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United suffer third successive league loss

Oakham were punished for a slow start as they suffered a third successive Peterborough League Premier Division defeat after a 3-2 reversal at Long Sutton on Saturday.

The Rutland side found themselves two goals down after 35 minutes of the contest with the Magpies then adding a third early in the second period.

Co-boss Stewart Lambie was again forced to make five changes from last week's side which lost at Whittlesey and he feels that is impacting on their hopes of a top five finish.

James North (right) scored Oakham's second goal. (5916740)
James North (right) scored Oakham's second goal. (5916740)

He said: "We have got a big squad, but we haven't got a consistent availability.

"We are having to make so many changes each week and we're starting games very slowly.

"We always seem to play better in the second half of games when players are getting used to each other."

Oakham even suffered selection problems on the day of the game this week as Dan Jenkins pulled out ill in the morning while David Bates' tyre blew up on his car on the A47 when en-route to the match.

That, added to absences of Robbie Pearce, Laurence Frater and Joe Delucius, saw Sutton storm into a two-goal first half lead.

A third goal after the break looked to have sealed Oakham's fate before strikes from Michael Nelson and James North gave them a glimmer of hope.

Lambie added: "We were bad in the first half, but we had no rhythm with having to make so many changes.

"We changed our shape at half-time and just went for it and that helped us pull two goals back."

Oakham are back in action at Lonsdale Meadow this weekend when they entertain Holbeach United Reserves.

Having been away for seven of their last eight league games, 11 of Oakham's remaining 14 matches are at home.

Lambie added: "It will be a tough game on Saturday and, even though we're at home for the next few weeks, they're all difficult games against Holbeach, Thorney and Peterborough Sports.

"We need to get back to winning games like we did at the start of the season when we had all the players available.

"The top five is still the target. It might be unrealistic now and is probably out of our reach, but we're not going to stop trying until it's mathematically impossible."

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