Hard-fought success sees Mile Oak go top

Jamie McKenzie netted the opener in Mile Oak's win over AFC Varndeanians on Monday
Jamie McKenzie netted the opener in Mile Oak's win over AFC Varndeanians on Monday

Mile Oak Football Club went top of the Southern Combination League Division 1 table following a 2-0 home success over AFC Varndeanians on Monday.

Jamie McKenzie’s first-half strike and Damon Pollard’s effort three minutes from time helped Oak to a fourth successive league win.

Following the victory, Oak moved top-of-the-table on 12 points but East Preston in second do have a game in hand.

Mile Oak boss Ben Shoulders believes his side were far from at their best but was pleased to come away with another three points.

He said: “It wasn’t our best performance but we got the victory.

“If we can keep winning matches when we aren’t at our best then that is going to stand us in good stead.

“We seem to enjoy making life difficult for ourselves but their goalkeeper made some great saves.

“Most of the team are back now and we are beginning to settle into some sort of rhythm.

“The most important thing for me is winning matches and we’ve managed that while not being at our best.”

McKenzie fired Oak ahead with a fine strike 11 minutes before the break.

Mile Oak should have put the game to bed but an inspired display from AFC Varndeanians goalkeeper David Carruthers kept them in it.

First, he pulled off a fine stop to prevent McKenzie from getting his second on 65 minutes, before drawing out another fine stop to keep out Tshikume Phadagi’s lobbed effort.

With time running out, Mile Oak did make sure of all three points as Pollard headed home three minutes from time.

Shoulders saw his side work hard for a 1-0 away win at Seaford Town just two days earlier.

Eric Wedge-Bull got the only goal eight minutes before the interval to hand his side all three points.

Oak boss Shoulders felt it should have been a lot more convincing than the scoreline suggests.

He added: “Once again we made hard work of this victory.

“We had some really good chances but failed to get that killer second.

“We were holding on a little bit towards the end but a couple of great saves from Aaron Stenning ensured we took all three points.”

Oak were dominant early on and took a deserved lead courtesy of Wedge-Bull’s strike on 38 minutes.

Wedge-Bull then somehow headed over from a yard out five minutes later as Seaford were still in it.

The home side piled forward late on and saw a couple of decent efforts kept out by Stenning.

Mile Oak make the trip to Billingshurst on Saturday.

MILE OAK v AFC Varndeanians: A.Stenning; Hall, E.Benn, Pollard, Early; Austin-Slade, J.Benn, Khan, Wedge-Bull, Arnold; McKenzie. Subs: J.Stenning (Arnold), Phadagi (Wedge-Bull).

v Seaford Town: Stenning; Hall, Pollard, Clarke, Early; Garrod, J.Benn, Wedge-Bull, Arnold, Austin-Slade; McKenzie. Subs: Lansdale (Clarke), Khan (Garrod), Coates (Arnold).

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