Preview: U15's vs West Wickham Tigers

Preview: U15's vs West Wickham Tigers

By Mike Way
19 September
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Preview of Oaks U15's first away game of the season

We caught up with the two managers to ask for their thoughts before the match.

David Dale, West Wickham Tigers manager...

You were in Tan League 'B' last season, winning the division. How do you feel the season went?
The season before last we came runners up in C division so we went into League B slightly nervous with regard to the stronger opposition but the boys adjusted brilliantly and put in some excellent performances, some games were very tight with only 1 goal separating both teams but through hard work and determination the boys deservedly won the league!

And your cup campaign?
Our Cup campaign ended at the Shield quarter final stage against Santly United Kings (who I think went on to win the Shield final) on Clapham Common in some of the worst weather I’ve endured in my 8 seasons running the team!

You've come up a league this year, have you strengthened squad?
We have had a couple of boys leave the squad and a couple of new boys join up - I would like to say that we have strengthened the team but only time will tell.

How did your pre-season go?
After last seasons mighty efforts I gave the boys a deserved extra long Summer break so really they have only had a few training sessions to try and get their fitness up to scratch - unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances our two pre-season friendly games were cancelled at short notice so the boys are being thrown in at the deep end!

What are your aspirations for this season?
As always I want the boys to enjoy their football and hopefully be competitive against some very good teams in the division.

Last time out you lost 4-3 to Bromley Rooks. How was the game from your point of view?
It was a competitive match against a very well organised Bromley team. Bromley deservedly won the match with some excellently worked goals - I was just pleased that our boys put up a good fight.

Who are your players to watch?
Our Captain fantastic Jamie Dale (centre back) is a hugely talented player with determination to match his ability and, hopefully, our No.1 striker will be available to play and is certainly one to watch but I’m going to keep his name secret so that you can’t tell which one to mark as the game kicks off!!!

Mark Archard, Oakwood U15 manager...

It is the first away game and a new team to face, does match preparation or approach change for a new team/away game?
We look to carry on the good work from preseason & whatever shape we play at the start of the game or during it,the methodology will always be for fast attacking play, getting forward with numbers but, on the flip side, this squad can quite easily play a deep line & break out on the counter with great effectiveness.

Last week saw a 10-1 win against 10 man Lambeth Spartans. What were your take-aways from the performance?
It was by no means as easy a game as it would seem last Sunday. Lambeth had plenty of pressure, especially first half, but I don’t think we played anyway near our full potential; sometimes a bit slow moving the ball and, against 10 men, we didn’t make the extra man count as often as it should of done. But full credit to Lambeth, they never stopped till the final whistle and were even chanting the famous south London ‘10 second win the ball back’ chant.

What are you looking to build on from last week?
I would like us to be more fluent and composed on the ball and, most importantly, keep making the runs and creating the chances. Decision making is key; deciding when to pass, when to drive forward, when to sit deep.

There were a couple of players take knocks during the game but Oaks managed to rotate te players and system with little disruption. What were most pleasing aspects?
To be able to adapt to different systems during the game with no drop in intensity shows the quality throughout the squad. James Archard went off early and hat-trick man Liam Jones at half-time but you would not have noticed by the second half performance. This year we have a fantastic squad and are really looking to build towards the aim of every one of them making it in to the senior side. Having 15 boys who can all start games and influence them in different areas and all have different strengths is a huge bonus for the team. I think we have the quality and strength to beat anyone this season and relish the challenge!
Sometimes you have to learn to adapt as it’s very unlikely your going to go the whole season without injuries or absentees.

Any word on the injuries?
As mentioned, we had a few boys pick up knocks last Sunday and we will have to keep a close eye on that and give them every opportunity to recover before Sunday!

Final thoughts?
West Wickham will be no push-overs they just lost out narrowly to Bromley last week so we expect a tough test and look forward to the challenge.

Look forward to seeing you all Sunday.

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