Mile Oak win again as the Whitty effect kicks in
Mile Oak made it three wins from three under the management of Anthony Whittington.
Including his game as temporary manager on October 6, a famous cup win v Eastbourne Town, Whitty has won a trio of games, the latest in the SCFL division one against Arundel.
There were two changes to the starting 11 v Oakwood as Matt Thompson and Eric Wedge-Bull came in.
Both sides' pre match talks were disturbed by the news one of the officials had to withdraw from the game due to injury, and a spectator enjoying his afternoon in the Arundel clubhouse agreed to step in as a linesman. Mile Oak thanked him for stepping in.
Oak grabbed control of the game from the offset, Zach Haulkham and Wedge-Bull dominating the midfield battle, Enzo Benn marshalling the back line and Harry Furnell causing havoc up top.
On 20 minutes Furnell scored. Thompson had got in a number of times down the left-hand side, and this time he crossed for Furnell to sidefoot past the Arundel keeper. Fifteen minutes later he had his second - this time the lively Jack Stenning on the right showed some crafty wing play to beat his man and cross wonderfully for Furnell, and he leaped to send the ball back the way it came and over the keeper for 2-0.
Arundel didn't cause any threat to Oak, and the Arundel No10 picked up a yellow for a late tackle on Karl Gillingham, before Furnell received an elbow in the face just before half-time. Both players needed to be replaced at the break and Furnell went off to A&E.
With Oak impacted at both ends of the pitch, Arundel came out the stronger and had a couple of efforts go just wide, forcing a good save from Aaron Stenning down to his right.
From 65 minutes onwards Oak regained control, Haulkham carrying the ball for his team and driving Oak up the pitch. Zak Kladis, substitute Jack Marriott and Stenning all had efforts on goal, and had they carried the ball closer to the goal, could have extended Oak's lead. Then Oak switched to a back five and this switch soon paid off.
Lee Early found space on the right to cross to Phil Ingold to head into the far corner on 85 minutes.
Arundel did manage to grab a consolation during injury time in strange circumstances. Wedge-Bull cramped up and was a passenger and Haulkham appeared to be in a lengthy discussion with the referee and an Arundel player following a late tackle on the Oak captain. The game went on and with Oak's midfield open, Arundel went through to score. It finished 3-1 and MoM was captain Haulkham.
These were three much-needed points for the Oak, but there is plenty more work to do and improvements to make to move up the table.
Mile Oak: A Stenning, Jeffrey, Gillingham (Ingold '45), Benn, Cooper, Haulkham (c), Wedge-Bull, Kladis, J Stenning, Furnell (Marriott '45), Thompson (Early '70).