When people ask what are the similarities between Tuesday, 6 June 1944 and Saturday, 31 October 2020, I point them to Old Tiffinians 3s v Old Suttonians 6s, details of which are below.
In scenes reminiscent of those Normandy landings (you can admit you used Google to check the dates above), the Old Tiffs 3s parachuted in to Old Suttonians on Saturday afternoon to land on the beaches/bogs of Sutton, via West Ewell, to continue their march to victory.
The game was moved to a 12:30 kick off to accommodate broadcasting requirements, which was a nightmare for some of the Ant Hill Mob who had to re-schedule their weekly skin fade haircuts as a result.
However, the Good Guys would need to deal with a huge shock on the morning of the game. In what can only be described as a “man down” situation, Captain Sam Edgar announced to his troops that he would not be leading them in to battle, citing a situation in which he was being held captive by his own toilet seat. It all sounded very “dog ate my homework, sir” but the skipper received the benefit of the doubt and charges of cowardice and trench avoidance were later unfounded. However, there was no need to worry as the Purple Army are hardened to such adversities after a tough Autumn in the trenches.
Tiffs lined-up in a cultured four-four-two formation with two big lads leading the attack as Khaj Lets Flats partnered Ash up top, the 2020 version of John Fashanu and Dean Holdsworth. In other selection news, Al Cunningham came into the back four, Denver Nuggets super fan Aaron continued to partner the housewives’ favourite Dylan in midfield, while Tom Daly tribute act Billy Z returned to the squad with a spot on the bench. Special mention to Connor for taking the role of his beloved Mark Crossley in between the sticks. He’s actually very good you know, some people are talking about him as the best ever keeper to don a Tiffs shirt.
In torrential rain the game kicked-off and it wasn’t long before Tiffs took control and were utilising the two big lumps up top with some vintage Tony Pulis style hoofs. This is the beauty of Old Tiffinians 3s – one week it’s Brazil 1970s, Hollywood football and the next it is Stoke City at a wet and windy Britannia Stadium. Variety is the spice of life, indeed.
Soon enough, one of those long balls paid-off for the Purple Army (in their camouflage green kit for the day). PC Dominic Lundie VK 2783 of Sun Hill Police Station delivered a long punt up field which reached Khaj, who used some of his infamous Shoreditch dance moves to jink free of the Sutts defence and lifted a cross to the back post for Ash to rise and get his first goal for the club from a lovely guided header. It was great vision from Khaj to spot his strike partner.
Tiffs continued to create chances, a Tom Flynn free kick hit the bar, meaning he couldn’t join the elite club of scoring free kick takers Rob and Aaron. There was a chance for Aaron Elwood but he couldn’t quite shoot his hoop from a close range effort. However, it wasn’t long before the D-Day troops doubled their lead. Dylan Brillante, with his immaculate Brylcreemed hair (water resistant by the way, available at all good hair product outlets and some bad ones) received the ball on the half turn, dummied it and managed to nutmeg his opponent before hitting a low shot in to the bottom right corner. The ball took an age to go in, he turned like the Titanic, most keepers would have saved it and the nutmeg seemed like an accident, but like a tabloid cover story, let’s not let hard facts get in the way of the glory story.
Meanwhile, at the back the Careless Whisperer, Harry, was on in place of Al, in the hope that Harry’s guilty feet did have some rhythm and he could deal with the long through-ball catching out the Tiffs back line. VVC Rob Palmer had gone in to centre half to look after the kids, but it was Dom Lundie who was delivering the crunching tackles and using his head on the ball for once to stop any Sutts threat. There was a comedy moment to follow, as a through-ball did catch out the back line and Dom Lundie resorted to using his hand to stop the ball. More hand of Plod than hand of God!
