If there was any doubt who were the best team in Rutland there isn’t any more. Oakham United comprehensively beat their neighbours Uppingham 6-0 at Todds’ Piece on Saturday.
Adam Rothery scored a hat-trick to keep Oakham at the top of the PDFL Premier Division with teammates Richard Nelson, Billy Oliver and Ben Eason also getting in on the act.
Uppingham, struggling for numbers and consistency, were out-played across the park as Oakham were at their sparkling best at times. United manager Wayne Oldaker has set his side up to play a stylish swashbuckling brand of football and their derby opponents simply couldn’t get near them for much of the match thanks to exquisite one touch passing and equally good movement and vision.
Oakham attacked from the off having great success down the wings. However for all their good attacking play United keeper Simon Dalton had to alert at the other end to prevent Jamie Binley from scoring.
But Oakham responded by opening the scoring in the 13th minute when Nelson was in the right spot to smash home a flicked on corner from Ben Easson.
How Oakham didn’t score moments later is anyone’s guess. Easson, Robbie Dance and Nelson all had shots in a frantic goalmouth scramble but Uppingham threw bodies in the way to block the efforts.
At this point the result was by no means a foregone conclusion and Uppingham threatened the Oakham goal with Jack Salt directing a header at Dalton from a free-kick before Binley blasted a powerful drive just wide of the on-rushing keeper and the post.
Just before the break Oakham scored a killer goal, Easson caused the damage with a blistering burst down the wing before putting the ball on a plate for Oliver to finish.
Uppingham came out for the second half looking up for a fight back but four minutes in Rothery completed a nice passing move to effectively put the game beyond reach.
With Town’s spirit broken Oakham went for the kill and Rothery struck twice again in the 59th and 86th minute with Easson getting into the action in the 69th minute.
Despite the heavy loss Uppingham owe a debt of gratitude to their keeper Tom Hubbard who made a string of outstanding saves to keep the score in single figures as Oakham had 12 efforts on target and another dozen off the mark.
Stilton are eight points behind Oakham, but have two games in hand. Craig Smith’s goal was enough for them to pip lowly Crowland on Saturday.
They can still win the title if they win all their remaining games but that includes playing second place Coates and Oakham on the final day.
However before then Uppingham get to have one last shot at beating Oakham this season and derailing their title push when they take on the Tractor Boys at Barleythorpe Road on April 8, kick-off 7.45pm.
Uppingham: Tom Hubbard, Johnny Forster, Jamie Howe, Jamie Dumford, Jack Salt, Martin Bennett, Rob Forster, Danny Dumford (Matthew Hill) Jamie Binley, Waller, Callum Campbell.
Subs unused: Jack McCall, Michael Beaver, Jacob Norton.
Oakham: Simon Dalton, Stewart Lambie, Ollie McCann, Billy Oliver (Dan Jenkins), Marcus Baines, Matt Holland, Ben Easson, Adam Rothery, Richard Nelson, Robbie Dance (Sven Hart).
Subs unused: Tom Caldicott, Wayne Oldaker.