LITTLE Oakley manager Matt Carmichael praised the battling qualities of his young side in their Essex Senior Cup defeat against Holland FC.

The teams met in a second-round clash at the Memorial Ground on Tuesday but it was the visitors who prevailed 2-1.

Dan Rowe scored the consolation goal and although disappointed to lose, Carmichael felt there were plenty of positives.

"It was a decent game and a good opportunity for the squad to get some vital minutes, with lots of tough games coming up," he said.

"Our young side battled hard against an experienced and well-drilled Holland team."

Oakley, second in Thurlow Nunn League first division south, drew 3-3 at Benfleet on Saturday, having fought back from 3-1 down.

The Acorns managed to get back on level terms as they had Lewis Wood and Harry Miller on target, as well as an own goal from Benfleet.

"It was a well-earned point that shows we're on course," added Carmichael.

"They're another side who are top quality going forward and will score goals this season.

"From 3-1 down to getting a point and still being disappointed not to win is a good sign.

"We need to be more ruthless and clinical."

Oakley return to action at May and Baker on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).

They then entertain Felixstowe and Walton United Reserves in the League Challenge Cup on Tuesday.

Their next home league fixture is on Saturday week (September 28), against north Essex neighbours Wivenhoe Town.