The U16's Kent Youth League team welcomed Tunbridge Wells to Greatness Park, for a fixture that was to be known as the Clash of the Titans. Tunbridge had beaten the Oaks on the opening game of the season and our boys were ready for the challenge to make amends for that defeat.
The game commenced with both teams attempting to dominate the midfield and for vast periods of the first half, the ball spent most of its time in the air. The game was being played in the centre of the pitch, with neither team being able to find that final pass that would give their team a sight of goal. Both teams were committed to playing total football and this was a good advert for why only the best teams and players join the Kent Youth League.
Suddenly on the 39th minute, Chambers took a quick throw in down our left, which fell to McCarthy. He flicked the ball onto Cooper, who was pulled down by the on rushing TW goalkeeper. The referee promptly pointed to the penalty spot. The ever reliable Cooper composed himself and not for the first time this season, he dispatched the perfect penalty. 1-0
Both teams left the field of play at half time, for instructions from their respective management. The game was being watched by our very own Sevenoaks Town FC first team manager Micky Collins and hopefully he saw some talent for the future. Although it was quite a bright afternoon, we thought that the floodlights had been switched on, only to find out that it was the glare from Steve Della Valle’s new white Tesco trainers.
The second half commenced with the Oaks appearing a little nervous and rushing their passes. The Tunbridge boys were settling into the game and their quick passing and possession play was becoming more evident. However, they were struggling with their final ball and they could not breach the Oaks' solid defence. Tunbridge forced a number of corners but they were all cleared to safety.
The Oaks were quick on the counter attack and McCarthy had a half chance that he put just over the cross bar. Then Cooper was put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Cooper attempted to chip the goalkeeper, who dived at full stretch and was able to divert the ball away for a corner. A few minutes later, the ball was played to Strachan, who hit a furious shot from just outside of our opponent’s penalty area. The shot almost took their goalkeeper off of his feet as he held onto the ball.
This was an outstanding game between two very good football teams. The Oaks had the chances in the second half to have made this a more comfortable victory, but it was eventually decided on a late first half penalty. This was a great team display, which prevented our opponents from a single shot on goal. Tunbridge Wells have a host of district players in their ranks and their style of football will ensure that they will do well in the Cup and in the outcome of the Central Division.
The Oaks have a team full of talent , who are now on a good run of wins against some very good football teams. A special mention must go out to those players who have been rested, or who are injured, but who still turn out to support their team. Roll on next week’s game against Guru Nanak.