Sevenoaks Town opened their home league account on Tuesday night with a well deserved 1-1 draw against title favourites Whitehawk.
Tyrell Richardson-Brown came off the bench to score his first goal of the season, scooping the Sevenoaks Sports Man of the Match award, as Oaks claimed a point, which puts them in great company in the top half of the BetVictor Isthmian League South East Division.
Sevenoaks started the match well, passing and moving the ball with relative ease, but Whitehawk, who have endured two seasons of back-to-back relegations, gradually gained a foothold in the game and pressed hard for the first goal. However it wasn’t until injury time in the first half that the visitors took the lead. David Martin pushed down the left wing and hit a low cross which was met by Brazilian Lucas Rodriques at the near post.
Manager Micky Collins commented after the game: “We were a bit naive in the first half and we allowed them to dictate the game, but we had a moan at half-time and just told them to be a bit braver. We had the quality there to do it and the second half was a totally different game”.
Much like Saturday’s performance away at Three Bridges, Sevenoaks came out in the second half with a new determined purpose. It would have been all to easy for the home side to believe the match was already over and they showed bravery and maturity to get the all important equaliser. In fact, they could have gone on to win this match.
Collins made two notable changes before the hour mark, bringing on strikers Frankie Sawyer and Richardson-Brown for Ainsley Everett and Brad Schafer respectively. Sawyer immediately changed the dynamic of the game, chasing every ball and making some well-judged tackles.
Richardson-Brown scored Sevenoaks’ goal in the 70th minute after some great work from his teammates. Tommy Whitnell released Kyle De Silva down the left and he put in a great cross which Richardson-Brown tapped in from inside the six-yard box.
Collins said: “We changed it. Brad [Schafer] was struggling a little bit with a dead leg in midfield, so we dropped Whitnell back to give us some more legs. Tyrell [Richardson-Brown] then came on and he’s done what we’ve asked. That’s why we signed him, because of the pace he’s got, it’s incredible!”.
Richardson-Brown then crossed for Sawyer at the near post in the dying minutes, but Sawyer was unable to control the ball and it subsequently looped off his head and over the visitors’ crossbar. Final score: 1-1.
Collins added: “Everyone put a shift in for the club tonight, for me and for themselves and it just shows the calibre of how far we’ve come. We’re in our second game in our second season in our league and we’ve taken the so-called favourites – which they are and they’re a massive club – and we’ve had a great game with them at our place”.
Four points from two matches is a great start to the season for Collins and his Sevenoaks side, and with five more players to return shortly they will only bolster this team whilst giving the manager a selection headache for sure.
Collins was beaming when he said: “Brilliant! I would’ve taken that! If somebody said to me there’s your first two games and you’re going to take four points from it, thanks very much!”.
Sevenoaks travel to Burgess Hill on Saturday as they start their FA Cup campaign. Kick-off is at 3.00pm.