LITTLE Oakley boss Matt Carmichael has hailed his young strike force after seeing them fire the Acorns to Thurlow Nunn League Cup triumph with a clinical display at Halstead Town.

Luke Mayhew, Harry Mann and Greg Rodger were all on target in the first 15 minutes as Oakley took an early 3-0 lead and although the hosts came back at Carmichael's team with two goals themselves, a second from Mayhew just after half-time earned a 4-2 win and a place in the third round.

It was an impressively clinical display by the Acorns' forwards and their manager feels they are all destined for big things.

Carmichael said: “People don’t realise how young our front lads are.

“They are 17, 21 and 22 so they are young lads.

“They aren’t experienced footballers dropping through the leagues, they are all young and those three have been excellent this season.

“Luke (Mayhew) now has 15 goals, Harry Mann is around that number and Greg (Rodgers) is knocking on the door of double figures and we’re only in October.

“They are three lads who I think will go on and, if they carry on as they are, they will get 25 goals each this season.

“You can’t ask for any more and for young men in senior football, that is fantastic."

Oakley, who are sat second in the Thurlow Nunn League division one south table, will look to build on their cup win when they host Barkingside in the league on Saturday and Carmichael was relieved to see his team bounce back from a 4-1 division one south defeat at Frenford last weekend.

“If you were looking for a definition of a cup tie then the one at Halstead was it," added Carmichael.

“It was end-to-end with lots of goals.

“We changed things around at the start of the second half and apart from a few half chances for Halstead, I don’t think Dan (Joyce) had any saves to make in the second half.

“We sat a bit deeper to negate their full-backs and I think it worked.

“So it was pleasing that we stuck to a game plan in the second half as it’s been a while since we’ve carried it through -either got the rub of the green or been good enough to carry it through.

“Frenford were too good for us last weekend but I felt we bounced back well at Halstead.

“We have threatened to go on a run all season and it hasn’t happened yet.

“We have won a couple and then slipped up or been expected to beat a team and drawn; it’s just been one of those seasons where we haven’t kicked on, so hopefully that win at Halstead can be a catalyst for us.

“Hopefully we can go on to Saturday and take confidence from that game when we host Barkingside, who are a team in the mix with us.

“It’s at home and we fancy ourselves against everyone at home so hopefully we can get a result."