LITTLE Oakley have secured a creditable sixth-place finish in their first season of Step Five football, writes LARRY DOBKIN.

The Acorns won 3-1 at Stansted, in their penultimate Essex Senior League match of the season.

Stansted went close with a deflected effort early on but Oakley went ahead when Wood rose to powerfully head home Garrard's perfect cross to the back post.

Oakley went further ahead in the 25th minute.

Mann's unselfish run took two of the Stansted defenders away from goal giving Rowe a clear path to attack.

Rowe travelled 20 yards before hitting a sublime shot into the bottom corner from just outside the area, giving the keeper no chance.

The game then went into stalemate with neither team managing to forge any chances, as Oakley went in at the break with a commanding two-goal lead.

The second half saw Oakley come out with a renewed urgency.

Five minutes after the break, Owusu-Boakye won the ball in midfield and ran at the Stansted defence where Garrard had made an intelligent run into the area.

Owusu-Boakye played a slide rule pass to Garrard who scored with ease to make it 3-0.

The game then went into a midfield battle with little meaningful chances coming from the hard-fought battles.

Stansted were still trying and should have pulled a goal back when a long-range shot was not able to be held by Joyce.

He spilled the ball out to the centre of the six-yard box straight into the oncoming path of the Stansted centre-half, who ballooned an effort way over the bar.

The game was being played at a much slower pace now, with Oakley happy to keep possession and ensure they did not give Stansted a route back into the game.

But Stansted pulled a goal back with eight minutes left.

After the ball was played to the back post, the Stansted forward chested the ball over the line.

Oakley have shown a resilience this season and have learnt how to protect a lead.

Time was played out without and further incidents or chances.

Oakley have found a true find in Dutch who started the season as a stand-in centre-half but is now one of the first names on the teamsheet.

Next season will see a real battle for places which all looks bright for Little Oakley in Step 5 football.

Oakley man of the match was Tyler Sullivan, who when given his chance to play always produces the goods.