Today our U16’s Kent Youth League team made the short journey to Wrotham to play the Central Division Champions, Tonbridge Angels FC. Although the Angels had finished top of the league and the Oaks had attained the runners up spot, both of these teams were to contest this game as if it were a final. This was to be a tough fixture, with both sets of players committed to giving one hundred percent. It was clear to see, that both of these teams have some of the best players in the Central Division.
The game commenced at a high tempo with both teams looking to dominate. The first half saw both teams having the odd shot on goal, but nothing that would really trouble either goalkeeper. On the 10th minute Chambers hit a long speculative shot, that bounced over the Angels goalkeeper and just went the wrong side of the cross bar.
On the 14th minute, an Angels striker flicked the ball over the on-rushing Oaks defender and hit a volley across our penalty area which was goal bound. However, Earls dived to his right and caught the ball cleanly at full strength. Then on the 21st minute Earls gathered an Angel’s long shot into his midriff to deny them an opening goal.
On the 28th minute the Oaks won a free kick just outside the Angels penalty area. Cooper stepped up and hit a curling effort that looked destined for the top left hand corner. The Oaks were denied by a brilliant save by the Angels goalkeeper, who pushed the ball away to safety.
Toby had sent his boys out to try and win the game, against a team that had not been beaten in the league for three seasons. The defence of Travers, Rumbol, Wolfe and Baillie stood solid as the first half ended 0-0. During half time Steve Della Valle entertained the crowd with his wit and quick fire jokes and was ably assisted by his side kick Dave Wilkins. I am sure that we were all witnessing the next Morecambe and Wise.
The second half commenced with the Oaks changing goalkeepers and Callum Wilkins was to be installed in-between the sticks. The midfield of Chambers, Watkins, Cooper and McMenimen were working hard to combat the constant threat being caused by the Angels, who had started the second half the brightest.
Then on the 56th minute, the Angels hit a looping shot that bounced onto the top of our cross bar and out to safety. Our strikers were coming into the game more and our front three of Della Valle, McCarthy and the impressive Moony were causing our opponents problems. Both teams were battling hard in midfield and neither team could make that final pass that could unlock a defence.
On the 72nd minute, a long kick by our opponent’s goalkeeper saw one of our defenders miss his clearance and clip the Angels striker who was in close attendance. A penalty was immediately awarded. Wilkins stood firm on his goal line trying to make himself as big as possible. The resulting penalty kick hit our goal post and went out for a goal kick.
Although the Angels were having the better of the second half, this game was looking like it would end in a goalless draw. However on the 77th minute, our opponents were awarded a corner. They suddenly took a short corner which drew one of our midfielders out to close down the cross. The cross was inch perfect and their now unmarked midfielder scored from a free header. 1-0
This has been a fantastic season for the Oaks, finishing second in a league where there has been a host of good quality teams. Every player has played his part in the success enjoyed by Sevenoaks Town FC this season and we look forward to the tour to Benfica. We should also mention those players who are currently injured, but who played their part this season. They are Chirnside, Gavin, Hathway, Burden and Strachan. We wish them all well and a speedy recovery from their injuries.
This is my last report of the season and I am proud to have witnessed our boys growing into young men. I wish everyone well for next year, when our boys enter the U18's arena. Well done to Toby Lansdale for guiding our lads to such a successful season. I would also like to thank you for the kind gift for completing these match reports. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing them over several glasses of red wine.
Sevenoaks Town FC is a fantastic family club with a great set of boys, girls, coaches and parents and is now enjoying success in all age groups. Roll on 2016/2017!