin and Muldowney both saw efforts fly over the bar as the hosts continued to dominate, and the only respite the Moles received came during a halt in proceedings owing to a temporary floodlight failure.
There was a moment of comedy gold shortly after the game resumed following a bit of handbags between Jordan McCartney and Tom Hedges, with the Sarnies player - clearly having watched too many El Classicos - dramatically going down clutching his face, with common opinion suggesting there was no contact. This view was clearly shared by the ref (who handled a bad-tempered game extremely well) and Hedges received a booking for his troubles.
In a rare foray into the Egham half Grant rampaged his way past two challenges and squared the ball for James McShane to fire wide, but the Sarnies went in at half-time two goals to the good when Marvell wriggled clear on the right and his cross was stabbed home from close-range by Brendan Matthew.
The Moles started the second half brightly, and only two outstanding saves from Paul Borg prevented goals for Chalke and McShane within the opening few minutes. Egham sat back on their lead but always looked dangerous on the counter-attack and looked the more likely to score again, and with the Moles pushing forward substitute Matt Grave grabbed the third in stoppage time, firing home after Young had again done well to keep out his initial effort.
The Moles will round a largely satisfying season off with a home game against Dorking before a trip to recently-crowned champions Guildford City on Saturday week.