A patient Olney Town had to wait until late to secure all three points against Oakham United on Saturday.
Despite having the upper hand for the most part at East Street, it wasn't until the 84th minute that they took the lead courtesy of top-scorer Drew Mitten. Jordan Appleton wrapped it up in stoppage time to see the Nurserymen remain eighth in UCL Division 1.
Oakham made the brighter start taking the game to their hosts, writes sportsshots.org, and Jamie Black almost made a dream start when he was fed in behind the Olney back line and took his shot on first time firing into the side netting. A long ball down their left then saw Scott Waumsley on the corner of the box with a chance at goal, with the surface so slippery all he could do was hit it first time as any attempt to adjust positioning would have probably seen him lose his footing, but Olney keeper Jack Taylor was behind the shot all the way.
Olney had their first chance when Kelvin Igweani received the ball with his back to goal outside the box, he muscled away from his marker and went for goal with the outside of his boot but his shot screwed wide of Mark King in the Oakham goal. A great cross from Gary Thurston then looked as if it was heading top corner but King shuffled across to gather with both hands, before a cross from Will Wright saw King caught ball watching and Igweani got in first but could only loop a header over the crossbar.
Olney were inches away from taking the lead when Mitten got to the byline and pulled the ball back across the area, with the keeper beaten Igweani was in the middle unmarked but the ball fizzed inches behind him and the chance was gone. Just past the half hour mark Wright tried his luck from twenty-five yards, brushing the net as it whistled past Kings right hand post.
Mitten saw a fierce shot from the eighteen yard line saved by King but he couldn’t hold on to the ball pushing it back into the six yard box, Igweani was with a United defender and the pair fought with each other as well as with the mud to get a grip, the defender won to smash the ball to safety. Moments later the same scenario emerged, a Mitten shot saved but this time his striker partner lifted the loose ball into the roof of the net, but this time a raised flag denied the opening goal.
Just before the half-time whistle Olney again spurned a great chance, a free kick into the United box was headed clear but running in Kevin Owusu smashed at goal from twenty yards out, King again made a good save and the loose ball fell to Igweani, he rounded the stricken keeper but lost his balance but still managed to send the ball towards the unguarded goal, but covering defender Martin Bennet slid in to clear.
Six minutes after the restart Mitten fed in Igweani again with his back to goal and heavily under pressure, despite manoeuvring some space to shoot it was little more than a regulatory save for King. Oakham then almost had a golden opportunity all but for some great defending from Olney, a ball knocked over the shoulders of the Town back line by Craig Welbourn was taken under control in mid-air by Black, he stunned the ball brilliantly but on his toes Thurston hooked the ball away before the United frontman could shoot.
Black had another chance on sixty-four minutes when he got inside the area down the left, Taylor came out to block with his feet and cleared the danger, before both sides had a goal ruled out to keep the deadlock unbroken. First an Olney cross was converted however a foul on the keeper in the build-up denied, and moments later Black was denied when he fired home but a raised flag cut any celebrations short.
Olney kept pressing and continually found masses of bodies in front of them, although a clever ball released winger Sam O’Neill down the middle, he squared to Appleton who was denied by King who bravely dived at the substitute’s feet to block. Rob MacDonald then crossed from the left and in the middle Lewis Smith climbed highest but could only head over.
As the game seemed destined to drift out goalless, with six minutes remaining on the clock Drew Mitten finally gave his side the lead, a cross from the left saw him ghost ahead of a defender and he simply helped the ball into the back of the net giving King no chance.
Then in added time Oakham won a corner, King joined his team mates in the Olney box hoping to help in grabbing an equaliser, however the ball was cleared long and Appleton gave chase. Two defenders seemed to have the ball covered however as it landed it sat in the mud, leaving Appleton to stroke home from just outside the area.