Sevenoaks ended the first half of the season with a convincing 6-2 win at home to Brighton on Sunday. The win sends them into the Christmas break sitting in second place in National Division One South, just two points behind leaders Oxted.
Oaks made a good start to the game and took the lead in the eleventh minute when a ball from the right hand side was played infield by Ian Haley to Tim Warrington, who advanced unchallenged to the top of the D where he crashed a shot into the bottom left hand corner making it 1-0 to Oaks. Oaks could have extended their lead with a penalty corner opportunity but the injection was not trapped and the chance was gone. The remainder of the first quarter saw Oaks get a bit sloppy and only a couple of excellent saves from Sevenoaks man of the match Richard Potton kept Oaks ahead.
Early in the second quarter Brighton earned a penalty corner, the first effort was cleared off the line by Craig Wiid, but the ball struck his foot as it was going off the pitch, so Brighton were awarded another chance, this time they were able to convert to make it 1-1 in the twenty first minute. This sparked Oaks into life and they immediately restored their lead, when an attack from the restart down the right ended with a shot at goal that was initially saved, but Sam George was on hand to slot in the rebound to make it 2-1 in the twenty second minute. Seven minutes later Oaks extended their lead to 3-1 when a ball into the D by Warrington was picked up by Wiid, who calmly passed across goal for George Torry to lift over the keeper and into the net. That was how the score remained at half time.
After the break Oaks continued to dominate possession and territory. It didn’t take long to add to their tally when a cross field ball by Andrew Ross found Warrington, who played the ball into Ed Matts in the D and his reverse stick effort was deflected in off a defender leaving the keeper no chance, making it 4-1. A little over five minutes later it was 5-1 when Ross played a ball into the D, which Warrington deflected goalwards, forcing a sharp save from the keeper, but Jason Bigara was on hand to force home the rebound.
Unfortunately the game became very disjointed after this point with Sevenoaks being reduced to ten men on two occasions with first David Smith and then Warrington sent to the sin-bin, meaning Oaks had to play with a man down for most of the last fifteen minutes. Brighton were able to pull a goal back just into the fourth quarter with a fine reverse stick goal but beyond that Oaks were not threatened too much. With the last play of the game Oaks won a penalty corner, and after Ross’s initial effort was saved into the air by the keeper the corner was re-awarded, and Wiid scored his first goal for Oaks with a superb flick into the side netting to make the final score 6-2.
With Oxted beating Southgate the Surrey side remain top of the table by just two points. Sevenoaks have a far superior goal difference, and will be looking to capitalise on any slip ups by Oxted after Christmas.
For now though the focus turns to the indoor version of the game, and the indoor squad begin their preparations for the Premier League tournament played over two weekends just after Christmas. With finals day appearances in four of the last six years, Oaks will be looking to continue their fine indoor pedigree and secure a top four finish in the round robin league stage to qualify for finals day.