Oaks suffer another defeat, this time at high flying Hampstead

England Hockey Mens Premier League: Hampstead and Westminster 8 Sevenoaks 1

Sevenoaks suffered a heavy defeat to Premier League high-flyers Hampstead and Westminster on Sunday afternoon. With fellow relegation threatened University of Exeter earning a surprise point against Beeston, it was another blow to Oaks’s survival hopes.

The opening 5 minutes were fairly even, but an errant pass out of defence put Oaks under severe pressure and a last ditch tackle was punished with a penalty stroke to Hampstead, which was converted for 1-0. Oaks responded very well and a well worked move involving 5 players ended with David Smith one on one with the keeper, only to see his shot hit the inside of the post and flash across the face of goal to safety. With ten minutes remaining in the half a hopeful ball into the Oaks D was fortuitously deflected beyond Richard Potton in the Oaks goal to make it 2-0. Two minutes later Hampstead made it 3-0 with a turn and shot by the forward into the bottom corner, and that was how it remained until half-time.

Once again, the opening exchanges of the half were relatively even and after 6 minutes Oaks pulled a goal back after some nice play along the baseline by Duncan Parnis ended with the ball falling to Tim Warrington for a tap-in to make it 3-1. Unfortunately for Oaks, Hampstead hit back immediately with the scrappiest of goals, as a nothing ball across goal was missed by both defender and goalkeeper leaving the attacker an open goal to make it 4-1 with 25 minutes remaining. Unfortunately the closing stages of the game consisted of Oaks playing well when 11 v 11, but two 5 minute sin-bins for poor tackles at critical times cost Oaks dear, as they conceded 4 goals when a man down to make the score 8-1. When competing with even numbers Oaks created great opportunities for Ali Taylor twice and Ed Matts once, but free shots on goal were squandered. It was a harsh lesson in being clinical and being disciplined for Oaks as they went down to their heaviest defeat of the season.

Next week they face Wimbledon at Hollybush Lane. The next three weeks see Oaks face teams outside of the top four and if they have any hope of staying in the Premier League they have to get something from these games.