Whilst this was a defeat on paper it was the nature of the performance with only 10 boys that really stood out, generously acknowledged by the opposition coach after the game to the Sevenoaks boys.
After last week’s heavy defeat this game was all about character and ensuring that the opposition were made to earn their three points, as a win beforehand in the circumstances, seemed unlikely.
For 32 uplifting minutes we all began to believe that we might at least nick a draw, as Sevenoaks enjoyed swathes of possession, albeit hard fought, and created the better chances belying their player disadvantage.
However with minutes to go to half time Orpington raced clear, down the wing and delivered a clinical hammer blow, cancelling out all the boys’ hard work and guile. It was a real shock and the boys were visibly rocked, unable to comprehend how they had let the game slip. From the reaction they themselves had to that point already begun to sense that even a win was possible with ten.
Unable to regain their composure, Orpington to their credit, went for the kill again and almost from the restart repeated the feat to go in 2-0 up at half time.
It was now about maintaining the effort, playing for each other and continuing to put in a worthy performance.
The pattern of the game continued in the second half but Sevenoaks just couldn’t get the ball in the net, thwarted by a solid well organised defence. This was turning into a very gutsy performance against the odds, but the draw at least still seemed a realistic target as Sevenoaks fought desperately to get back in the game.
Our fears were realised on 55 minutes when a poor fatigued clearance from a goal kick resulted in Orpington’s third which came as another cruel twist in the game. Again whilst the home side were stunned, Orpington were ruthless, racing away for their fourth with 10 minutes to go. Again Sevenoaks regrouped and deservedly got their consolation goal - to raptures of applause, and maintained the momentum right to the end.
But for an absolutely stunning save from the Orpington keeper in the closing minutes of the game and a couple of frantic goal mouth scrambles from the away side , the score line could have looked very different.
Orpington gained the points, but they were probably the hardest points they will earn all season !
A fantastic herculean effort from an under strength Sevenoaks side.