In this top of the table clash, the U16's Tandridge team and Orpington Rovers played out a tense 0-0 draw that could have gone either way.
Orpington started the stronger and, for much of the first half, Sevenoaks struggled to get a foothold in the game. When in possession, Sevenoaks were restricted to playing long balls forward that failed to trouble Orpington. As a result, Sevenoaks spent long periods defending and when Orpington forced a string of corners it looked like only a matter of time before they would take the lead. However, outstanding and brave goalkeeping and defending, particularly at the corners, by Alex Theobald, Tom Barnes, Ed Clinton, and joint men of the match James Phillips and Lawrence Flarry restricted Orpington to half chances. This allowed Sevenoaks to gradually work their way into the game and made for a strong finish to the half, in which they passed the ball better, enjoyed more possession, and got into good positions out wide. However, Sevenoaks couldn’t fashion a clear cut chance that might have given them the lead.
With the game finely poised, it was Sevenoaks that took the game to Orpington in the second half. Playing with more composure and spurred on by tireless performances from Henry Phillips, Joseph Russell, and Jamie Bingham in midfield, Sevenoaks pushed forward. The tables were turned, with Sevenoaks now exerting pressure and Orpington forced to defend for long periods. However, Sevenoaks couldn’t make the pressure count and as the game edged towards the finish, the sides remained deadlocked. Eventually, in the final ten minutes, the game opened up. Orpington came perilously close to scoring when a goal mouth scramble saw the ball hit the foot of Sevenoaks’ goal and career off to safety. Then, with no more than five minutes remaining, it looked like Sevenoaks had won it. Sam Sherratt appeared to time his run perfectly to latch on to a ball over the top, which he lobbed brilliantly over Orpington’s on rushing goalkeeper and into the goal, only for the linesman to inexplicably flag for off side.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a point in what was a thrilling 0-0 draw (and, incidentally, Sevenoaks' ninth clean sheet in a run of eleven games unbeaten since last November).