OTFC Vets v Refresh Vets (H)
28th October 2017
OTFC Vets 1 - 2 Refresh
Tiffs 1 Refresh 2
Scorer: Nigel Sprunt
- Goalie Jim
- Simon Baile
- Carl Naylor
- Pete Markham
- Pete Stephens
- Ted Wightwick
- Alan Coe
- Ali Rawlinson
- Keri Ryan
- Luis Silva
- Rob Lee
- Nigel Sprunt
- Dave Gardiner
- Ricky Evelyn
The Tiffs vets team are a sophisticated lot. Not every team would have been discussing the situation in Catalonia and the relations of various world leaders in the dressing room before the match.
Has the deputy leader been put in charge, asked one player, when perhaps we should have been asking if we were playing 4-4-2 this week.
Our guys were up to speed with the latest twists and turns in this important matter of world affairs.
Unfortunately, we were not so clever when it came to actually playing football, and the team will enter November still looking for their first league win.
It had appeared we would have to play keeper-less during the week, but Pete Stephens magicked up a very fine replacement for Dave Smith at short notice, so we avoided having to take turns between the sticks.
Tiffs had the better of the first ten minutes. We were pinching the ball off our opponents and i think perhaps Refresh were surprised by our fast start.
Their midfield battled its way back into the game though, and there was a spell during the first period where they began to get on top. Our goalie Jim was great in almost every respect but not having played proper footie for a while (since school, he said) his kicks were not exactly alleviating the pressure during the first period.
Meanwhile a couple of long throws got them behind our back four, which had coach Craig shaking in rage at the defence’s incompetence.
We still made chances, Ali breaking from midfield to get one on one with their keeper, but he could never shake off the close attention of the defender at his side, and his shot skewed high and wide.
The game was a slightly tetchy affair, with oppo players arguing with each other, Pete S and Simon Baile in hot debate, and Refresh keen to call foul every couple of moments.
Any call of foul was met with disdain by ref Sniffer Smith, who likes an agricultural challenge like the next man, and was happy to let the game flow, as they say.
The half finished 0-0.
Half time meant changes. On came tiny Ted Wightwick at right back, Alan Coe moved from right midfield to left back, and in came Carl Naylor to the centre, at the expense of a slightly injured Pete Stephens.
The swaps, unfortunately, co-incided with a downturn in the team’s fortunes, and we were two nil down by the hour mark.
First a break down the right led to a cross which reached the far post. Refresh’s wide midfielder had not been picked up and had plenty of time to finish for 1-0.
Further pressure led to another cross, again from the Refresh right, and the ball arrived in the space where two Refresh forwards were. One bundled it forward under a challenge, and the other scored.
Was it offside, lino? The Tiffs linesman opined that it was onside (the traitor!) and we were right up against it.
The same lino was convinced Markham gave a penalty away but luckily kept that to himself. The tackled/fouled player (Oscar Omo’s brother no less) didn’t appeal particularly and the ref waved play on, so luckily that was that.
No one could accuse coach Walker of being indecisive. He rang the changes again in a bid to stimulate some attacking momentum, and later went 3 at the back. Do something in midfield, he instructed Gardiner.
The game did indeed swing towards Tiffs and our back 3 were barely tested.
Sprunt rose majestically to score a rare header from a corner.
In another move Keri Ryan, Ali and Nigel combined to set up Ricky’s dashing run from right midfield, but no goal came from it. Dave Smith, out on pitch as a late sub, had a headed chance which had hearts in mouths, but no luck, and he lashed the rebound wide.
It finished 1-2, Tiffs still after that first win.
Afterwards it emerged that Sprunt had put up with the ref telling him all game that he needed to be stronger. This was a bit rich for someone who had been too weak to press a camera button. Pre match Sniffer, who includes the IT department among the areas he rules as director, proved incapable of working the camera, the fault seeming to be he couldn’t get it to click.
A bit like the team, these last couple of weeks.