The U13's Tandridge season came to a thrilling end in the sunshine at Seal when the team played out a brilliant game against Westerham. It was end to end for the whole 70 minutes with the result in doubt until the final whistle blew.
Sevenoaks took the lead after about 5 minutes with a great cross field move. Ashton picked up the ball in the middle and laid it off to the right. Okulaja picked it up and cross it into the box where Ryder was on hand to slot it home. Within a few minutes, Westerham were level, they were given too much space outside the box and were able to get a shot away beating the diving goalkeeper.
Sevenoaks were creating chances and looked dangerous everytime they went forward, Okulaja made some breaks but the opposition goalkeeper and defenders made last gasp recoveries to block the shots.
The hosts retook the lead on 15 minutes following a corner. Moore fired it in and as it bounced back across the goal, the ball wasn’t and Cirvinskas smashed it into the roof of the net to his absolute delight.
This lead didn’t last for long either. Before we knew it, it was 2-2. Again, the visitors had too much time near the edge of the box and let off a speculative shot which squeezed by the goalkeeper by the right hand post.
Sevenoaks were frustrated by this but pressed on but were down to 10 players as Okulaja limped off having hurt his foot. They still created chances Ryder, Moore & Overd put regular pressure on the Westerham defence but it was not until towards the end of the half that it all came together and under unique circumstances when Joe Ryder finished smartly into the right corner using his left foot!
A breathless first half ended with Sevenoaks one goal to the good and they returned to the pitch after a well earned rest at the interval with the expectation that more chances would come their way.
However, they were still down to 10 players and this began to tell as they had to chase more as Westerham were picking up all the loose balls. Inevitably the pressure told and before long they levelled for a third time.
This wasn’t going to be a game where either team was going to settle for a draw. The home team pushed forward but found themselves stretched and outnumbered as the ball came back. Westerham broke fast and their greater numbers created the chance to make it 3-4. Sevenoaks were under the cosh a bit. Their opponents had a goal disallowed for pushing and Benfield made two crucial clearances to keep the scores close.
At this moment the Westerham coach sportingly took off one of their players to make it 10 a side but shortly after Okulaja returned to the pitch but in goal. The last 15 minutes were 11 a side and most of it was for Sevenoaks. They were invigorated and began to create the chances that were they did in the first half. A fourth goal for them was coming, it was but a matter of time. Another Moore corner, more penalty area scrapes and the ball came out to Ashton who shot but for the ball to hit the bar and bounce down but it was uncertain if it crossed the line. The ball remained in play and was cleared but only finding it’s way to Donald. He slipped to Ashton , who had another go this time lobbing the goalkeeper. He just reached but pushed it up and as it landed shoved it away but the referee awarded the goal on this occasion.
The home team’s wick was up now. Space was appearing everywhere as the pace and sunshine told on the youngsters. Overd was seeing a lot of the ball and Sevenoaks were pressing hard. With just a few minutes to go Moore lifted the ball over the top for Ryder to run onto who comfortably beat the goalkeeper to claim a well deserved hat-trick to make it 5-4 to the boys in blue.
Sevenoaks closed out the last few minutes, although Westerham didn’t stop trying, to claim a deserved victory in a thoroughly enjoyable match and allowing the team to finish this long season on a very positive note.