Date: 18 Feb 2017
Scorers: Evelyn, Gardner
The weather was mild but Old Tiffs Vets were fiercely determined as they started this return match against Latymerians.
Just three weeks before, Tiffs had put on the most disappointing showing of their season and been humbled 3-0 at Grists.
For the return match, the Vets had a stronger line up, particularly in attack, and were keen to put right the wrongs of the previous fixture.
Things were going to plan too, in the opening half, where the away team battled for the right to play, then began to create one or two chances. Latymerians have a number of decent players and are well organised, so it was credit to a focused, resolute Vets side that we were able to play some good football when in possession, and eventually score a very good goal.
A penetrating attack down the left wing led to a fine cross hung up for Ricky, who was unlucky not to score with a similar chance against the Army and met this one even better. A salmon-like leap and a clean crisp contact on the header left the goalie flailing, and the one goal lead was no more than we deserved.
The other highlight in the first 45 was the team’s scrapper, Capn Walker, making mincemeat of the opposition’s American centre back, ignoring the Yank’s claim that he was a ‘di@khead’ and showing some good old British upper lip. Americans these days!
Back to the football. Latymerians probed and made one or two half opportunities, but by the time the first half ended, at 1-0 to Tiffs, things were looking good.
Upon changing ends, we realised the second half might be trickier, as the sun made it mighty difficult to see the ball, or which players were on what side, the purple and the dark blue being hard to distinguish. Attack is the best form of defence though, and Tiffs played on the basis that if we kept the ball in the opposition half, our defenders couldn’t be caught out by the conditions.
This approach was working nicely, with all players working hard to snuff out danger and recover possession if ever we lose it.
Ali and Oscar were having an immense game in the centre of the pitch, while Luis was having his best game yet for the side from the flanks, but that is to take nothing away from anyone else, as we strove as one to get the three points.
Around 55-60 minutes though, the oppo had their moment in the game, and we became a bit ragged. Not too much was created, until suddenly it was. The ball was moved forward on the opposition left, and a quick attack led to a low ball across the edge of our penalty area. Incoming, their useful central midfielder who met it first time, a low shot leaving Dave in goal with no chance. It was their first really decent opportunity, and fair play to them, they took it.
Tiffs repelled further attacks which followed in a shift of momentum, then struck with a lovely breakaway goal of their own. That man Rawlinson, inspired perhaps by his lad on the touchline, was having his most influential game yet in an attacking sense, adding extra feints and dummies to the usual mix of grit and guile his pint-sized presence brings. And it was he who raided down the left, then supplied a super ball for Gardner to bury in the far right corner, 2-1 to Tiffs with 70 minutes played.
After that, the game became untidy, and perhaps that suited Latymerians. They scored a scrappy goal with about five left on the clock, Dave blinded by the sun as the Brazilian opposition striker stole in to loop a header over him and into the net.
Never has a draw felt more like a defeat, one player said, and it summed up the Tiffs mood. We deserved better perhaps, but we move on – there’s plenty of points left to play for this season.