Oakham unable to halt leaders’ championship charge

Oakham boss Ryan Hunnings
Oakham boss Ryan Hunnings

Oakham United will be consigned to a bottom two finish in the United Counties League Division One if they fail to collect maximum points from their double bill of Easter action.

Ryan Hunnings’ side host Buckingham Town at Lonsdale Meadow on Saturday before making the short trip to face Melton Town on Easter Monday.

With just six league games remaining this season, second-from-bottom Oakham are currently 15 points adrift of the next team above them – Bugbrooke – in the league table.

Oakham suffered back-to-back defeats this week against two of the division’s leading lights.

They went down to a 3-1 away reversal at Lutterworth Town on Saturday before being beaten 5-0 at table-topping Pinchbeck United on Wednesday night.

Oakham fell behind after just five minutes of Saturday’s clash when Kade Lewis gave the Swifts the lead.

Top scorer Tendai Dare increased Lutterworth’s lead on the hour mark before Lewis sealed their success with eight minutes remaining.

Four first half goals then sealed Oakham’s fate in Wednesday night’s trip to Pinchbeck who now need eight points to clinch the league title.

Ollie Maltby puts the Knights ahead after 12 minutes when he powered home a header past Mark King’s valiant efforts to prevent the ball crossing the line.

Aaron Eyett then latched onto a poor defensive header to double Pinchbeck’s lead before two quick-fire goals from Josh Smith left Oakham with an uphill task.

Smith had been denied by a good stop from King, but was quickest to the follow up to rifle home an effort that took a deflection to finally defeat the Oakham custodian.

Smith added a fourth and his second shortly after while Eyett twice went close to extending the advantage, with one effort rattling the crossbar.

Oakham put together a couple of good moves in the opening period with Cameron Brookes having an effort blocked after a swift attacking involving Stewart Lambie and Scott Waumsley while an inviting cross from Dillian Chipunza just evaded a posse of incoming attackers.

The Rutlanders came more into the contest after the break as Pinchbeck eased off with their four-goal cushion.

Oakham’s best chance of reducing the deficit saw Chipunza break through on goal, but former Ketton custodian Dan Swan made an exellent save from a well-struck effort to preserve Pinchbeck’s clean sheet.

The hosts predictably had the final say when King bundled over Tom Sargeant in the box and Knights substitute Reif Clarke stepped up to slot home the resultant penalty.