LONG-SERVING Little Oakley skipper Lewis Wood is proud of his club’s rapid progress - on and off the pitch.

After a tough start, the Acorns are finding their feet at step six level and they put another point on the board following last weekend’s goalless draw with Leiston Reserves.

They are 16th in the Thurlow Nunn League first division with another home match looming tomorrow, against Whitton United.

Wood (pictured) has been a key factor in the club’s rise from the Essex and Suffolk Border League.

Now 28, he has been playing for the Memorial Ground side since he was 14.

“I’ve had offers to go elsewhere but have always wanted to stay loyal to Oakley,” he told the Standard.

“It’s my club and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, both on and off the pitch.

“Oakley, as a club, have moved to the next level and I speak for all the boys when I say how much we enjoy playing under Sean (Tynan).

“He’s a top bloke and a great manager.

“It’s been a steep learning curve but we’re improving and getting better every week.

“Our home form has been strong and we’ve only lost once in the league since the opening day.

“We’ve drawn five of our eight games at home and I don’t think we’re far away from turning those draws into wins. That would make the world of difference.

“We didn’t underestimate this league but we’ve certainly come to realise what a big step up it is.

“It’s so much quicker and we’ve been punished for mistakes that we would have got away with last season.

“If we can cut out those errors and be a bit more clinical at the other end, I’m sure we can start picking up more points.”

Wood has battled back from injury to become a mainstay of the team again this season.

Ankle and then groin problems forced him to miss the pre-season campaign and he was unable to feature in the opening games of the campaign.

“I got injured at the end of last season,” said the defender.

“It started with an ankle problem and then moved into my groin.

“It meant I missed pre-season and the first couple of games of the season, which was so frustrating.

“I was gutted and it meant I was behind the other lads in terms of fitness.

“But I’ve been getting up to speed and I feel much sharper now.”

Oakley were in League Cup action at premier division neighbours Stanway Rovers on Tuesday night and lost 4-0.

“It was a tough game for us,” admitted Wood. “Stanway were very good at getting the ball wide and three of their goals came from headers, but aside from that I thought we contained them pretty well in open play.”