Oakham United completed the double over Uppingham Town, winning the Rutland derby 4-1 at Tods Piece on Wednesday evening.
Both sides struggled to settle during a scrappy opening spell made difficult by blustery conditions and each side dominated the half during which the strong winds backed them.
Dave Laughton put Town ahead shortly before the half hour mark but United were quickly back in the game after the break. Tom Bain levelled eight minutes into the half, Alex Brockbank put Oakham ahead just three minutes later and top scorer Nathan Arkle sealed the points with two goals in the final quarter of an hour.
Arkle came closest to opening the scoring early on, hooking the ball against the Uppingham crossbar after six minutes but chances were few and far between for much of the first half.
But Uppingham had the better possession, with Oli Webb and Dave Laughton having half-chances during a good spell of pressure, and Laughton eventually broke the deadlock, drilling the ball hard into the net when the ball Oakham failed to clear Jake Norton’s free kick from the right.
Webb had a half chance to double Uppingham’s lead but Andy Collin blocked his shot at close range and United scrambled the ball away for a corner.
There was a sense at half-time that, with the wind behind Oakham in the second half, Uppingham’s single goal could be a fragile lead and so it proved.
Within 10 seconds of the restart Brockbank had attempted to catch Tom Hubbard out with an audacious volley from 40 yards. The Uppingham keeper had that effort covered but he was caught out eight minutes later when Bain appeared to apply the slightest of touches to Robbie Pearce’s low free kick, guiding the ball low into the Uppingham net.
Among the most impressive players in tricky conditions were Uppingham’s Jake Norton and Oakham’s James Dalby. Both young players played the ball sensibly in the wind, rarely giving away possession, and Dalby played an excellent long pass behind Uppingham’s defence for Brockbank to burst through to calmly slide the ball past Hubbard for Oakham’s second.
Jamie Forbes drilled a cracking left footed drive narrowly over Uppingham’s bar as Oakham sought to extend their lead.
The third came with 16 minutes remaing when Pearce’s pinpoint cross to the far post found Arkle free to nod home. With time running out, Arkle made it four, turning the ball home after a good exchange of passes on Oakham’s right.
Oakham’s win lifts them to fourth with Uppingham in 11th. Oakham do not play this weekend while Uppingham take on bottom side Riverside at home tomorrow afternoon.
Uppingham: Tom Hubbard, Steve Wallhead, Jamie Binley, Rob Lawrie, Martin Turiccki, Martin Bennett, Callum O’Berg, Rob Forster, Dave Laughton, Oli Webb, Jake Norton. Subs: Jacob Parker, James Coughlan, Jamie Howe, Omar Elkashoty.
Oakham: Andy Collin, Craig Welbourn, James Dalby, Ben Cox, Tom Bain, Jamie Forbes, Will Lee, Robbie Dance, Nathan Arkle, Alex Brockbank, Robbie Pearce. Subs: Ben Dickinson, James Twose, Jamie Saddington.