Saturday’s loss saw Oakham United Reserves suffer back-to-back defeats against league leaders Spalding United Reserves, this time 4-0, but they remain firmly in the mix for a playoff place.
Oakham started the game brightly, but so did Spalding and Oakham’s defence stood off one of the Spalding forwards and he was allowed time to curl an effort into the far corner.
Oakham responded well and could have equalised when Liam Mullineaux picked out Jamie Maxwell with a sublime 40 yard pass, but Maxwell took one too many touches and the keeper was able to collect the ball.
Spalding scored a second from a good passing move, which crept in even though keeper Andy Collin got a hand to the shot.
Oakham’s defence gathered themselves and absorbed a lot of pressure, while going forward they tried to use the pace of Courtney Ravenscroft against the Spalding defence, as they couldn’t cope with him. The pressure was to no avail, as the half ended 2-0.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first and Oakham began to press more, with the majority of the play going through Mullineaux and this best effort was a 25 yard strike that went straight at the keeper.
Spalding began to get a hold on the game, creating several good chances which Collin was equal to and he produced a string of good saves to keep the score at 2-0. Spalding thought they had scored a third when the striker was through on goal, but Collin saved and Aaron Simpson swept up brilliantly to keep the ball out.
The midfield battle was tough and James North was battling hard, but as he was being progressively overrun, Spalding got their third and then their fourth not long afterwards.
The third was the result of a long ball through the defence and a cool finish, with the fourth after Collin made a great one-on-one save, only for the ball to rebound to a striker, who duly smashed the ball home.
Oakham finished strongly, as they pressed for a goal and almost got a consolation through Mullineaux’s work again, this time picking out sub Sam Watchorn with another 40 yard pass, which was well controlled before he smashed a shot across goal only for it to narrowly go wide.
An Oakham spokesman said: “We were under a lot of pressure in this game and we were dominated, but we tried to fight back and Andy [Collin] had a magnificent game in goal and Liam [Mullineaux] was our driving force, going forward.
“Courtney’s [Ravenscroft] pace caused lots of problems for their defence, but we couldn’t capitalise on it.”
Oakham United Reserves: Andy Collin; Jamie Palmer, Martin Owers, Will Lee, Aaron Simpson (c), Ben Richards; Ewan Crawford, James North, Jamie Maxwell, Liam Mullineaux; Courtney Ravenscroft