Today the U16's Kent Youth League team travelled the short journey to play West Wickham FC. Our hosts were in fine form, having beaten Ebbsfleet FC the week before. This was going to be a game of two halves and one that saw the return of the fine goal-scoring form of Callum Strachan, which had made him the Oaks top goal scorer last season.
The game kicked off, with both teams looking to get the ball onto the ground and play football. Both midfields were working hard to break up play, when suddenly on the 15th minute our opponent’s striker hit a fierce drive from just outside of our penalty box. This shot was destined for our top right hand corner, when Wilkins dived at full stretch and finger tipped the shot onto the bar and away to safety.
Then on the 30th minute after some great passing between Hathway and Chambers, the ball was swept out wide to our left back. Baillie then played a first time pass to Strachan, who rolled the defender and also hit a first time shot from just outside of Wickham’s penalty area; which nestled in the corner of our opponents net. 0-1
The Oaks had been solid in the first half, but Wickham were quick to close down play and defended deep. The boys would need to be more creative in the second half.
The second half started brightly and within the first few minutes, Hathway crossed from our right which the West Wickham goalkeeper fumbled due to the sun being in his eyes. However, the poacher McCarthy was in attendance and rolled the ball into the net. 0-2
The Oaks were starting to take control of the game, when Hathway disguised his pass to Strachan; who coolly passed the ball into our opponent’s goal. 0-3
Within a couple of minutes, McCarthy received the ball just inside of our opponent’s penalty box. McCarthy unselfishly played in Strachan, who jinxed past his marker before sending the ball into the corner of the net. 0-4
West Wickham bravely kept on fighting, but were unable to really make any clear cut chances. Chambers then intercepted a rare Wickham break, before going on a long run right through our opponent’s team. Just as Chambers got into the penalty area, he cut the ball back to Strachan who delicately placed the ball beyond the out stretched goalkeeper and into the net for his fourth goal. 0-5
There was still twenty minutes left in the game and the Oaks were not taking their foot off of the pedal. Cooper then received the ball just inside the Wickham half. He drove at speed leaving two players in his wake, before his shot was blocked by a defender. The ball spun to the one player that West Wickham didn’t want to get the ball and Strachan hit the back of the net within a blink of an eye. 0-6
Strachan had scored five goals and was then withdrawn from the game. However, as he left the field of play, he was applauded by every Sevenoaks player as well as all of the Oaks supporters. Today, Strachan was truly unplayable and is hopefully making a late challenge with McCarthy for the coveted golden boot award.
Although the Oaks were winning 0-6, our opponents were desperate to get a goal to stop us leaving with a clean sheet. Suddenly on the 70th minute, Wickham attacked down our left and had a shot kicked off of our goal line by our goalkeeper Wilkins.
Hathway who had been so influential during the game, then took a free kick which the Oaks had been awarded just outside of the Wickham penalty box. His shot went over the wall and into our opponent’s net with the goal keeper well beaten. 0-7
Minutes later, the Oaks were awarded a corner. Cooper teased the ball into the area, before Hathway nodded into the net. 0-8
There was still time for Chambers to hit a long range shot that crashed off of the cross bar.
This was a fantastic result and a superb second half performance. The formation of 4-4-2 clearly suited the team today and saw Strachan thrive by working alongside McCarthy. It is always easy to write about the assists and the goals scored, but the Oaks have only conceded 11 goals so far this campaign and we have played the majority of the top teams. So, I would like to mention both goalkeepers and the defensive boys who quietly go about their business, to ensure that we can finish the season as high up the table as possible. We look forward to our next game on Tuesday evening against Maidstone United. Well done lads you all played brilliantly today.