The U13's Tandridge team reconvened at the impressive Bishop Justas school in Bromley to take on Invicta following their disappointing loss to JDG the previous week when a lack of numbers proved damaging. On this occasion a full team with substitutes available plus the memory of a good win against this team only a few weeks ago put the squad in a more positive mood.
The hosts started confidently and looked dangerous in the early skirmishes, their number 24 was the focus of their play but the Blues were coping in the blustery conditions. They looked comfortable playing on the quality 3G surface, the conditions allowing the ball to be moved about quickly.
Munday and Moore looked hungry for goals, the Sevenoaks wolf pack prowling around the opponent's half to pounce onto any chances that came their way. And so it proved. 15 minutes in Alec kept the pressure on the defence and the goalkeeper and came away with the ball, a simple ball across the box and Riley was on hand to slot home.
It was almost 2-0 a few moments later, Okulaja sending the ball over the top for Alec to run onto but his shot drifted just wide.
By now Sevenoaks were well into their stride and the team were playing superbly and the second goal reflected this. Goalkeeper Freddie Watkins gathered the ball and quickly threw the ball out to Teddy Pearson who was making his belated debut for the team, a couple of touches and a simple pass inside to Kai who drove on from inside the Sevenoaks half towards the Bromley box. He slid the ball through to Alec who slipped the ball past the goalkeeper for 2-0!
This was tremendous stuff by the visitors, Bromley didn’t know what had hit them. They tried to put attacks together but Arran Donald was putting in an awesome Man of the Match performance in the centre of defence. He was a brick wall. On a number of occasions he simply stood his ground when confronted by a flying forward. He would come away with the ball whilst the attacker went sprawling.
Just before the half hour mark, Sevenoaks won a free kick just outside the box on the right. Just the sort of spot that Riley loves. He scored a super goal a few weeks ago previously lifting it over the wall into the corner but on this occasion he drove it low and hard to the left of the wall straight to the unmarked Kai who just needed to get his toe on the end to put it past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0.
The half time whistle blew and the players trooped off on a deserved high, everything they were doing from the goalkeeper forward was going right. However, in the reverse fixture the team were 5-0 up at this stage but Bromley came back at them hard and Sevenoaks were struggling to hold on. Orders to keep their concentration and organisation were given to ensure that the home team couldn’t get anything out of the match.
For the next 35 minutes the white shirted hosts huffed and puffed as the strong winds blew on their backs however nothing they tried worked. Watkins caught and collected every ball with confidence and the full backs Benfield and Craven covered well. Charlie Karsak was strong in the tackle, infuriating the other coach at one stage with a robust but fair challenge. Joe Ashton and Teddy were combining very well in the centre of the park as if they had played together many times not the first. Ellis Mehmet was working hard supporting Alec and Riley who looked as if they could score at any time. It wasn’t to be though but neither did they let their hosts through. Freddie barely had to save a shot all game. They played throughout with poise, passing between themselves with calmness and intelligence.
The final score of 3-0 was well deserved. This was their best performance of the year and bodes well for the rest of the season as the players positively bounced off the pitch after the game. The next few games will bring some players back to the fold who have been missing recently which will increase the options and the team will push on.