Most of the OTFC IIIs turned up at the slightly damp Grists on time and ready to go against top of the league in local rivals Old Paulines. A last minute addition to the squad in vape-duo James Matthews and Captain “Badmin” Dan Hogg who was less on time, and less inclined to join in with the warm up in an attempt to rectify any further badmin. Cue the realisation of having forgotten all kit.
On paper, it was a solid team, a really good spine, and some fitness in attack (Aaron). The 3s had picked up a valuable point away from home the previous week against Meadonians, and were feeling confident in getting a first win of the season. Billy Zeqiri’s forehead was promptly polished, massaged and sanded down to enable full heading capabilities, to follow up his debut hat trick of headers with another. It turns out that all of the oils, lotions, candles, soothing music and sand paper wrangled together, had little impact on the game, but Billy was very chilled out.
The game started VERY quietly. I say very, the loudest sounds heard were the ball landing in on-field puddles. A quiet defence is a shaky defence. Caught too high up the pitch, Paulines broke away quickly, the ball was squared to the 9, who coolly finished past the returning Dan Rose. He did celebrate a little more than was necessary…git.
Shortly after, a long ball up the middle was just too far beyond Matthews and Newby in the centre of the Tiffin defence. The 9 pounced again, with another very cool finish past Rose. Git-git.
After going 0-2 down, the OTFC IIIs calmed a little. We were a little more communicative at the back and played the ball nicely (sometimes) across the floor (rarely). The 3s enjoyed a good spell of possession, and created some quite clear cut chances, which were missed and fined accordingly.
At half-time, we were very much in the game, and rousing speeches from Captain Hogg and visiting VC Joe “Nose” Yates mildly encouraged the squad to get out for the second half with a little more confidence. At the start of the half, the 3s were the better team. Playing the ball sensibly and working the ball well in to the opposition’s final third. Unfortunately, nothing came from our dominant spell, we only managed to tickle the bar (having full-on smothered it the previous week) and sky a couple of shots ten metres higher than the target.
A third long ball up the middle, again too far beyond the centre of defence, Dan Rose had only one option…show the player wide, narrow the angle and hope for the best. Dan went another route. There was a claim that he “got the ball” in the challenge. A coolly finished penalty out of Rose’s reach gave the Paulines 9 a third. Hat-git.
0-3 down with 15 minutes to play, and the 3s conceded a fourth goal. Legs and heads had gone by this point, so all I’m willing to say is that it was scored by Paulines’ other number 9. Other-git.
So, 0-4, and a scoreline that really flattered the opposition. The 3s played some really nice football at times, but were unable to build momentum during the game, or really threaten the Paulines goal enough. With Saturday’s home game against Wandsworth next up, undoubtedly another rousing speech from the 3rd XI leadership will help us with our first three points of the season.
MOTM: Tom Marshall – Interview Below:
And for your delight… the highlights: