Sevenoaks Town made it through the first stage of the Velocity Trophy on Tuesday night with a shootout win over Sittingbourne after drawing the match 2-2.
The new look Velocity Trophy means the initial matches are played as a league, with each team playing each other just once. The rules are laid out as: three points for a win; zero for losing; one point for a draw – with a penalty shootout afterwards, the winner of that then gets an extra point. Simple.
Manager Mickey Collins was very pleased with the outcome and said: “We won the penalty shootout and it’s a good experience for the players in case we need that further in the season. You’ve got a goalkeeper who makes two fantastic saves and then suddenly you’ve won the game. It will give them some experience under a little bit of pressure to take penalties and then saving them”.
Sevenoaks had made several changes to the starting 11 who beat Whitstable Town 4-0 at the weekend, giving players some much needed pitch time, however the first half performance was a little lacklustre. Sittingbourne had run their socks off for the full 45 minutes and they went in at the half with a well-deserved 2-0 lead.
On the hour mark, Collins made some wholesale changes and it made an instant impact. Ainsley Everett, Kyle Da Silva and Brad Schafer all entered the pitch with a good number of games already under their belts and it wasn’t long before Sevenoaks were back in the match.
Adrian Stone, in action for the first time this season, scored Oaks’ first goal on 64 minutes after some get pressing play. Everett then made it 2-2 three minutes later with a finish like no other. He had one place to put the ball and he did that with aplomb. Sevenoaks pushed hard on the tiring Sittingbourne defence with a number of chances to seal a victory in 90 minutes, however it wasn’t to be and the match went to penalties for an extra point.
Da Silva, Everett, Connor French and Schafer all dispatched their penalties whilst Oaks goalkeeper Ben Bridle-Card made two fantastic saves to his right to give the home side an extra point. Sevenoaks sit second in their league of five, after Phoenix Sports stunned Cray Valley with a 3-2 win on the road.
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Alec Fiddes gave a polished second half performance in Oaks’ midfield, but Bridle-Card’s heroics in the shootout ultimately gave him the Sevenoaks Sports Man of the Match award on the evening.
FA Cup action
Contrary to recent reports in the local press, Sevenoaks Town are still in the FA Cup and all their attention will now go on Corinthian Casuals when the two teams meet this weekend.
The most important thing for the manager on Tuesday night was to come away with no injuries, Collins said: “Can we get people minutes; can we get through no injuries? Can we go into Thursday night’s training with a clean camp so that we know that we’re fully prepared to go and play Saturday? That was the aim and we’ve managed to do that”.
Sevenoaks’ match in Tolworth is one of 116 ties in the FA Cup First Round Qualifying where the winners are rewarded with £4,500 and a place in the next round to be held across the weekend of Saturday 17th September. Clubs from the National League North and South join the competition from the Second Qualifying round, so 44 teams will be playing their first game of this season’s Emirates FA Cup.
Winners of the First Qualifying Round will pick up a further £4,500 to add to their £2,890 winnings from the previous round. The losing team go home with £1,500.