Sevenoaks bounced back from the disappointment of the prior week with a resounding 4-1 victory over previous league leaders Southgate on Saturday evening.
It was Southgate who drew first blood when they won a penalty corner in the opening ten minutes. Despite two excellent saves from Richard Potton, Southgate were able to bundle the ball in at the third attempt to make it 1-0. Sevenoaks grew into the game and earned a penalty corner not long after, but the shot on goal was charged down and deflected to safety. As the end of the first quarter approached Oaks earned another penalty corner and this time Andrew Ross was able to convert to draw the sides level at 1-1. The second quarter was an even affair with few chances for either side and the sides went into the interval locked at one apiece.
Oaks started the second half well and within a few minutes they’d earned another penalty corner when Sam George found a defender’s foot in the D. Ross saw his initial effort saved, but Tim Warrington kept the ball alive and Ross smashed home the loose ball to put Oaks 2-1 up. Southgate pressed forward in search of an equaliser and were unlucky not to draw level when an upright reverse strike crashed back off the post to safety. Early in the fourth quarter Oaks edged another goal ahead when a slick move involving Ben Fox, Warrington and George ended with George squaring the ball for Jason Bigara to finish well on the volley to make it 3-1.
Both sides saw players sent to the sin-bin in the closing stages of the game as tensions rose, and at one stage Oaks were down to nine men, with Ed Matts and Ian Haley off the pitch, and Southgate down to ten. With a couple of minutes remaining Southgate withdrew their goalkeeper in exchange for another outfield player to chase a goal. With seconds remaining an aerial ball by Ross was controlled by Bigara and played infield to man of the match Warrington, who carried into the D and lashed into the empty net to make it 4-1.
The win briefly took Oaks top of the table, but Oxted beating Bath Buccaneers on Sunday meant they jumped to the top of the table, two points ahead of Sevenoaks. Next week Oaks travel to Oxford Hawks, who despite sitting second bottom in the table have a positive goal difference and boast the second best defence in the league behind Sevenoaks, so it should be a tight affair.