Unbeaten run ended as United fail to score for first time this season
Oakham United joint manager Stewart Lambie admitted a 4-0 final day defeat was a wake-up call to his Peterborough League charges.
The Rutland side ended their Premier Division campaign on Saturday with a disappointing display as visiting Whittlesey clinched the three points to secure fifth spot which will be enough to secure promotion back to the United Counties League if they can get floodlights installed at their Feldale Field ground.
Promotion is Oakham’s top target for next season after a solid maiden campaign under the guidance of Lambie and co-boss Michael Nelson.
And the Oakham management team felt Saturday’s defeat at Lonsdale Meadow highlighted the areas they need to work on to be in that promotion position next season.
Lambie said: “We had said before the game that we wanted to stop Whittlesey from going up, but we were so far off it.
"They had something to play for and wanted it more than us. We didn't really give them a game which was disappointing.
"It was a wake-up call. It shows what we need to do when we come up against these sort of sides next season because there will be several teams going for promotion with us next year.”
Oakham had gone into the clash on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run which had stretched back to the end of January.
They had also scored in every Premier Division game ahead of Saturday’s clash, but struggled to make much impression against a well organised and strong Whittlesey side.
The visitors coped better with the blustery conditions at Lonsdale Meadow with targetman Matt Heron causing numerous problems for the home side.
Whittlesey had the wind at their backs in the opening period and soon took advantage of some indecisive Oakham defending to break the deadlock.
Heron then headed home a corner from close range to double Whittlesey’s lead before the break and they continued to control proceedings in the second half.
They added two further goals after the interval as Oakham, despite creating a couple of chances from corners, found clear-cut opportunities at a premium.
A bad day for the home side then got worse when full-back Craig Welbourn found out he had broken his ankle after being forced off injured in the first period.
Lambie, who has agreed to stay on as manager with Nelson next season, added: “We didn't put up much of a fight which was a bit of a shame because we had been on a good run since January.
"Overall we've got to be happy with the season though. We’ve brought stability to the club, but it's just a shame we didn't get a consistent squad until the last seven or eight games.
“We've agreed to stay on for next season and we've already started planning for it.”
Oakham: Griffen, Welbourn, Kefford, Delucis, Richmond, Gooding, Roberts, North, Mitchell, Brookes, Nelson. Subs all used: Arkle, Munton, Robertson.