Oakham United get the better of Blackstones in UCL debry
Patched up Oakham United struck twice in four minutes before half time to take the derby day honours against Blackstones.
The Tractor Boys won 2-0 at Sterling Meadows on Saturday to move up to third in the UCL Division One having put the ghosts of their 5-0 defeat to Bourne three weeks ago to rest.
Since then Oakham are unbeaten in four game in the league and cup, including a victory on penalties over the Wakes. Oakham manager Wayne Oldaker said: “Sometimes you need a kick to refocus and that is certainly what we got at Bourne.
“That was a horrible, horrible night of football for us.”
He said there was silence in the dressing room after that loss. But he said it couldn’t have been different come the final whistle on Saturday.
“The boys were very, very happy with the three points and s0 am I. They were buzzing afterward.
“Parts of it were pretty ugly because it was a derby but you expect that.”
However it was not all celebrations at the final whistle as Oldaker realised he was £86 out off pocket as he had promised to right off all the players’ fines if they won and buy the first round of drinks if they kept a clean sheet, just their second of the season in the league this year.
At the weekend Seb Archer-Fern netted in the 41st minute from an Eddie McDonald cross and Andy Sayers added a second with a glorious curling shot just two minutes later.
Oakham’s dogged persistence to stay in touch with the top clubs in the division they were promoted into in the summer is remarkable keeping in mind they have not won in the league at home since the starting day of the season. And on Saturday the omens did not look great early on.
Both sides delivered dangerous crosses as they felt each other out but no one could get a significant touch to the wide balls.
Simon Dalton, who was the Oakham hero on Tuesday last week in the penalty shoot-out cup win at Bourne, saving three and scoring the winner, was influential once again, saving brilliantly from Stones Scott Ginty, for whom Oldaker was full of praise.
Dan Evans saw a good chance come and go and then Ginty wildly volleyed over as the visitors piled on the pressure.
However this Oakham team, even without the likes of injured Lewis Leckie, are a dangerous side and Ben Easson showed why when he smashed a shot off the upright and out to safety.
Ginty and Evans put another pair of decent chances over and wide respectively for Blackstones.
United midfielder Adam Rothery responded with a powerful drive but Stones’ keeper Lee Crockett was a match for it.
The game was opened and stretched from the start and Blackstones will kick themselves for their errant finishing, giving Oakham an opening.
Then Archer-Fern and Sayers struck either side of a pair of chances for Addie Staffieri and Ginty to leave the visitors stunned at half time at 2-0 down.
Oldaker said: “It was a bit of a ding-dong game in the first half, and I know it’s a but of a cliche but the goals came at a good time just before the break and killed off the game.”
After the break, with the comfort of a two goal lead, Oakham managed to largely contain Blackstones, who had to make do with efforts from free kicks and half chances, none of which were capitalised on.
At the other end Archer-Fen was keeping the Stones’ defence honest with his fierce pace causing problems. Blackstones had a final push to get something from the game but Avis, substitute Jones de Souza and Strange were unable to find a way through.
After the match Oldaker was full of praise for Blackstones manager Phil Gadsby, who he played with and worked with at Deeping Rangers, and his Blackstones team.
He said: “Gads has turned them into something from nothing.
“I said I wanted to finish above Blackstones and Bourne at the end of the season and if we do that we will certainly be in the top ten and doing well.”
Oakham United: Simon Dalton, Stu Lambie, James Maxwell, Andy Sayers (Richard Nelson), Gav Cooke, Matt Holland, Ben Easson, Adam Rothery, Seb Archer-Fern, Eddie McDonald, Ash Civil (Michael Nelson)
Substitutes unused: Rik Phoenix, Tom Caldicott, James Dalby.
Blackstones: Lee Crockett, Adam Sparks, Matt Simpson (Antonio Dello Russo), Calum Parker, Jack Salt, Carl Griffiths, Sam Strange (Liam Buttery), Scott Ginty, Jordan Avis, Dan Evans (James De Souza), Adi Staffieri.
Substitutes unused: Nicky Butler.