Written by Ricky Carroll
AFC Oakwood won promotion - to the Barnet Sunday Premier Division by finishing runners up in the Championship in the 2020-21 season, agonisingly missing out on the league title by 1 point. They regrouped and had a steel and determination coming into 2021-22 to win silverware! Oakwood started the season with a 4-1 win away at Atletico Cerezo, with Giorgio Sallango scoring two and Charlie Ruff and Nick Briggs also hitting the target. Oakwood showed their togetherness and team spirit with two late goals from Andrew Alkiviadou and James Joseph Samways, sealing a dramatic 5-4 win over title rivals Trabzonspor UK in only the 2nd game of the season. Another high scoring game occurred on October 10 with a dramatic 7-5 win over South-West Rangers in the London cup, with Calum Stead scoring four goals. A disappointing exit from the Middlesex Premier Cup on penalties to Atletico Cerezo - was quickly forgotten with a 6-0 win over Hornsey and Highgate with bagsman Giorgio Sallango scoring four! Following the thumping of Hornsey and Highgate, Oakwood gained an impressive 3-1 win in the London cup over Kumazi Strikers! Following a 5-3 defeat to Trabz, Oakwood bounced back in style with two vital wins over Takers and a hard-fought win against Park Royals! Following these wins came two narrow losses against The Wrongens. The losses against The Wrongens were hard to take for Oakwood. They openly admit they came back after the Christmas break off the pace. But these defeats seemed to unite them even further as a group. - following a disappointing draw at home to Atletico Cerezo, Oakwood showed the mentality of true champions. They ground out a 4-3 win against Hornsey and Highgate and another 4-3 win in the Roger Jones Senior Cup against Sopranos FC. Back to back wins over Gower in the league and cup were met by a massive 3-2 win over Barnet and Sunday League perennial powerhouses Highgate Albion! The win over Highgate was a gigantic shot in the arm for their title aspirations. Cup losses only added pressure to Oakwood for their remaining two league games against Gower and Highgate. No nerves were present in the game against Gower, winning 6-1 with star striker Giorgio Sallango scoring four goals! Securing 3pts against Gower - ensured it all came down to a one-off game against current champions Highgate Albion! The game against Highgate was a closely contested game, with Oakwood grinding out a 1-0 to lift the league title! What a season for Oakwood! They had some setbacks during the season, which could have broken most teams. But they showed a togetherness which was vital in winning the league! Bradley Empson has been excellent this season for AFC Oakwood. In the heart of midfield, he's always looking to get on the ball and dictate games, which he has done brilliantly this season. Bradley dominates games at will with his excellent ball retention! He's superb at winning the ball back, which he has shown on countless occasions! Empson is great at getting the Oakwood attacking players on the ball in dangerous areas. He's the midfield lynchpin - and has been influential in their title-winning charge! Giorgio Sallango - has backed up his 11 goals in 13 games last season by scoring 18 goals in 21 games this season - winning the league's golden boot. Giorgio has shown a vital quality by popping up and scoring goals in the big games - which has helped them get over the line. When speaking to Robbie, the Oakwood club founder, he was full of praise for the squad: "It was important for us to win our first piece of silverware. We're excited about next season, with teams coming into the league. It promises to be more competitive than ever." Club custodian Dan added: "In our opinion, it's the most competitive league with ourselves, Highgate and Trabz all in the running to win the league in the final week of the season." It's been a brilliant effort by all at AFC Oakwood. The management team, Charlie Ruff and Ryan Wade, have bought guidance and experience to the squad this season - which has been vital in getting the team over the line. Bringing them in has been a masterstroke this season. Credit to Charlie and Ryan for assembling a squad this season and leading Oakwood to a historic league title!