BY CHRIS BARKER: Off the back of last weekend’s positive start to the season Sevenoaks travelled to local Kent rivals Canterbury on Sunday and carried their momentum forward.
They started the game with pushback, controlled possession and did not let Canterbury get a touch of the ball for the first five minutes. A solid platform from the defence allowed Sevenoaks to transfer the ball around the pitch and give the creative attacking players opportunities to express themselves. This was the theme of the first quarter – Sevenoaks possession, probing the Canterbury back four but unfortunately no breakthrough.
The second quarter started with more intent from Canterbury. They stepped up their press to try to put pressure on the Sevenoaks back line and midfield. This gave them more opportunities to counterattack and they created some good chances which were well saved by the Oaks’ goalkeeper Richard Potten. Despite Canterbury’s advances, the breakthrough came for Oaks when a stunning cross field back hand pass from player-coach Ian Haley found another veteran of the team Ben Allberry who finished beautifully in the bottom corner on his second attempt. Half Time 1-0 Oaks.
The third quarter was very much a carbon copy of the second. Plenty of possession by Oaks and opportunities created but they just could not extend their lead. Sevenoaks’ new recruit Paul Macleod rattling the post with a low drag flick was as close as Oaks could come.
The fourth quarter was like two heavyweight boxers slogging it out in the hope for a knockout. Very much a ding-dong affair with chances falling and heavy challenges going in for both sides. The game turned with around ten minutes to go when a Canterbury defender and an Oaks attacker were both shown yellow cards. Controversially the Oaks player received a ten minute sin bin while Canterbury’s player only received five minutes. This gave Canterbury a boost of energy and attacking intent. They won multiple short corners which were well defended but finally, with just a few minutes left to go, a direct ball into the D was well deflected by the Canterbury forward into the roof of the net to equalise.
A great response from Oaks earned them a short corner with one minute to go but a well worked routine was well saved by the defender on the line. From the resulting free hit Canterbury went up the other end of the pitch and were awarded another penalty corner which aggrieved the Oaks side. The penalty corner defence from Oaks highlighted the fantastic fight and resolve from the whole team on the day to work hard for each other and put their bodies on the line as it was blocked and the game ended 1-1.