Oakham United look close to be being back to their fearsome best and on Saturday they got the better of the UCL Division One’s form side with a 2-0 victory over Long Buckby at Sterling Meadows.
The sides came into the match with contrasting league form. The visitors were on the back of an 11 game unbeaten run, whereas Oakham had not one in the league this year, however they did enjoy a truly magnificent 3-1 victory over Aylestone Park in the Leicestershire County Cup two weeks ago and drew with Northampton ON Chenecks the week before that.
Oakham’s coaching trio of Wayne Oldaker, Andy Baily and Darren Edey have got some great local football contacts, bringing in the likes of Spalding United goalkeeper Michael Duggan on a duel deal, and once again they have managed to make a peach of an acquisition, signing young Stamford AFC striker/winger Jordan Neil on loan.
Neil, who played for Uppingham Town last season and the Daniels, has had few chances to make an impact this season for struggling Stamford in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League but he immediately showed his quality in an incredibly youthful Oakham midfield, which - if they can stay together could take the Tractor Boys a long way in years so come.
Neil, 17, joined one of the stars of Oakham’s semi-final cup triumph Ewan Crawford (17), along with 18 year-olds Sven Hart and James North in a five man midfield with Adam Rothery who offered a little more experience. And they did not disappoint.
Neil started the move for the opening goal in the 22nd minute. He took the ball from a throw in before beating two men with his neat feet and searing pace and played in Kris Kefford on the overlap from full back. Kefford whipped in a teasing cross and goal machine Lewis Leckie planted a powerful header in the back of the net.
It took until three minutes from time for Oakham to make the game safe with a second strike through Andy Sayers. This time it was two more experienced men doing the damage, Rothery, who has been a constant presence in central midfield this season and a player of real quality, played in Edey who fed Sayers. The substitute dummied the goalkeeper before putting the ball in the back of the net.
The victory was all the more impressive as midfielder Stu Lambie donned the gloves for the Tractor Boys due to their injury crisis at goalkeeper. Lambie, who has been employed in defence recently, proved what a talented footballer he is by putting in a great display which included a couple of outstanding saves.
Oakham’s return to form comes at the perfect time as they have one of the hardest assignments of the year on Friday when they travel to top of the league Peterborough Sports, kick off 7.45pm.
Sports have a 13 point lead at the top of the table and have only lost twice this season, however the reassuring thing is both those defeats came just two weeks ago, losing to Stewarts & Lloyds Corby 2-1, and Long Buckby 3-0.
Oakham sit in 11th place in the division.
Oakham: Stu Lambie, Ben Easson, Richard Nelson, Matty Holland, Kris Kefford, Ewan Crawford, Adam Rothery, James North (Andy Sayers), Sven Hart (Seb Archer-Fern), Jordan Neil (Darren Edey), Lewis Leckie. Sub unused: Wayne Oldaker.
Long Buckby: Oliver Manuel. Ash Knights (Lee Constable), Dan Worton, Calum Yeates, Ben Wilson, Simon Barby, Amadeus Clements (Matt Evans), Andy Yeates, Alex Andrews, Ricky Barby, Rafael Clements.