Old Tiffs Vets 1-1 Langley Crusaders
This clash of the minnows saw bottom placed Old Tiffs Vets facing second bottom Langley Crusaders. As a double-header it represented a fair chance for the rejuvenated Tiffs to jump out of the lowly spot they have occupied since losing 6-0 on the first game of the season back in September, but to do so would mean getting at least four points from the fixture.
The week had been hectic as a flurry of emails were exchanged in order to get the requisite number of players, but some late negotiating led to a few friends, and friends of friends, being drafted in on Friday and Saturday. Another challenge turned out to be the lack of a ref so Dave Harry stepped in to take charge of the first game, and Pete Markham the second, for lack of any other alternatives.
Tiffs started the first match assertively – the back four of Trevor, Simon B, Pete M and Ian looked solid, the midfield axis of Bruce and Ali had bite and guile (even if their joint height added up to one of the Langley midfielders), new boy Gavin and old boy Craig worked hard up and down the flanks and Ricky and John Angel kept their defenders on their toes throughout.
The game went to and fro, evenly contested, and was punctuated by half chances, more for us than them. Then, suddenly, Tiffs took the lead. It wasn’t stylish, it wasn’t easy on the eye but a bobbling cross and a less than emphatic contact saw the ball squirm into the net. Well done Ricki, one nil!
Tiffs withstood an aerial bombardment in the second half (Pete Stephens had swapped for Ian at half time) and appeared to have weathered the storm as time ticked away. Only one last throw-in stood between us and our first clean sheet. But, football being the devil it is, there was time for a cruel twist. In came the throw, forward darted a short, bald Langleyan, and into the top corner went the ball. 1-1 – Aarrgghh!!
Langley Crusaders 3-1 Old Tiffs Vets
(Goal scorer TBC)
So to the second match, and enter Dave Harry on the right of midfield, exit Pete Markham to ref. Unsurprisingly this game was competed in a similar fashion to the first, but events unfolded rather differently.
Mid way through the first half Langley put together quite a smart attack down their right which led to a dangerous low cross fizzing across our six yard box. A well taken finish left the keeper with no chance, 0-1. Shortly after, Langley were able to get behind the back four and clear on goal, probably for the only time in the 120 minutes. It was enough though, as their forward buried the opportunity, 0-2.
Tiffs kept at it, and occasionally with humour too. Watching Dave Harry toe punt over the bar, Ali said to Bruce: ‘Toe punt? I thought you said he was our best player?’. ‘No,’ replied Bruce, ‘that’s me.’
In fact it was Dave who had most of the Tiffs chances, mainly with headers which threatened to get the Ts back into the game. Finally they did so, with a well worked goal, to keep the result in the balance.
But the good work was undone later, a disputed penalty being awarded to Langley towards the end of the game ending the contest, which finished 3-1.
Overall it wasn’t the result Tiffs wanted, but score aside it was a close and enjoyable couple of games, and credit to Pete Stephens and Craig for getting the side together: at one stage during the week we had five players; their endeavours meant we were all able at least to enjoy some football in the sunshine.