Little Oakley picked up a deserved win on Tuesday Night at Hargave Park as they beat Stansted by three goals to one, sealing a top-6 finish whilst also ending Stansted hopes for promotion.

The visitors made a quick start to the game as Danny Garrad had the first shot of the game, but Jarvis Monk held on to the effort. Stansted had looked to also make a quick start to the game, but their first chance, a ball played across the box, was well cleared by Oakley.

Oakley threatened the Stansted goal every time they came forward. Edward Nobbs had a low cross cleared before the away side who took the lead in the 14th minute. Lewis Wood got onto the end of a corner and headed them in front. The hosts immediately applied pressure as they sought a quick response, but the combination of Michael Mignot and Mikey Salako produced nothing in the way of a goal.

A couple of crosses from either side were overhit and didn’t cause problems for the defence as both looked for the next goal, but it was Oakley who scored their second. Daniel Rowe made a superb solo run towards the edge of the box and fired the ball beyond Monk to double the visitors lead. Again, Stansted looked to get straight back on the front foot, but a shot that had beaten the keeper was cleared off the line and the sides went into the break with Little Oakley winning 2-0.

The early moments of the second half didn’t improve for Stansted as they conceded a third. The ball was played across the box and slotted home by Garrad. The 3-0 scoreline sparked Stansted into life as they dominated a large part of the game. After struggling to get the ball out of their own half, the Airportmen had a few chances, but could pull a goal back. Ash Siddik looked to get a shot off, but couldn’t find an opening before Tom Massey had Stansted’s best chance of the game with his effort flying over the bar from 2 yards out. Salako couldn’t link up with anyone with his cross minutes later before Mignot made a bursting run towards the Oakley goal, but had the ball taken off this toes with a good interception.

The hosts continued to dominate the second half, but it just didn’t seem like their night. Siddik looked to create a goal for Stansted, but Oakley managed to clear their lines before breaking themselves, but to the relive of the Airport Army, the ball was safely into the hands of Monk. A couple of minutes later, Kieran Southgate had an effort on goal, but he could only fire over.

As the game reached the final 10 minutes, Stansted continued to push for a goal. Despite Harry Mann having an good effort on goal for Oakley, it was the hosts who netted the next goal as Salako was left unmarked and turned the ball home.

The consolation goal was enough to spark more pressure for Stansted as they looked to pull another goal back. Jack Mitchell came close to doing that in the 84th minute as he saw his free-kick bounce off the top of the crossbar before the hosts looked to come forward, but saw their attack halted by a handball call. Louis Monk fired an effort towards goal from outside the box, but Daniel Joyce was able to pluck the ball out of the air with ease.

Little Oakley had successfully seen out a huge win, but before the referee brought the game to an end, they almost had a fourth. Elliott Johnson did well to hold onto the ball before turning his man and firing an effort towards goal, but the shot was blocked and the visitors had to settle for three.