Sevenoaks on wrong end in return to Premier League

England Hockey Mens Premier: Reading 3 Sevenoaks 2

Credit: Michele Jacobs

Sevenoaks returned to outdoor Premier League action on Sunday, away to Reading, and were desperately unlucky to come out on the wrong end of a 3-2 score line.

Oaks dominated the early exchanges and really should have taken the lead. Some neat interchange saw Ali Taylor released into the D but he shot wide.

Shortly after Taylor saw another shot fizz just wide of the upright. Both Duncan Parnis and Ed Matts had reverse stick efforts blocked by the Reading keeper and defenders. Parnis won a clear penalty corner but the umpire inexplicably ruled the offence was outside the D. Reading had a few moments of pressure on the counter attack but a combination of good Oaks defending and goalkeeping by Richard Potton kept them at bay. With half-time approaching a strong run down the right by Parnis ended with him cutting the ball back for Andrew Oxburgh to first time finish into the back of the net from close range to make it 1-0 and Oaks took a deserved lead into the break.

For whatever reason Oaks started the second half sluggishly, having been so bright in the first half. This allowed Reading back into the game. A couple of penalty corners were kept out by Potton but in the 46th minute Reading found an equaliser. Oaks had a defensive player out of position with an injury and Reading exploited the space, before a mis-hit shot was tapped in at the far post to make it 1-1. Oaks reacted poorly and less than a minute later Reading took the lead with a fine reverse strike into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

This sparked Oaks back into life and they started playing the same hockey as they had in the first half, cutting through Reading with crisp passing and movement. Ali Taylor had a shot across goal excellently saved by the diving keeper. Oaks equalised with just over ten minutes to play and it was a opportunist goal from Ed Matts.

The Reading defender took a 16 yard hit out to himself, before fumbling his second touch, allowing Matts to pounce on the loose ball. He drove into the top of the D and smashed the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-2. Both teams pushed for a winner and there were chances at either end. With 2 minutes to go Oaks saw Tom Moore sin-binned for a tackle when Reading were on the counter.

Reading exploited the space vacated and were able to enter the Oaks D unchallenged on the right hand side. The ball across goal was diverted past Potton into the net to make it 3-2. Oaks responded by taking Potton off to play with no goalkeeper and ten outfield players to try and force an equaliser, but they were unable to, and the game finished 3-2 to Reading.

The result sees Oaks remain bottom of the table, and they now face an absolute must-win game against 2nd bottom University of Exeter next Saturday at Hollybush Lane at 5pm. A win for Oaks would take them ahead of Exeter. All support would be greatly appreciated.