Record league win is a statement of intent
Boss Ryan Hunnings believes Oakham United’s club record United Counties League victory shows a statement of intent.
The Rutlanders roared to an emphatic 9-1 home victory over ninth-placed Buckingham Town at Lonsdale Meadow on Saturday.
The victory bettered the previous club best – a 7-2 away success at Rushden & Higham at the start of last season.
And Hunnings is hoping that the crushing win is further evidence of how Oakham’s fortunes have been revived after a turbulent campaign.
He said: “We have changed the identity of the team and a win like this has been coming because the lads have been playing really well.
“We said before the S&L Corby game that it was a 10-game season. We wanted to get four wins and, after five games, we’ve already got two wins and a draw.
“I still want those next two wins because the outlook at the moment is quite positive and we want to take that into next season.
“We are trying to make sure we don’t finish bottom. We want to show the UCL that we can be competitive and this sort of win shows the lads are benefitting from everything they’re doing.
“We asked them to contain teams at the start, but we were conceding too many goals so we’re now playing on the front foot and we’re pressing higher up the pitch to win the ball in dangerous areas.”
Second-from-bottom Oakham actually fell behind in the early stages of Saturday’s clash but, unlike other occasions this season, they responded in style with a three-goal blast.
They then scored another three goals in 11 second-half minutes with Cameron Brookes leading the spree with a four-goal haul.
Hunnings commented: “We were given a lesson in football in the first half by Pinchbeck last week, but we matched them for effort after the break and played at the right level which we wanted to take into the weekend.
“The first 15 minutes on Saturday was probably the worst we have played for a long time. We were so far off the pace.
“But the goal really seemed to wake us up though. We scored three times and the first half was really competitive.
“There’s a lot more fight about us now. Everyone pulled together and there’s a real band of brothers spirit within the camp.
“We scored three times in 11 minutes after the break and then it was just a case of how many we were going to get. Their heads went down and it was a lot like watching us before Christmas.”
Oakham’s hopes of building on Saturday’s super success were dashed on Monday when their derby duel at Melton Town was postponed due to the deluge of rain that hit the area.
They now turn their attentions to a home match with sixth-placed Olney Town at Lonsdale Meadow on Saturday.
Hunnings added: “We were all a bit disappointed that the Melton game was called off, but it was probably a blessing in disguise because we had seven players away and a lot of injuries.
“We’ve got a lot of lads away on Saturday but, with the reserves’ season finished, we’ll still be able to put a competitive side out.
“Olney scored two goals in the last four minutes to beat us at their place so we’ll go into the game not fearing anyone.”