League leaders Seymour visited Seal for our return fixture no doubt confident of a repeat of our first encounter at the start of the season. However, on the back of a 9-0 victory in our previous league fixture by a full strength Sevenoaks side we were confident of another good display despite the obvious qualities of the opposition. This game proved anything but a repeat fixture and Seymour were fortunate to take the points between two evenly matched teams that defied respective league positions - proving once again as in the previous league fixture - that when this team has the opportunity to field a strong side from a shallow squad of thirteen they can compete with the best this division has to offer.
Early exchanges were fairly even despite Sevenoaks kicking into a strong head wind and Seymour, with the wind behind them, were limited to a couple of long range efforts as the defence were rock solid in and around the box nullifying attacks down the flanks, which had been our undoing in the away fixture in the season opener.
Sevenoaks looked sharp on the break and created chances of their own but lacked the numbers in attack to make it really count, mindful of the pace of the opposition on the counter who were more adept at attacking and defending as a unit. That said, in windy conditions both teams played attractive football at times as the pace of the game was fast and physical.
By half time with the scores at 0-0 we were still in with a real chance, with Seymour failing to make the most of the wind at their backs, which we now hoped to capitalise on in the second.
What was to follow was a real cup tie in all but name, as Seymour struck an early blow down the flank as we knew they would, with a brilliant individual goal and we then found ourselves in the position of either going for broke or damage limitation against a team that would pick us off if we were too adventurous. But the boys remained disciplined and fought for everything with both sides taking a few hard knocks and tackles along the way and in truth Sevenoaks rarely looked like conceding a second.
Both teams desperately tried to gain the upper hand and as the half worn on Seymour appeared to retreat further into their own half as we pushed for the equaliser.
The tension among away parents and the home support was palpable as the tide swung in our favour but we just couldn’t get in behind the opposition as their defence and midfield were perfectly organised. There was the odd counter by Seymour, which did require a brilliant flying one-handed trademark save by our goalkeeper but otherwise we were pretty much on the front foot in the closing twenty minutes.
The equaliser almost came in the final minutes after a couple of goal line scrambles and clearances but the opposition did just enough to win the game and must be congratulated for grinding out the win with their organised performance. They were in a real battle at Seal today and were visibly relieved to take all three points.
In truth, a draw would have been the fairer result and the win would not have been begrudged - if an unlikely scenario on paper before the kick off. But this performance, if nothing else, must prove that this team are very capable in this company and are playing at the right level in the right division. Super effort from the boys - well done!