Today the U16's Kent Youth League team welcomed Erith & Belvedere to Greatness Park, having only just played them last week. However, today’s game showed that our opponents have come on leaps and bounds since ex-pro footballer Colin Luckett has taken over the coaching at this club. The Deres can only look forward to a bright future with Colin at the reigns, installing his own brand of 'total football'.
The Oaks started the game slowly this afternoon and our opponents were the first to settle and they passed their way around our midfield with some ease. However our defence of McMeniman, Rumbol, Wolfe and Baillie stood firm and refused to be beaten. An unfortunate late injury to Callum Wilkins, had seen Harry Earls called up to to go in between the sticks.
The Deres were controlling the game in the first half, but could not breach our defence. The Oaks were able to soak up the pressure and were looking to counter at every opportunity. Then on the 32nd minute, Watkins hit a powerful shot from just within their penalty area, which just went the wrong side of the goal post.
However on the 35th minute, Burden picked up the ball in midfield. He immediately took on his opposite number, turning him inside out, before playing a reverse ball back to Watkins. Our captain Watkins struck the ball first time which went under the goalkeeper, who dived at full stretch to prevent the goal. Yet he couldn’t stop the shot and the Oaks were the first to break the deadlock against the run of play. 1-0
The second half commenced with the Oaks competing better in midfield and not relying so heavily on the long ball up to the strikers. Suddenly on the 51st minute, Diego McCarthy found himself with the ball some 25 yards from goal, with the goalkeeper well off his line. McCarthy hit a long dipping shot which the goalkeeper could only watch as it passed over him. Unfortunately, the ball went just over the bar and halted Diego’s attempt for goal of the season.
Although the Deres were playing some nice football, they were unable to penetrate our defence and get a goal that would have brought them back into this game. Earls was, as usual, immaculate in goal and didn’t panic when our opponents hit a corner that swung just under his cross bar. Harry plucked the ball from the air at full stretch, which shows why he is the first team's number two goalkeeper and pushing for that first team spot.
On the 58th minute Baillie played the ball down the left hand channel. McCarthy was the first to react and he collected the ball on the edge of the Dere’s penalty area. He then turned the defender, before hitting a fierce shot over the goalkeeper to double the lead. 2-0
Our opponents then threw everything at the Oaks, to get a foothold in the game. Our strikers Strachan and McCarthy were proving to be a handful and prevented our opponents from over committing on any attack.
However, the boys were working hard to contain the Deres and to hit them on the break. One such break away, saw the majestic Hathway fouled on the half way line. Baillie floated the resulting free kick into the penalty area. McCarthy on the 79th minute, headed the ball back to Burden, who guided his pass into Chambers. The impressive Chambers volleyed the ball into the net for his first goal of the season. 3-0
This was probably a hard pill to swallow for the Deres, who worked hard and got nothing from the game. We have certainly played teams higher up in the league, who would have loved to have played half as well as our opponents. We wish Colin and his boys all the best for next season.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local residents of Sevenoaks, who have been turning up regularly to support their local team and to watch the progression of a number of Toby’s players. I would also like to wish the following players good luck on behalf of Sevenoaks Town FC and their supporters. Firstly, I would like to wish good luck to Darren Cooper for his selection in next week's Kent District team and to Freddie Rumbol for his inclusion on the reserve list. I would also like to pay tribute to Harry Earls, who was called up last week as a reserve in Micky Collin's very impressive first team squad. Lastly, I would like to wish Marcus Travers good luck with his trial at Millwall FC and his forthcoming game against Arsenal FC.