Sevenoaks threw away two points in the dying minutes of their relegation match up with local rivals Canterbury on Saturday. Having conceded a late winner to Canterbury away from home back in October, history repeated itself this Saturday at Hollybush Lane as Oaks fought back from a woeful start only to allow the visitors back into the game late on.
Oaks made an horrendous start to the game, conceding in the opening minute of the game, when a hopeful ball into the D got the faintest of touches off the attacker and flew past Richard Potton in the Oaks goal to make it 1-0 to the visitors. Things went from bad to worse when an early penalty corner in the 11th minute was converted to put Canterbury 2-0 up. Exactly as it has been in the away fixture, Oaks had gifted their opposition a two goal head start before they even started to play themselves into the game. From then until half-time it was all Sevenoaks, as they were shocked into action and in the 17th minute they pulled a goal back when tenacious play by Duncan Parnis saw him dispossess two Canterbury defenders before slamming a reverse stick shot under the keeper to make it 2-1. Oaks earned a couple of penalty corners but were unable to draw level with the keeper saving both efforts. In the 29th minute they did restore parity when some fine play by Rob Schilling and Tom Chandler led to the ball falling to Mike Barber, whose first time effort squirmed under the keeper and into the back of the net to make it 2-2, and that was how it remained at half-time.
After the break, a similarly sloppy start from Sevenoaks gifted Canterbury a couple of early opportunities to restore their lead but Potton was on hand to deny them. As the game wore on the tension increased, with neither side wanting to concede. Oaks had another couple of penalty corners but again couldn’t find a way past the Canterbury defence as the set pieces faltered. Canterbury had a couple of penalty corners themselves but they were well defended by the Oaks defensive unit. With six minutes remaining a penalty corner won by Mike Shelton was converted by man of the match Parnis to give Oaks a 3-2 lead. That should have been that, but poor game management by Sevenoaks combined with individual errors enabled Canterbury to find an equaliser with only three minutes left on the clock to make the final score 3-3.
Oaks could be left ruing their inability to close out both games against Canterbury, surrendering 3 points to their opponents in the final three minutes of both games. With both teams languishing at the foot of the table on four points after 10 games, the late goals could prove very costly come the end of the season. The outdoor league now breaks until early February, as the teams now go indoors to compete in the Super Sixes tournament, where Sevenoaks also play in the Premier League.