Oaks let themselves down, says Stein

Dan Polak, Josh Bloom and Oli Nathan were the goal men as Division Three champions Raiders C came away with a point against Oakwood.



Jason Stein laid into his Oakwood B players following a six-goal thriller against Division Three champions Raiders C.

The Oaks were poor in the first half, with "a handful of players arriving too late" for Stein's liking and they suffered for it and found themselves 2-0 down after 15 minutes, with Dan Polak and Josh Bloom registering for NLR

Oakwood grew into the game and managed to survive until half time just the two down.

The second half was a different story as switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, with Adam Blin going to left-back and Matthew Geey coming on at left wing. The changes worked and a Jacob Richler Kleiman penalty, after a foul on Jez Irving, got them back in the game, before Geey and Kleiman, again for his third of the season, put the visitors 3-2 up.

Geey and Dan Ash were instrumental in dragging the Oaks back into the game and Dave Eden was a calming presence in the middle of the park.

Raiders were rightfully awarded a penalty for a handball by Blin, but Oren Hury saved the tame effort. Just as it looked like Oakwood were going to hold out, Raiders made the most of a corner kick and Oli Nathan bundled the ball home with just a few minutes remaining.

Stein told JC Sport: "Despite the terrific comeback, I'm devastated at the nature of the first half performance. To find ourselves 2-0 down after 15 minutes shows just how bad our preparation was.

"Thankfully we were able to turn things around, but we left ourselves a lot to do and that can't happen again.

"But if I'd been offered the draw at HT I'd have been pleased to take it, but once you find yourselves ahead, of course we expect to win.

"Raiders are a good side and I'm sure they'll be near the top of the table come the end of the year - just as we expect to be.

"We were hit with a late selection problem this week when the A's required one of our best players - Ben Polak - to compensate for injuries. We badly missed his calm head and composure in the first half.

"And while I wouldn't want to compare myself to the esteemed Walter Mondale, I imagine this is how he felt in 1977 when he became the first Vice President to keep a permanent office in the West Wing. Just as that was a new dawn in greater relationships between the Office of POTUS and VPOTUS, I feel like this is a new beginning between the As and Bs. The theme of this week is Better Together and that's how we feel at Oakwood. One club, one purpose, one union.

"Of course, I can only hope that my own fledgling management career ends differently to Mr Mondale's: that I won't be turfed out of office with only half the job completed and being reduced to coaching the Tokushima Vortis under-18 B's on the outskirts of Tokyo as it is rumoured Mr Mondale did during his stint as the Japanese Ambassador on what was his one last trip to the reservoir of relevance.

"And you see, this is all what happens when the A's need to take players from the B's, but hey-ho."

NLR assistant-manager David Domb, who was standing in for boss Zack Gothelf, told JC Sport: "There were plenty of positives from today as we began life in a new division against a good Oakwood side.

"I was disappointed we let our lead slip, but we showed tremendous character to grab a late equaliser.

"We knew it was going to be a real test, and life was made even more difficult following the withdrawal of our goalkeeper ahead of the game. Jonny Blain proved to be more than able cover, and the boys didn't let that distract them. They were superb today."

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