United manage tricky conditions in style with solid all-round showing
Oakham United produced a professional performance after a solid all-round display secured a 4-0 home success over Leverington Sports on Saturday.
Two goals in each half helped United to the Peterborough League Premier Division victory which extended their unbeaten run to four games.
Both sides had to contend with a strong wind at Lonsdale Meadow on Saturday and joint boss Michael Nelson was full of praise for his side’s management of the game.
He said: “It was a very good performance and all the lads did very well.
"We've had the same players available regularly in recent games and we’re now seeing the benefits. They're learning how each other plays which is good to see.
"We knew the wind was going to cause problems on Saturday, but we defended well when we had to play against it in the first half and got two goals which was a bonus.
"I would have been satisfied with 0-0 at half-time, but I was happy to get the two goals.
"We knew they were going to come at us in the second half, but it gave us the chance to wait for the right time to get the ball over the top and get in behind them to score two more goals.
"The lads were brilliant and I couldn't have been happier. The work-rate everyone put in was excellent and we had three lads in the centre of the park - James North, Sean Roberts and Josh Gooding - who bossed the game despite all being only around 20-years-old.”
Leverington had the advantage of the strong wind in their favour in the opening period and missed a good early chance to open the scoring when a header was put over the bar from close range.
Oakham weathered the early pressure and took the lead as they grew into the contest when Kris Kefford's free-kick into the box was flicked goalwards by Nelson and, after his header had hit the post, North was first to react to score from close range.
Oakham’s lead was then doubled when Roberts made a superb run down the wing and fed Nelson who took a touch before beating the Leverington keeper from just outside the box for a two-goal half-time lead.
The visitors again started brightly in the second period without creating any real clear-cut chances to trouble goalkeeper Charley Griffin who produced a confident display after stepping up from the reserves to replace the unavailable Usaama Yussuf.
And, just like the first period, Oakham again took their chances when they came along as Nelson added a third with a fine finish after taking on two defenders following Gooding’s astute pass and firing home from the edge of the box.
They wrapped up the win with a fourth goal which had an element of good fortune as Cameron Brookes’ cross caught on the wind and sailed into the top corner of the Leverington net.
The visitors had an effort ruled out for offside in the second period, but were generally well contained by an Oakham defence which included 16-year-old Josh Robertson who impressed after being called up following a fine performance for the reserves last week.
Nelson added: "The reserves should be rewarded for good performances by getting their chance in the first team while, any first team player coming back from injury, should be happy to go with the reserves.
“That’s something me and Stewart Lambie really want to do. I hate to see clubs that have a divide between their teams.
“The reserves are only one league below us. There is not a massive gulf and there are teams in that division like Parson Drove and Uppingham who would give the first team a good game.”
Oakham are now without a match for the next two weekends while the reserves entertain near neighbours Uppingham on Saturday.