Linford proves Oakham United have more than one striker in form

Action from Cottesmore Amateurs v Oakham United. Photo: John Evely EMN-150212-101908001

Action from Cottesmore Amateurs v Oakham United. Photo: John Evely EMN-150212-101908001

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A Sam Linford four goal haul and a wonder goal from George Maxwell made it nine wins from nine in the PDFL Division Two for Oakham Reserves on Saturday as they beat Netherton United A 6-0.

Oakham got off to the perfect start, scoring a mere 15 seconds after they kicked off. The ball was knocked back to Craig Welbourn, who sent Pete Shirley free down the left flank. He beat two players before being blocked by a defender, but the loose ball was picked up by Linford who, hit a left-footed ball towards the far post and it sailed into the top corner, over the keeper’s head.

Oakham pressed for another goal, but were nearly caught out a couple of times on the break. They managed to ride their luck and began to dominate the game, as Shirley, Linford and Cam Brookes caused the Netherton defence all kinds of problems. In the 18th minute Shirley was fouled right on the edge of the penalty area. Linford stepped up and drove the ball into the left hand side of the goal to make it 2-0.

With three minutes left in the half, Oakham made it 3-0 as Shirley was played in behind the defence and forced a save from the keeper but, Linford was there to tap home for his hat-trick.

In the second half, Oakham were looking for more goals and they got their fourth in the 63rd minute. Owers went on a run towards the left flank and was fouled 20 yards out. Linford sent the free kick towards the far post and Shirley very nearly got a flick-on but, it wasn’t needed as the ball bounced and bent it’s way into the far corner.

With 16 minutes to go, it was 5-0. Linford thought he’d scored direct from a corner to turn his haul into a glut, but the Netherton linesman flagged to say that it was in fact an own goal, after the keeper skewed his punch.

With fewer than five minutes left, Oakham repeated the scoreline of the reverse fixture, when substitute George Maxwell got the ball just inside his own half before going on a run, beating four defenders to score.

Oakham United Reserves assistant manager Dave Grieve said: “The lads put in a completely different performance to last week in this game. After getting on at each other, it was good to see everyone working together this week.”

The previous weekend Oakham were beaten 4-1 away at Sutton Bonington in the Leicestershire FA Saturday Trophy. It was a rare loss for the Rutland side this season and they were intent to put things right.

Grieve had plenty of praise for his goal scorers. He said: “Sam did brilliantly to get four goals, although he still protests that the fifth was his too, and I’ve never seen George go on a run like that before - he pulled tricks out of his locker that we never knew he had.

“We’ve got a tough PFA Cup game next week against a Spalding side who we expect to be towards the top of the league come the end of the season, so this’ll be a good test for our future encounters.”

Oakham United Reserves: Andy Collin; James Dalby, Will Lee, Ash Chamberlain (David Grieve), Craig Welbourn; Sam Watchorn, James North (Charlie McKie), Martin Owers (George Maxwell), Pete Shirley; Cam Brookes (Aaron Simpson)