Sevenoaks: Looking ahead to game one

Finally, a game to pay close attention to.

With the release of the fixture list, Sevenoaks at home would be our first match of the season. That was still some way off but no harm in getting an early start.

I got there in good time and sat in the main stand. There’s actually a skate park next to the Bourne Stadium, offering tempting views of the ground from the top of the ramp. Could you perch at the top and get a better view? Or would you have to perform 50-50 Axel Stalls every ten minutes to justify being there?

A few more spectators started to arrive, so I wasn’t completely alone. Mostly old blokes and the hardcore who did their best not to stare at the young wife of one of the players in the front row. She managed to marshall their two young kids while being the best-dressed supporter in the South East.

This one started with some early drama…

An urgent call was made to the crowd for anyone with officiating experience to come forward.

There was a lot of shuffling of feet but no answer came. A Sevenoaks sub was then dragooned into running the line in the first half, spending the time wondering if there was a more efficient way to lose all your friends.

We’ll never know. But we can be sure the Hollands and Blair who sub took over in the second half was equally certain he wasn’t getting a game that afternoon.  

What about the game? And what did we learn about Sevenoaks?

Well, Sevenoaks play three at the back, which was popular last season. They had a solid wingback in Danny Divine, and in Louis Collins one of the best strikers in the league. He’s been at Dover and was now stepping down to pop up wherever the ball was in the opposition box. He somehow even manages to be a threat in the air despite being about 5’7.

But I was able to get an idea of how they played, and where they likes to attack, along with how Hollands & Blair caused them problems. Either way, they looked like a good team.

Even at this early stage of the season it seems every team will at some point leave space behind their full back.

At half time I spoke to the father of Sam Bayford, one of the Sevenoaks subs. He’d just signed a contract, although neither of us really knew what that meant. It was good to chat though. Perhaps we were both people who hadn’t talked football enough for more than a year.

Bayford came on to play the right side of the back three (“He’s a midfielder really,” said his dad) and I watched him for a bit. He had three attacks come down his side, and while he wasn’t Bissaka smooth, he stopped all of them. Job done.

Best player: Louis Collins.

Sevenoaks vs Hollands and Blair
Saturday 24 July 2021

Score: Home win