GAS RECREATION 4
LITTLE OAKLEY 2
Essex and Suffolk Border League premier division
OAKLEY'S lead at the top of the table was trimmed to two points after being outplayed in the second half of Saturday's crunch match at Gas.
Sean Mathurin had put them in front five minutes after the break but the hosts fought back to claim an important victory.
In a goalless first half, Oakley started brightly with an early free-kick by Jake Kioussis testing home keeper Willoughby.
Lewis Wood then got his head on another free-kick but his effort deflected wide.
A nice flick by Gas' Marrangou released Cook.
Wood charged across and was lucky not to give away a penalty after making a clumsy challenge.
Gas were starting to up the pressure on Oakley's four.
When Cook picked up a loose ball, his cross was cleared to Gregory, who fired well over the Acorns' bar.
On the half-hour, Oakley survived a lucky escape when Firkins beat Tynan.
However, the keeper was eventually able to clear the danger.
The next passage of play saw Oakley's Mark Palmer play a clever ball into the path of Mathurin, but he was guilty of delaying from a shooting opportunity.
A great challenge by Ben Hammond denied Cook an opening as Gas broke in numbers, after good work by Taylor.
Rory Harman then went close with a near-post header, reacting the quickest to Jake Kioussis' cross from the byline.
With the first half petering out, Firkins got the better of Wood and looked certain to score - only to be denied by Luis Reynolds.
An early chance in the second half fell to Pat Tynan, from a free-kick, but he headed straight into Willoughby's hands.
The next attack led to the opening goal, when Gas were caught flat-footed and Mathurin burst clear.
With Willoughby trying to close the angle, he shot across him into the far corner.
Nathan Kioussis covered well and broke Taylor's progress forward as the home side were applying pressure searching for an equaliser.
It was coming and on the hour Gas equalised, when the ball was deflected high into the area.
With Tynan out of position, Firkins managed to bundle the ball home.
Gas took the lead four minutes later when Cook whipped a ball into Taylor.
Oakley were static and allowed him to stoop low and head home.
With the Acorns being outplayed and out-thought, they had to deal with several attacks as Gas surged forward.
The hosts soon added a third as Girling rode several tackles and his momentum allowed him to drive the ball into the corner of the net.
In injury time, with Oakley again back-pedalling, the Acorns were reduced to ten men when Shaun Kioussis handballed on the line. Marangou stepped up to score from the spot.
There was still time for Oakley to score after good work from Tynan, providing Jordan Heath a consolation goal.
Tomorrow sees another top-of-the-table match with the first team travelling to third-placed Alresford Colne Rangers.
The club's reserves are at home to Boxted and the A team travel to Hatfield Peverel Reserves (all 3pm).