A tense game at Greatness Park saw the u15s squeeze past a hyper Orpington team, desperate to
make up for their 8-1 reverse just a few weeks ago.
Their determination was clear right from the start. To say they were ”up for it” was an
understatement and Sevenoaks were the ones on the back foot for once, it was not going to be a
repeat of the first match. They were struggling to get into the game as the visitors packed the
midfield and were picking up all the loose balls and feeding their lively number nine who was causing the home team’s normally secure defence a lot of problems.
Sevenoaks were not playing as well as they have done in recent weeks, they were surprisingly
hesitant and careless with their distribution. It wasn’t quite working for them so it was no surprise
that Orpington opened the scoring with a simple but thumping header from a corner. Their desire to win was evident in their celebrations.
The Blues were creating chances but the final ball was missing, they were having trouble finding a
path through the massed Orpington defence. Eddie Lane came on and was getting some joy on the left and it was his effort that lead to the equaliser. His cross missed most players but Josh Penfold was on hand to slide the ball past the goalie to level things up.
The game was end to end and Orpington looked dangerous going down the wings but couldn’t
capitalise on these chances. Another corner to Orpington leads to an identical goal as the first. Again a forward is left free to meet the ball and his connection gives George Porter no chance.
This is unfamiliar territory for the ‘Oaks but they finally raised themselves and the remainder of the half was mainly the home team. Conor Gilmartin was putting in some good crosses but too often the attacks were simply crowded out. On the stroke of half time Lane broke through and lifted the ball over the goal keeper only for it to bounce off the crossbar.
The ball was still in play and Kai Okulaja reacted first using his strength to bundle the ball over the line to even up the scoreline. The whistle blew and the players and the teams trooped off for a well earned break, Orpington no doubt feeling slightly aggrieved by letting their hosts twice back into the game, Sevenoaks feeling they had given themselves a chance but they would have to tighten everything up if they wanted to get anything out of the game.
Orpington, clearly revved up by their coach started the second half at a rush. The no.9 was still
getting too much space but it was their number 10 who made the early breakthrough slipping the
ball under the approaching Porter, however much to Sevenoaks relief the goal was disallowed for
offside. They took heart from this and began to add the vital intensity to their game. The defenders tightened things up, Joe Benfield was making some tremendous interceptions, snuffing out a number of chances whilst the midfield with Ashton & Richardson began to win more in midfield enabling more ball to reach the forwards.
Okulaja was getting down the right feeding off a good supply from Theo Tite. Harvey Hollingsbee and Josh Penfold were busy as well but they were nearly then out of nothing, Hollingsbee makes it three. Porter launched the ball upfield following an Orpington corner. Floris was right onto it and when the ball came loose, Harvey H was on the spot to put it away.
It seemed to be going Sevenoaks way as Orpington began to get frustrated and Joe Ashton had a
great chance and a Faulstich effort went narrowly wide. They needed another goal as the game was so evenly poised and Orpington were not going to give up. Hearts were in mouths behind the
Respect barriers as the clock ticked away and there were still chances for both sides but none were taken and Sevenoaks came away with the win thanks to Hollingsbee’s vital goal.
A more competitive match was last week’s request and they got it. They face a tricky trip to Croydon next week which will be another test so it was good they got this one under their belt to maintain their 100% record.