OTFC IIIs 3-3 Old Meadonians IXs
Another Saturday, another quest for maximum points. Old Tiffs arrived at the home of the runaway league leaders (by games played only) looking to avenge the 3-3 home draw earlier in the season when we led until the final minute before conceding a fortuitous equaliser. Tiffs entered this game in much better form than the last time these two teams met, with the form guide reading W4-D0-L2 as against W1-D1-L4 earlier in the season.
With the team marginally changed from the unfortunate loss the week prior, OTFC had Laurence Hinton between the sticks once more, with Thishi Surendranathan, Mike Lutz, Dan Hogg and Jack Field across the back with Ben Williams, Baptiste Reynaud, Ciarán Morris and Tom Myatt in the middle, complementing Lewis Baister and Jon Angell up top. Aaron Langford, Matt Power and Ed Whitehouse started on the bench.
The game opened relatively messily, with both teams struggling to keep the ball. Williams was particularly guilty, surrendering possession more than once, which we blamed on the neon boots that were purchased the day prior to the game. Tiffs started to play the ball into the channels where Surendranathan and Morris were making good runs. Angell, Myatt and Baister had a few efforts saved unconvincingly by the Meadonians’ ‘keeper. However, Old Meads found themselves 1-0 up against the run of play. A long ball down the middle was somehow allowed through to the Old Meads winger, who swept home from about 18 yards into the top corner. A good finish that Hinton couldn’t do much about.
This appeared to settle Old Mead’s down and they started to produce better quality chances, which Hinton had to be alert to, racing off of his line on more than one occasion to keep Tiff’s in the game. As half-time approached, the gaffer brought Langford, Whitehouse and Power into the mix. Within 30 seconds Tiffs were level. A long throw from Lutz was expertly headed with unbelievable skill and technique into the path of Williams who tapped in to equalise. Those boots didn’t look so silly now. 1-1 and all to play for.
Tiffs didn’t have to wait long before they went ahead. Williams, obviously buzzing from his close-in finish, received a pass from Reynaud and played a great ball for Baister who raced onto the ball, clipped a lovely first time lob over the on rushing ‘keeper and into the net. 1-2 Tiffs. There was a close call right before the break as Old Meads tore down our right side, squared a ball back for the their striker to blaze over from 5 yards. Big let off right at the death of the first half.
Some refreshments and a round of Veggie Percy Pigs later we were back out for the second half. We started very sloppily in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Meads had the bit between their teeth and pushed early for an equaliser. Hinton once again having to be brave off his line to rush at the feet of the Meads striker. Great goalkeeping. The pressure building up did pay off for Old Meads, shortly afterwards a good ball to their winger allowed him to round Hinton and apply a cool finish past a desperate defender on the line to make it 2-2.
The game got more and more scrappy with the Meads midfielders using their tricks of tripping and pushing whenever Williams or Langford got away from their man and in one instance somehow got penalised for a clear trip on Langford which the referee acknowledged as an accident but yet still gave the free-kick to Old Meads. Tiff’s chances were few and far between in the second half but there was a chance when the Old Mead’s keeper (a proper keeper in now for the second half – we think) duffed a free-kick straight to Langford – who having already scored from the halfway line this year – thought he better try and pick out Baister on the other side of the field but his visionary pass across couldn’t be reached.
In similar fashion Tiff’s regained the lead for the second time in the match and with arguably the goal of the game. Good build up play and pressure on the right-hand side of the box forced the Old Meads centre-back to play back to the keeper who cleared excellently at pace to Langford who managed to sweep home from outside the area. An impeccable finish which astounded all. All.
Meads almost came right back with an equaliser but Lutz had other plans. The Old Meads right back delivered a great ball into the back post which was met by the previous Old Meads goalscorer, who headed into an empty net … though it wasn’t empty … Lutz produced an incredible goal line clearance with his head leaving the Old Meads striker in absolute shock. Outstanding defending.
Further pressure, handbags and sign language (literally) ensued from Old Meads and it would seem that the angering of the referee worked against Old Tiffs as once again in this fixture, in the final minutes, Old Meads were awarded a penalty and a chance to steal a point. A ball played diagonally played across the box to a man which Whitehouse was tracking was met with the Old Meads player flying through the air. Penalty. Whitehouse harshly penalised for pushing his man. Incredibly soft decision and after protests from Williams to the ref that his boots didn’t look ridiculous, the resulting penalty was scored making the game 3-3. Full time.
Overall, a good match with some great goals and upon reflection the draw was the fair result, even though, once again, we had been denied the full 3 points late on in the match.
Man of the Match went to Ben Williams and his new neon boots, followed closely by Laurence Hinton who was outstanding in goal!