Tiffs came back to Grist’s for the last game of the season with a strong squad and confident in getting a result from a team which had beaten us earlier in the season. A decent pitch and some great shooting and passing practice in the warm up set us up nicely for the game and obviously worried the travelling side!
As the first half started Tiffs were in control, Baptiste Reynaud and Ben Williams battling well in midfield and the centre back pairing of Lee Orchard and Dan Hogg dealing with anything Suttonian’s number 99 could throw at them. An early chance was created from a move down the left which saw Wlliams slice over a volley from just outside the 6-yard box.
Tiffs continued to press and pass the ball well, which resulted in the first goal going Tiffs’ way. A ball was won down the right which saw Ciaran Morris making a run towards the opposition’s penalty area, he was bought down by a Suttonian defender which left the ref no choice other than to award a penalty kick. A bit of confusion about who was going to take it and time spent with the ref fiddling about with the net eventually saw Aaron Langford place the ball on the spot and cooly slot the ball home for his 14th goal of the season. This gave Tiffs even more desire to get forward and push for a second.
Williams and Langford both had fashioned chances which they were near to converting, but the moment finally came when Ed Whitehouse played a Beckhamesqe ball in from the left (as I’m writing it) which seemed to be met by both Jon Angell and Langford, although this helped as all the keeper could do was parry the ball down into his 6-yard box, Langford latched onto the loose ball firing it back across the face of goal where Angell was able to knock the ball into the net. 2-0 Tiffs.
Tiffs quick two-goal advantage seemed to shock Suttonians, but it wasn’t long before they pulled one back. They started to get more space and time on the ball coming out of midfield and towards our penalty area. A move of theirs saw a shot fired at Andy Johnston in goal, his save fell kindly to a Suttonian striker who got the goal and made it 2-1. Suttonians’ second came not long before the break, a hopeful pass/shot (not really sure what it was) saw the ball fly from the centre circle and towards the OTFC goal. Not helped by the wind or bounce, Johnston was helpless as he watched the ball go over his head and into the net. 2-2.
The second half started much like the first with Tiffs on the front foot, passing the ball well and creating space and chances from down both flanks. The defence again ably snuffing out any half chances Sutton were able to create. Unfortunately Tiffs weren’t able to capitalise on their good start to the second half and Sutton took advantage of this. A ball was won in midfield which saw three Sutton players running towards the OTFC penalty area. Our defence couldn’t have done much when the Sutton number 10 unleashed a shot from outside the box – rumours are it came off his shin – the ball rocketed passed Johnston in goal and gave Sutton the lead they were hoping for.
After Suttonians’ third goal they seemed content to sit back on the lead and hold on. Though Tiffs – especially our debutant right back, Charlie Mortimer – had different ideas. As Sutton were happy to sit deeper and allow pressure onto themselves, Tiffs took advantage, winning the ball well, spreading the play and again creating some decent chances.
The turning point came late on in the second half. Some great play down the right, eventually saw Langford with the ball at his feet in the opposition’s penalty area, a lay off to the seemingly rapid Mortimer, saw him unleash a ferocious shot (one of which the great Brazilian Maicon would have been proud) which flew right across the face of goal and stuck into the stanchion of Suttonians’ goal. A dream debut goal and also a well-deserved equaliser for Tiffs.
As the second half drew to a close, OTFC looked like the only team who wanted to win it, again some good play down the flanks saw Tiffs win multiple corners, throwing everything they could at the Sutton goal. Unfortunately nothing came of it and the ref blew the whistle to end a thrilling game. 3-3.
Man of the match went to Lee Orchard, who dealt with the threat of their big 99 very well. (It seems that there is a squad bigger than Tiff IIIs).