A wet Autumnal day in South West London saw The OO Football club take on a well set up LSE team at the Fulham FC Academy ground.
On a day that was reminiscent of a cold Monday night in Stoke the OO’s quickly saw themselves 2-0 down. Had the boys let themselves in for too much against a much fitter outfit? There were plenty of opportunities for the OO’s to improve after Jamie Thorpe was nutmegged after 30 seconds of being on the pitch or Alex Healey miss timing a 50/50 shoulder barge and just taking air with him. The OO’s settled into the game and began to control possession with some neat link up play from holding midfielders Nick Davies and Henry Bridgwood orchestrating forward balls to Julian Adeniran, Tarhan Sadhra and Ivan Vlasenko.
One such guided ball through saw Julian Adeniran given the opportunity to show off his impressive sprinting skills only to be felled by a last ditch cynical tackle from the LSE last man. The resulting free kick saw Captain Jamie Thorpe do his best Jonny Wilkinson impersonation and slot it over the bar for what would have been a great three points. if only we were playing Rugby!
As the first half wore on the OO’s strong interchanging defensive partnership of Richard Grundy, Alex Healey, Tim Bradley and Ben Lewin kept LSE at bay. Allowing for the likes of Charlie Faye, Dylan Cleverdon and Jonny Darke to bring the ball forward to give chances for Jamie Kendall, Jamie Thorpe saw a superb effort tipped onto the bar by the keeper!
In the incessant rain the OO’s entered the second half still 2-0 down but were now controlling long passages of play. It was not long until they were on the score sheet through a 30 yard screamer courtesy of Jonny Darke, the midfielder curling it into the top corner past a flailing keeper, who had no chance!
Now at 2-1 with fifteen minutes left and balls raining into the box from the long throw of Nick Davies, the OO’s created something of a goal line scramble and Jamie Kendall, using his experience to distract the keeper, allowed Richard Grundy to poke the ball through last ditch attempts from defenders into the net. 2-2!!
Entering the last ten minutes of the game it called for the OO’s to dig deep, led by a couple of great saves from Keeper Gareth Peters to keep it at 2-2. Another long ball forward from Henry Bridgwood saw Julian Adeniran fly onto the end of it only to be met by the keeper taking man and ball! Shouts for a penalty we’re shot down by the referee, who unfortunately didn’t have use of VAR!
All of a sudden with five minutes left Jamie Thorpe found himself cutting in from the edge to the box to beat two defenders to slot home the winner!! What followed was a Vardy esque celebration; sliding into the corner as if he had scored the winner at the King Power!
A superb win for the OO’s with special mentions to recent OO’s and newer members of the squad Ivan Vlasenko, Ben Lewin and Dylan Cleverdon who worked tirelessly up and down the field to keep some old timers in the game! The Man of the Match award was shared by the ever vocal rock in defence Richard Grundy and Nick Davies who was the engine room in midfield and peppered the opposition box with his long throw ins.
A nail biting game was followed by a couple of social beers. Where it was great to see OO’s from as far back as 2007 and more recently 2018 socialising together and regaling stories of not just their time at Oakham but some slightly inflated footballing prowess. Not mentioning names but one lad said he was now ready for an MLS contract with his defensive partner… I’m not sure LA Galaxy are ready for a HEALEY/Grundy partnership.
Thanks to all those who took part and if you are interested in getting involved at the Christmas social/next game, get in touch with Jamie Thorpe…
Jamie Kendall (07)