Cup defeat a low point, says Kristall


OAKWOOD A 0 CAMDEN PARK 0 (Camden won 5-3 on penalties)

Dan Kristall described Oakwood's surprise cup exit at the hands of Camden Park as the lowest point of his time at the club.

A war of attrition saw defences dominate as the teams failed to break one another down over 90 minutes of normal time or an additional 30 in extra-time.

The match featured seven yellow cards but it was Camden Park who held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out, running out 5-3 victors.

Josh Marks, Rob Hershkorn, Ben Harris, Kane Gilbery and Jake Saunders all successfully converted from the spot for Camden, with goalkeeper Steve Murad saving Oakwood's fourth attempt.

Oaks joint-manager Dan Kristall told JC Sport: "It was a very disappointing day for Oakwood - certainly the lowest point since I have been involved.

"With only 12 players including Kyle who was involved for the first time in six months, asking for 120 minutes was probably a step too far. We were missing several first team regulars but I don't like excuses.

"I must give credit to Camden. Their game-plan worked, they soaked up the pressure looking to counter on us and nick the 1-0 win and once we were in extra-time, I felt they very much settled for penalties.

"It was a huge advantage to them that they had 16 players to choose from, especially in extra-time. I don't think our 4-1 over them a fortnight ago helped, it naturally brought in some complacency, certainly in the first half but as I said Pre match, this was a different Camden team. A side that I expect to cause other sides problems (if they commit and play every week)."

Kristall is confident Oakwood will learn from the defeat. "In many ways, it summed up the first month of our season," he said.

"Our defence is the best in the league but our attacking play must improve. That includes our final ball into the box, our decision making and our finishing. We hit the post and bar yesterday as well as having two massive chances in extra-time.

"I can only think of one save in 120 minutes that our keeper had to make but that's cup football. Although it was an off-day, I felt we created enough to at least nick the game by a goal.

"If you would have given 'Blanky' and I the choice over dropped points to Camden in the league or a cup exit, we'd have taken the latter as our league campaign is the main focus this season.

"We progress and try to take the positives of exiting the cup at such an early stage, we can now focus on to the league. In some ways, it makes our season simpler and helps us prepare for each league game without any distraction of the cup.

"We move on to three league games in October so let's see where we are before the crunch game with Hendon on November 6. Don't write us off just yet!"

Jubilant Camden Park manager Max Saunders told JC Sport: "We went into the tie with a game-plan; to defend deep, soak up pressure, frustrate Oakwood and then hit them on the counter.

"In the first half we defended immensely as team allowing Oakwood the majority of possession but restricting them to very few chances. In the second half we continued our resolute defending but also started to take control of the game, creating the better of the chances.

"This continued into extra-time and by the end of the 120 minutes we really should have scored and won the game, however we ended up going to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

"A special mention also needs to go to my assistant Nick Kagan, who was integral to our win on the sidelines. Being player-manager it is sometimes difficult to do both jobs but Nick's assistance was invaluable, without it we would not have performed like we did. He even selflessly didn't bring himself on, to focus on his job on the sidelines."

Responding to Kristall's quote, Saunders went on to say: "I must add, if I may, and this is not an attempt to start a 'war of words' with Dan Kristall, but to label Sunday as the 'lowest point since he's been involved at the club' is a bit disrespectful. He mentions complacency after they beat us 4-1 a fortnight ago, we turned up with 11 men, having three players drop out the night before, and myself and my brother (Jake Saunders) also being unavailable due to a family commitment, so I think their complacency was a bit misplaced.

"We look forward to playing them again and adding to Dan's lows. To be fair to him, he did praise us (albeit with qualification)."

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