Some of you may also recall his promise to us that referees in this league don’t give out yellow cards, so it was most amusing when the referee took Lundie’s particulars and pulled out a deserved caution for DLundz. He did not need to say anything but anything he did say may have harmed his defence if he did not mention, when questioned, something he may later have relied on in court. Anything he did say may have been given in evidence.
Sutts pulled a goal back some while later, their number nine latching on to a long ball and rounding Connor to finish nicely. It seemed to lift Sutts and you may have wondered whether the comeback was on but then VC and captain for the day Owen subbed himself off to allow Billy Z into the fray. It was a poignant moment as Owen kneeled before VVC Rob Palmer to present the armband to him, while Palmer was grinning from ear-to-ear after being promoted from VVC to C all in one day. As ever, it wasn’t long before Billy had an impact, scoring shortly after his introduction to make it 3-1 at half time. “He dives when we wants” sang the Tiffs Ultra(s) from the touchline.
After a quick turnaround it was back out for the second half. The weather hadn’t relented and the pitch was becoming boggy. Sutts were still creating chances, but DLundz was playing like Rio Ferdinand while Connor was more than comfy in goal. He’s actually very good you know, some people are talking about him as the best ever keeper to don a Tiffs shirt.
At the other end, Khaj and Ash were still toiling away putting their bodies on the line, while George was impressing at right back, nullifying the Sutts left winger. There aren’t many certainties in life other than deaths, taxes and a George Sullivan 7/10 performance while reminding us older folk of Dennis Irwin.
Tiffs were handed a penalty on the hour mark and a chance to make it 4-1. Up stepped Billy to slot home the penalty with ease and cement his place at the top of the scoring charts. There were unconfirmed reports that his celebration of putting a finger to his lips was a message to the management team for placing him on the bench in the first place.
Similar to Noel Edmunds while he was out of work between Noel’s House Party and Deal or No Deal, Sutts never gave up and continued to press forward in the hope of salvaging something from the game. It appeared there may have a been a sniff of something for Sutts when Tiffs went down to ten men, after VVC/then VC/then C Rob Palmer was sin binned for dissent. It was a Halloween nightmare for Palmer as he trudged off to the sin bin, giving Al and Owen a version of events on the sideline that would have been laughed out of court like a Johnny Depp libel trial.
This also meant that, temporarily, Flynn was promoted to C after starting the day as VVVC. He later mused that it was a huge privilege but that ultimately the memory was tarnished as Jez wasn’t there to witness it.
Tiffs managed to weather the storm (quite literally) in Palmer’s absence and it seemed the victory march was well on course. Adey Prince Jr was on, as he continued to live the dream of playing for Old Tiffs. I am told this dream is second only to his first choice dream which is a tour round the QPR Club shop with Marc Bircham and Ian Holloway.
However, some selective marking decisions in the Tiffs box meant Sutts were able to head home to make it 4-2 to ensure a nervy finish with fifteen minutes to go. Dylan really should have put the game to bed, after a fine solo run meant he was in on goal with only the keeper to beat. It looked easier to score than miss, but he was unable to produce on this occasion.
It was a good job that some minutes later a remarkable display was capped by a late Khaj goal who nodded in from a corner to make it 5-2 and cement the three points. I won’t comment on suggestions his goal should have been taken off him for the ridiculous Ronaldo celebration afterwards though.
The final whistle soon came and the Good Guys were celebrating a 5-2 win over the league leaders and achieved redemption for the 1-0 loss in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. A fine performance from Tiffs and a special mention to Man of the Match Dom Lundie, who put in a wonderful performance There must also be a mention for Connor in goal. He’s actually very good you know, some people are talking about him as the best ever keeper to don a Tiffs shirt.
It is a shame that it now looks like our season is going to be put on hold, potentially until 2021, but it has been a fine run of games in the trenches for the Old Tiffs regiment. Who knows, we may even meet up with Dorkinians on Christmas Day and re-enact the famous football game between soldiers during WWI in 1914.
But for now, in the words of Vera Lynn…..”we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day”.
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