The OTFC 3s took to the field at Dorking with a positive attitude. A number of players struggled with the trip to Dorking, with poor traffic leading to the ground. Despite not being able to have a proper warm up, a strong side had assembled, including four from the generous 4s, including the club’s top goal scorer Stephen Dwyer.
Bobbles on the pitch, wind and a lack of match sharpness led to a slow start from Tiffin. Dorking came close a number of times, and fortunately the goal was not quite wide or high enough for them to find the net in the opening minutes. Struggling to retain possession or put any notable pressure on the Dorking defence, the 3s eventually conceded. It was a familiar story, and in-swinging corner to the edge of the six-yard box wasn’t cleared by a Tiffin head, and Dorking’s big striker tapped the ball in to the net having lost his marker too easily. 1-0 down, and it was time for the 3s to wake up, and to start playing the standard of football that we knew we were capable of.
Ed Lambourne and Stephen Dwyer used their pace to take the ball past one, two, three Dorking defenders, but were unable to get off a meaningful effort at the Dorking goal. With the wind against us in the first half, the 3s were getting overrun in midfield and were still unable to retain control of the ball. Switching the three central midfielders helped dramatically, and it saw the 3s starting to play with a bit more confidence.
1-0 down at the break, and it has to be said, we were poor in the first half. After our absolute dominance last week against Old Paulines, the 3s knew that they were capable of better things. Despite the sun in our eyes, we had the wind on our side for the second half, which was only going to help.
Early on, Dwyer got on the ball, and with a jinking run managed to round the keeper. Hearts were in mouths, as the 3s knew that this could be the first goal of an inevitable hat trick. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. The Dorking keeper did excellent work in shepherding Dwyer wide of the goal, which led to his effort finishing agonisingly wide of the post. However, confidence was higher, and the Tiffs were starting to dominate the match. Tom Myatt (a welcome return for his first game of the season), and Ahmed Alhefi were nicking the ball off of the Dorking midfield on a regular basis and building attacks from deep.
Dorking had a couple of efforts mid-way through the half, and it was only because of Joe Yates’ clearances on the post and two ABSOLUTE world-class saves from Nader that kept the score at 1-0.
Then came Tiffs’ moment of the match. Tom Myatt, out on the right, slipped the ball in to the middle to Ben Williams. Ben looked up from 35 yards, took a touch, and smashed the ball with his left peg. At first it looked wild, but this thunder-b@$t@rd of a shot nestled itself perfectly in the Dorking top-left corner. A superb goal, and surely the leading candidate for goal of the season. Tiffs were on square terms, and were confident of defending for a point.
Dorking started to throw men forward, and Dan Jackson and the ever-composed Steve Newby cleared up the long balls and broke up the waves of Dorking attacks. However, we were eventually undone. The Tiffin defence was caught a little too high up the pitch, and the Dorking striker was left one on one with Nader. Despite Nader’s best efforts, and an inevitable apology, Dorking once again took the lead.
Chasing the game, the 3s started to drift higher and higher. Owen Kirk looked to have been through on goal after a clever chip over the Dorking captain at right back. However, some exceedingly unsporting behaviour saw the opposition captain use a deliberate hand ball to thwart the Tiffin attack. An excuse of “I play basketball” was not particularly comforting. Nor was the slightly smug admission of guilt at the full time whistle.
And so a considerably improved Dorking side managed to take the three points this time around, but the Tiffs can look forward to their final home match of the season next week against Old Thorntonians in front of their thousands of adoring fans.
Man of the match went to Nader for his superb goal keeping, with mentioned for Tom Myatt and Steve Newby. Congratulations to Ben Williams for scoring an absolute worldie, and for finally over taking Dave Harry as the 3s current top scorer of the season with five goals. It only took 12 appearances. Dave did it in one. One appearance. One substitute appearance.