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Tuesday 16th August - Kick Off 7.45 ​From a photographic point of view I feared this was going to be a fruitless exercise as my back up camera really hasn't got the specification to shoot action in a low light environment, but non the less I thought I would give it a bash. I can't say as I'd ever been to Little Oakley which is near Harwich in Essex and I'd have to say I was surprised to find that a relatively small village had a Level 5 team where as their 'bigger' neighbours are struggling in Level 6. I arrived at the Memorial Ground a little after 7.00 and took a walk around the pitch to take a few photo's of the ground and to set the scene. I eventually made my way to the clubhouse and met up with the travelling Halstead supporters for a pre match chat. By the time the match kicked off I was already struggling for light and with the lens wide open and the ISO maxed out at 1600 I was only managing 60th second shutter speed which is way too slow to capture the action. Although the old 40D has got me out of a jam, it really isn't up to the job. By and large the first half was a pretty even contest, but after about 40 minutes things became heated with Oakley's No 10 threw his toys out of the pram, I'm not sure if he was booked, but imo, he should have been. Then right on the stroke of half time, Oakley took the lead with a well struck shot after the Halstead defence failed to clear. It should have been a Row Z clearance, but they got caught in possession and paid the price. So they went in 1-0 down. By this point, I'd given up taking photo's and joined the Halstead fans for the second half. It was very much the same Halstead performance that we saw at Leverstock, they weren't really in it and they fell further behind midway through the second half. Oakley kept pressing forward in search of a third when it all kicked off in the far right hand corner. There were arms flying and a lot of pushing and shoving, an Oakley player saw red and off he trooped. This seemed to spur Halstead into life and a couple of minutes later they pulled one back with a powerful shot from just inside the box. Halstead went up another gear and had several chances to steal a point, but Oakley scored on the break and put the result beyond doubt. Over all Oakley deserved the win, but if Halstead had played the first 75 minutes with the same intent as they played the last 15 they might have got something out of the game. From what I've seen of the Essex Senior League, it is a far more competitive and harder than the Thurlow Nunn South and although Halstead have some skilful players, picking up points away from home is a much tougher task. Home form is going to be vital if they're to make an impression at this higher level. ​Essex Senior League - Premier Division Memorial Ground, Little Oakley Little Oakley 3-1 Halstead Town Admission - £7 (£4 concessions) Programme - Cheeseburger & Tea - Att 125 (estimate)

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