On Saturday evening Sevenoaks Men’s 1st team hosted Old Cranleighans. Following two disappointing results in their last two outings, Sevenoaks were keen to put in a good performance and come away with all three points.
From the very first whistle Sevenoaks looked threatening and dominated possession, setting the tone and tempo for the game. Oak’s first real chance came following a slick interplay around the back and down the right hand side, the ball finding Ben Allbery who unleashed a strike at goal. The ball hit the defender’s foot and then found the back of the net but unfortunately the umpire had already signalled a penalty stroke so the goal was disallowed. Allbery stepped up to the mark however his stroke was well saved by the helmet of the goalkeeper.
Shortly after the stroke, a crash ball into the attacking D by Craig Morton saw Sevenoaks earn their first penalty corner. Andrew Ross tried to make it 1-0, however his attempt saw the ball fly over the bar, narrowly missing the top right hand corner. At the end of the first quarter the score line remained 0-0 despite Sevenoaks having near total dominance.
The second quarter started with the opposition picking up the intensity and showing more fight and resolve. However, Sevenoaks continued to show the away team how slick their passing can be, moving the ball with fluidity through the lines. Some quick link up play by James Thomas and player coach Ian Haley created a few more chances at goal, testing the Old Cranleighans’ goalkeeper again, but Oaks still could not find the net. Against the run of play, a lapse of concentration and a loose turnover by the home side allowed the opposition to counter and take the lead through a scrappy goal which left Oaks going in 1-0 down at halftime.
At the beginning of the second half, Sevenoaks came out of the blocks flying and with the bit between their teeth. A well won short corner allowed Andrew Ross to step up and make it 1-1, emphatically slamming the ball into the top right hand corner of the net. Minutes later, Tim Warrington found himself one on one with the goalkeeper. Two goal bound efforts later, one of which hit the opposition defender’s body on the line, Oaks found themselves with another penalty stroke. This time, top goal scorer Andrew Ross stepped up to dispatch the stroke calmly into the bottom right hand corner to make it 2-1.
The last quarter seemed to be more like table tennis than hockey with shots being fired in at both ends. A well worked play from Sevenoaks saw Ben Allbery carrying the ball down the left hand side and a clear tap in chance to kill off the game presenting itself for Max Denniff who was sprinting for the back post. However, the pass was overhit and a diving Denniff was unable to find the back of the net. Old Cranleighans pushed hard for an equaliser but the Oaks’ defence stood firm. Sevenoaks did concede a late short corner in the last seconds of the game, however man of the match Richard Potton made another impeccable save for it to remain 2-1 at full time.