Oakham United boss Wayne Oldaker has been saying in recent weeks that, despite his side’s lowly league position, he was confident that when everything fell into place someone was going to be “on the end of a good hiding”.
His words proved to very prophetic on Saturday, when Oakham turned in their strongest performance of the season, with visitors Coates Athletic on the receiving end of that good hiding.
But Oldaker, delighted as he was by the scoreline and his side’s greatly improved form, was quick to say: “It was a great result but we mustn’t get carried away. It is just one game and we can’t take anything for granted, there is still a long, long season ahead of us.”
He added: “I was pleased to see the way the squad responded after the previous week’s dire performance. The energy levels and work rate were very evident this week and the result will go a long way to repairing some of the damage and instill a bit of personal pride in the players.”
Oakham could not have wished for a more perfect start to Saturday’s game.
A superb flowing move was adeptly finished off by Michael Nelson, set up by Harry Calver, to put Oakham ahead after just 25 seconds, with the visitors yet to touch the ball.
But there was no immediate evidence of the goal avalanche that was to follow as Coates responded quickly, their experienced striker Paul Hibbins neatly turning his marker before finding the bottom corner with a slick finish.
The Coates defence was having a torrid time containing the pacy Nelson and an accurate chip over their straight back line, saw the Oakham striker break through, lob the keeper and tap in from close range to make it 2-1.
Nathan Arkle added a third before defender Edward McDonald made it 4-1, sprinting virtually the entire length of the field to get onto the end of a through ball from Ben Eason to find the target having started the break himself with a defensive clearance from a Coates’ corner.
With the game now rapidly slipping away from the visitors, Oakham added a fifth just before half-time. Eason was upended in the box and Nelson made not mistake from the spot to complete his hat-trick and effectively kill off the game.
Within two minutes of the restart it became 6-1, with the alert Nelson quickest to react when the ball ran loose from a parried save to claim his fourth. Shortly after, his day’s work done, Nelson made way for Andy Buckle.
Goal number seven came as a result of a fumble by the keeper, who could not hold on to a shot by another substitute, Ashley Clipston, who cut in from the left to send a clean strike goalwards. Arkle was on hand to bury the loose ball for his second of the day.
Eason completed the scoring with a rasping 25-yard drive into the top corner.
The win lifted Oakham four places up the Chromasport Peterborough League Premier table to 12th. This Saturday Oakham entertain mid-table Stilton United.
Oldaker said: “Stilton are a good outfit. They have players with UCL experience, so we know it will be a tough game.”