Sevenoaks defend well to earn their first point

MENS HOCKEY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Sevenoaks 1 Brooklands Manchester University 1

Goalkeeper Richard Potton was named Man of the Match as Sevenoaks drew at home to Reading

Sevenoaks got their first point of the season on Sunday afternoon in a hard-fought encounter with Brooklands. The Manchester side arrived at Holly Bush Lane, like Sevenoaks, on zero points after two games, making this a key game for both sides, even at this early point in the season.

Brooklands got off to a dream start when they earned a penalty corner after three minutes, finding a Sevenoaks foot in the D. From the resulting set piece they took the lead as the drag-flick found its way past Richard Potton in the Sevenoaks goal and Craig Morton standing on the post to put the visitors 1-0 up.

Oaks responded well and enjoyed some good spells of possession without really testing the Brooklands goalkeeper. Brooklands nearly doubled their lead when a long aerial pass saw the create an opportunity in the Sevenoaks D, but a combination of Potton and 17 year old debutant Ben Fox kept the ball out the Sevenoaks net.

Sevenoaks earned a penalty corner midway through the half but Andrew Ross saw his flick turned round the post by the defender on the line. Oaks did draw level though soon after when excellent pressing by eventual Man of the Match Nick Barker saw him steal the ball from the Brooklands defender and feed the ball to Duncan Parnis who coolly slotted past the advancing keeper to make it 1-1.

As half time approached Brooklands had their second penalty corner of the game and a well worked move saw Potton have to make a fine save from a deflection. On the stroke of half-time Oaks missed another penalty corner and the sides went into the break at 1-1.

The second half became slightly disjointed with both sides seeing a couple of players sent to the sin-bin.

Brooklands had another penalty corner but were unable to convert, whilst Tom Graham had the best opportunity for Sevenoaks from open play, as he eliminated three players to get into a shooting position but his effort was tame and easily kicked away by the keeper.

Sevenoaks had yet another penalty corner of their own but Ross’s effort was well saved by the diving keeper. Both sides threatened but neither could really create anything clear cut, and as the clock ticked down it looked more and more like the score would remain tied.

The last play of the game saw an aerial pass collected by Ali Taylor and as he drove towards the D he was taken out by the Brooklands defender and a penalty corner was awarded just before the final whistle was blown giving Oaks one last chance to grab all three points at the death.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as a mis-placed pass saw the routine break down and Oaks couldn’t even get a shot away on goal, so the final score remained 1-1.

There was some disappointment from Sevenoaks at the end of the game that one point was not three, but Brooklands probably shared those feelings, meaning ultimately a draw was probably the right result.

Oaks will welcome Hampstead & Westminster to Holly Bush Lane next Sunday at 2.00pm, and will meet a side in great form having won all three of their opening games thus far.