The U16's Tandridge team narrowly lost this absorbing game against a strong Orpington Rovers.
In the first twenty minutes Orpington looked the stronger and more committed and Sevenoaks were pegged back for long periods. While strong defending restricted Orpington to half chances, the persistent pressure eventually forced mistakes as Orpington first took the lead following the award of a penalty and then went two ahead after one of their forwards latched on to an under hit back pass. As the half wore on, however, Sevenoaks began to haul themselves back into the game. A shot from Sam Sherratt mid-way through the half, that cannoned off the bar, seemed to spark Sevenoaks into life. A period of sustained pressure followed and Sevenoaks deservedly got back into the game when man of the match Henry Phillips was on hand to head home a fine corner from Sam Sherratt.
With the game finely poised between two well matched teams, the second half was not surprisingly tight and, for the most part, both teams were unable to create clear cut chances. Some excellent running up by front by Toby Fitzmaurice allowed Sevenoaks to get into some promising positions, but each time the final pass or cross fell just short. As Sevenoaks pressed on in search of an equaliser, the game became stretched and Orpington did look dangerous on the break. However, excellent defending from Robert Tebbit, James Phillips, Lawrence Flarry, Ben Packer and Tom Barnes meant Sevenoaks’ goal was rarely troubled. With time running out, Sevenoaks pushed more players forward, but some equally good defending from Orpington meant Sevenoaks couldn’t create the one clear cut chance that might have got them something from the game.
In the end, Sevenoaks paid the price for a slow start. But the way they fought back against one of the best teams in the league to come within a whisker of getting something from the game bodes well for the rest of the season.