After the jubilation of picking up their first Premier League points the week before, Sevenoaks put in their worst performance of the season to lose 3-2 away to Kent rivals Canterbury.
Sevenoaks went into the game 3 points ahead of Canterbury, with Canterbury yet to register a point, and with -24 goal difference. Whether complacency set in or not, Oaks found themselves 1-0 down within 6 minutes when the umpires failed to award a foul midway into the Oaks half and Canterbury attacked with men over and made use of the overload to deflect the ball past Richard Potton. Oaks were sluggish and couldn’t find any rhythm but they were agonisingly close to an equaliser when an Andrew Ross ball into the D was deflected just wide of the post by Tim Warrington. Canterbury earned themselves three penalty corners, the first two of which were well saved by Potton, but the third crept past him to make it 2-0 to Canterbury after 23 minutes. Oaks pressed forwards and earned two penalty corners of their own that were both met by good saves from the Canterbury keeper, and Warrington saw another deflection blocked by the keeper. The sides went into the break with the score 2-0 to Canterbury.
Oaks made a decent start to the second half, and when Chris Barker carries the ball over the halfway line, there was a messy turnover that saw a Canterbury player lash out after the ball was gone and strike Barker on the knee with his stick. A red card was brandished and Canterbury would play the rest of the game with 10 men, giving Oaks around 30 minutes to take advantage of having an extra man. Naturally Oaks were in possession the majority of the rest of the game with Canterbury sitting deep and relying on aerial balls to relieve pressure. Despite numerous penalty corners, it took until the last ten minutes for Oaks to get on the scoresheet and it came from Ali Taylor when he pounced on a rebound from a Brandon Gibbs penalty corner to make it 2-1. Canterbury were reduced to 9 men with a yellow card sin bin a few minutes later, and almost immediately Oaks drew level when Rob Schilling fed Warrington on the base line and he pulled the ball back for man of the match Tom Samuel to slap into the bottom corner to make it 2-2. It looked like there would only be one winner, with Oaks having a 2 man advantage and 5 minutes to play. Unbelievably a sloppy turnover on the halfway line left Oaks defending a three on two and Canterbury ruthlessly punished them, finding the bottom corner to make it 3-2. Oaks won a penalty corner in the dying minutes but couldn’t convert it to claim a point and left Canterbury feeling desperately disappointed to have thrown the game away.
Next week they face high flying Beeston at Hollybush Lane at 2pm on Sunday, and will want to see a much improved performance in what will be a much sterner test.