Moonshot FC from Catford journeyed down from South East London for the second Sunday in succession to provide the opposition to the U13's Tandridge team, this time in the second round of the Tandridge Youth League Shield competition. Last Sunday they ran out rather fortuitous 3-1 winners so the home team were determined to exact revenge on their guests.
Conditions were good at Seal Rec having dealt with all the rain on Saturday and the sun shone warmly upon the teams. The visitors started strongly passing the ball about well and soon put the Oaks under pressure. Their defence stood firm and Kai Okulaja, in the unfamiliar role of right back was putting in a storming performance of skill and aggression in dealing with a number of attacks, linking up well with Freddie Watkins in right midfield.
However, despite all the huffing and puffing there was not a lot of goalmouth action at either end, neither goalkeeper having to deal with too many serious threats and the half ended all square.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, Moonshot looked dangerous going forward and often put Sevenoaks under pressure but when the hosts got forward they did so quickly but often their attacks broke down before the away team goalkeeper had to deal with anything. About 10 minutes in, Sevenoaks made the most of a break and Riley Moore and Alec Munday burst through the defensive line. Moore was clear and should have shot earlier but he took the ball too close to the goalkeeper who bravely challenged the fast approaching forward. As they collided the ball squirmed loose and Munday was on hand to bundle the ball over the line. The referee pointed back towards the centre spot and the Oaks celebrated the opening goal. This was short lived though because as the goalkeeper was receiving treatment for injuries from the collision the linesman pointed out a foul had been committed on him and the goal was ruled out.
The match continued in a similar vein, both teams creating chances but neither really looking like scoring and when the referee blew for full time after an extended period of Sevenoaks pressure 20 minutes of extra time beckoned.
Moonshot looked like they wanted to get home as soon as possible and they took the game to Sevenoaks in the first period. A couple of small mistakes in defence allowed the ball to a Moonshot player on the edge of the box. He played it out to the left and their winger finished well into the opposite corner.
It was 1-0 at half time and the Sevenoaks boys were determined at the changeover to make sure if they went out they went out with a roar rather than a wimper. A reshuffle of the formation to go three at the back and the front gave them some impetus, Kai having moved up front was looking to add a goal to his earlier impressive performance at the back. They looked dangerous and a goal was surely coming and three minutes in it came. Danny Varley cleared, Rocco Siepel clipped the ball over the top of the defence, Riley leapt onto the ball and crossed it in for Alec to bury it for a well deserved equaliser.
The final minutes were played out and then it was penalties!
Excited players put themselves forward to take the spotkicks. There was no hint of hesitation, they were up for it. Alec took the first and opened the account followed by Riley and then Joe Ashton. These were equalled by their Moonshot opposite numbers, although Danny nearly stopped the first one rolling agonisingly under his body, the third was in off the post. However, the advantage went to Moonshot in the fourth round when Kai’s shot was saved and they scored. Alex Cirvinskas held his nerve to score and it was all square when the visitors missed their fourth. Theo Collingwood and Ellis Mehmet took their chances well and they were matched. Joe Benfield stepped up and slipped as he shot but the ball was well directed into the left corner away from the goalkeeper. The seventh Moonshot player stepped up but his kick went wide of the left post and Sevenoaks had won! The final score being 6-5.
Their win was well deserved, their opponents pushed them hard but Sevenoaks held their form and their resolute attitude came good in the end. They believed they would prevail in the penalty shoot out and so it proved and they progress into the next round of the Shield.