The first ten minutes or so were a little bit scrappy as both sides set out to impose their game plan. After a lethargic start Russell Vale eventually started to put some passes together and Harrison Benn hit a good effort from distance but their keeper got it at the second attempt. The only time the home team looked dangerous was from a couple of corners, both times their centre half rose above our defence only to place his header over the bar.
Then at the other end Russell Vale made their corner count. Harrison Benn’s cross caused havoc in the Oak Flats six yard box, a mad scramble ensued and Jordan Errington was in the right place at the right time to bundle the ball over the line. Doesn’t matter how they go in they all count. On the stroke of HT Christian Baade Mortimer almost added a second after a superb run that left four defenders in his wake but their keeper did well to save at the near post. So at HT the score remained 1-0 to Russell Vale.
After the restart Russell Vale had another opportunity to make the game safe when a superb reverse ball from Jordan Errington put Blair Dunn away but again their goalie was equal to the shot. As the game wore on Oak Flats sensed they could still get something from the match and in the last 10 mins had Russell Vale penned in their own half. First Tom Curran topped a fine individual game by clearing a shot off the line, then soon after Ethan Johnson made a good save to deny Oak Flats. As the clock run down we gave away possession in our 18 yard box and Oak Flats took full advantage, even though Ethan Johnson managed to get both hands to the shot he couldn’t prevent it crossing the line to make the final score 1-1.
A draw away from home to last season’s Division II Runners Up is not a bad result but conceding an equaliser so late in the game made it feel more like a defeat. Full credit to Oak Flats they made it hard going for us and deserved their point.
So for the third consecutive game our lack of concentration in the final minutes of the game has cost us points. Last season many of the games were all over by half time, so I believe it’s just a case of developing the right mindset to play 100% until the final whistle. As for the numerous substitutions it shouldn’t matter which 11 players are on the pitch they are all capable of doing a good job. We win as a team, we lose as a team and sometimes we draw.