Oakham United Reserves may have only been able to draw 2-2 with top-of-the-table Glinton and Northoborough on Saturday but the point puts them in prime position to take the PDFL Division Two title because of their games in hand.
Oakham knew they couldn’t start as meekly as they had the last time they faced Glinton, in their only defeat of the season.
They were quick out of the blocks and looked to take the game to their opponents, with Seb Archer-Fern leading the Oakham attack and he set-up Sam Linford early on, but his effort was blocked.
Both teams created chances in the opening 10 minutes, but it was Oakham who broke the deadlock after 12 minutes, through Robbie Pearce. Oakham broke and Cam Brookes lobbed a ball over the Glinton defence from inside his own half and Pearce got on the end of it and lobbed the ball over the on rushing Tom Neaverson, for his first goal of the season.
Both teams continued to create chances and Glinton looked to use their set-pieces to force an equaliser.
However, they scored their equaliser in the 21st minute with a identical goal to Oakham’s, with Callum Tyndall lobbing keeper Andy Collin.
Oakham pushed to regain the lead, but were continually thwarted by the Glinton defence and despite several goalmouth scrambles, they couldn’t force the ball home. They came close on the half hour, when a Linford corner was met by Brookes, but his header thundered back off the crossbar.
Oakham did have the ball in the net again, when Pearce poked home a scramble, only for it to be ruled out for offside. After that, the closest anyone came to scoring was when Glinton’s Rob Pipe burst through the Oakham defence, but he lost control of the ball at a critical moment.
Both teams made use of the roll on, roll off substitution rule and made changes around the half-time interval. One of Oakham’s, Pete Shirley, nearly created a chance early in the second half, but his cutback was intercepted before it could reach Lucas Alais.
Glinton got hold of the ball more in the second half and after 65 minutes, they took the lead. Collin fumbled a corner and substitute Anderson Uduovie was there to head home from close range.
Oakham pressed for an equaliser and Glinton pushed to extend their lead and both created plenty of chances, although many of them failed to trouble either keeper. Oakham came closest through a Nathan Arkle effort, which hit the roof of the net and he then curled a free-kick just wide.
With five minutes to go, after more goalmouth scrambles, Oakham thought they’d got their equaliser when Archer-Fern squared the ball to Alais, but he somehow skied his effort from 12 yards out.
Luckily Oakham got their equaliser with three minutes to go, after good work from Eddie McDonald led to a dink, which Pearce headed into Archer-Fern and he turned a defender before putting the ball past Neaverson.
The multiple substitutions led to a long period of stoppage time, but neither side could find a third goal.
Assistant manager Dave Grieve said: “We knew they’d be good today, but we had to make sure we didn’t let them play, as we had done at their ground. The lads looked up for it in the first half and we probably should have gone in 3-1 up at half-time.
“The guys kept their heads when we went behind in the second half and deserved the equaliser.
Every time we got the ball in their penalty area, nothing seemed to fall for us - I don’t think I’ve seen so many goalmouth scrambles in one match. We’ve got a lot of matches in a short period of time now, so the lads need to keep focused and build on this performance.”
Oakham United Reserves: Andy Collin; Stu Lambie, Will Lee (c), Ash Chamberlain; Sam Linford, Joey Watchorn, Lucas Alais, Nathan Arkle, Cam Brookes; Robbie Pearce, Seb Archer-Fern.
Subs (used): Pete Shirley, Eddie McDonald, James Dalby, Sam Watchorn.
Sub (unused): Aaron Simpson.
Glinton: Tom Neaverson, Arron Mourton, Andy Wright, Tom Hutton, Sven Richards, Jake Dilley, Tom O’Neil, Steve Clay, Paul Chappell, Calum Tyndall, Rob Pipe. Subs: Lewis Godfrey, Anderson Uduovie, James Ferron, Luke Enderwick, Kev Benbridge.