Today the U16's KYL team travelled to Lenham in order to play APM Holtwood, who currently sit in second place in the KYL Central Division. Oaks were almost back to full strength, with some key players returning, having missed last week’s disappointing cup exit.
The game started at a frantic pace with the Oaks enjoying considerable possession. APM Holtwood were relying on defending deep and trying to break forward when they could. The Oaks were moving the ball around swiftly and rather than waiting for opportunities to present themselves, they were guilty of continually looking for the ball over the top of the defence.
Suddenly, on the tenth minute, the ball was gifted to a Holtwood player, who was in the centre of the park completely unmarked. He hit a spectacular shot from 25 yards, which nestled in the top right hand corner of our goal. 1-0
This did not faze our boys, even though it had come against the run of play. The Oaks continued to press and had a goal disallowed for offside. Yet again, the Oaks took the game to our opponents and were unlucky to see McCarthy’s header come back off the Holtwood post, with the goal keeper well beaten. Our boys continually took the game to our opponents who defended well and who broke at speed. However they were restricted to a number of long range efforts and the occasional corner and free kick.
The Oaks were hungry for the second half to commence and straight from the kick off, they began an assault on our opponent's half. However, APM had made some changes at half time and for the first fifteen minutes it was real end-to-end play.
The Oaks played with a belief that they could win this game and it would only be a matter of time before they scored. Hathway, was commanding in the centre for the Oaks and the boys played as a tight unit. It was clear to see from both sets of supporters, why APM Holtwood are sitting so high in the division and who currently boast the league’s leading goal scorer.
Midway through the second half, our opponent’s defender was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area and a penalty kick was duly awarded. Darren Cooper was entrusted to take the penalty and he placed the ball on the spot. This was a game defining moment. Darren took his time and dispatched the perfect penalty level the scores. 1-1
Darren's father, Dave, celebrated by handing out his spearmint flavoured mints. This was a fitting result for Darren and the team, who had run themselves into the ground to get something from this game.
There were 25 minutes left to play and Travers was moved from defence to play as an additional forward in an attempt to gain the win. However, Holtwood had started to take a foot hold in the game and Harry ‘The Cat’ Earls was called upon, to make two outstanding saves to keep the score level. The first save that he made, was from a shot within the area which he pushed to safety. However, the second save was true class. Our opponents hit a shot so fierce and along the ground, that it looked like a definite goal. Earls dived down to his right and not only stopped the shot, but held onto it much to the despair of our opponent’s forwards.
The Oaks started to increase the pressure and with the two big men up front namely McCarthy and Travers, we were now winning most aerial duels and becoming a real threat in front of goal. On the 78th minute, McCarthy flicked the ball to Travers, who played a defence splitting pass back to McCarthy who slipped the ball past the on rushing goalkeeper to take the lead. 1-2
After the scoring of that goal, McCarthy had to be carried from the field of play, due to a collision with the goalkeeper.
This was the first time that the Oaks had gone behind in a game and they had to show their resolve, right up to the final whistle to achieve a well earned result. Today, the boys learnt that with hard work and a belief in each other, they can become one of the top teams in this league. Freddy Rumbol had a good solid debut and John Chirnside is looking like a fantastic new addition. Well done boys especially as many parents on the side line had settled for a draw. I would like to mention Travers who played today as right back, centre back, centre midfield and forward. Could you pay double subs please?! Also it was great to see our rested and injured players, who made the long trip to support their brothers. Boys, “there ain’t no stopping us now”!