With a new year and everyone having sufficiently stuck into the bulking diet that had been prescribed over the winter break, the 3s were up for a good ol’ slog match in this relegation zone clash. With old familiars returning from prolonged mid-season holidays and regulars making up this roster, the captain said to be physical and use this rare occasion where we looked to be the taller players to our advantage.
The 3s with coincidentally 3 substitutes on the bench were up for it and got fully stuck in straight away. The Old Tenisonians looked to be playing almost 4 up-front as their use of wing-backs plagued the Tiffs full-backs, but with a loud bench and lots of communication, the Tiffs’ begrudging wingers started doing some defensive work to counter. Strong out of the gate, the Ts were playing well and dominating in the middle, passing round defenders for fun, that after a few passes on the edge of the box, the ball rolled perfectly to captain Yates who struck it high, where most thought it would sail over the bar, but with some ideal wind conditions it dipped perfectly over the keepers head who’s vertical jump wasn’t enough to keep it out, putting Ts up 0-1.
With this fresh feeling of being on the front foot in a game, the Tiffin lads kept hammering the defense of old Tenisonians with constant pressure as they started to look shaky on the ball. With this knowledge, and a set of fresh legs on, one half of the “Jez and Tom” Youtube megastars Flynn on the wing, Tiffin sent a long ball over the top that saw a choice bounce hit a defender in his outstretched arm as he was trying to muscle out Flynn resulting in a penalty. Without any words dead ball specialist Yates took the ball to the penalty spot and proceeded to calmly slot it bottom right, 2.0 Ts, now everyone can go subscribe to Jez and Tom 😉 [editor’s note: link to follow].
Feeling completely in control of the game, Tiffin went into half time with their spirits high and were given minimal pointers on how to improve for the remaining 45 minutes, “just keep at it lads and remain physical with them as all they want is time on the ball”. Ben Lewis, not wanting to disappoint his captain fully followed his orders and proceeded to give away several fouls to start the 2nd half, even questionably resulting in himself being landed in the referees little book of naughty boys as he got landed with a yellow card. The referee with his new sense of power from brandishing his secret weapons went on to give out another two yellows for old Tenisonians players, which we of course, unbiasedly thought weren’t questionable at all.
With the Ts in control and the defense holding strong against the wing play Old Tenisonians favoured, the chances kept coming as a cleared ball fell nicely to ‘fresh of a house sale’ Khajenouri who struck the ball perfectly as it drove in a straight line to the bottom corner of the goal. However, according to street rules this shouldn’t have counted as he didn’t shout “GERRARD” as he shot, Ts were now 0-3 up.
With the constant pressure wearing on the opposition defense’s tired legs, we saw several clear cut chances arise for Flynn and Yates who got in behind the back 3 and proceeded to squander them either sailing the ball wide or directly at the keeper. But this opportunity kept arising as Khajenouri broke through, finding himself face to face with the keeper, listening to the shouts from his teammate and deciding to act unselfishly for the first time in any estate agent’s life, he squared the ball in classic FIFA fashion around the beautifully dressed keeper to Flynn who slotted it home. Controversy enthralled as the home side declared Flynn had been off side and began taking a goal kick to try and sway the ref, who hadn’t made it clear that he’d given a goal. Eventually after some not such safe words from Old Tenisonians, he gave it and the Ts were sitting comfortably in a 0-4 score with 20 mins to go.
As the 2nd half continued, shouts from the TOM-TOM centre backs started to just be of keeping the clean-sheet, to which ignoring his own statements TWC decided it best to maraud forward for long free kicks or merely as a hype man to the striker’s own runs. One of which saw Flynn take the ball from the half way line in Heung min Son-esque fashion around the keeper and several defenders to slot it away for a Tiffs 5th and potential goal of the season, following which Al Cunningham from the side line shouted “nice running TWC” who had been behind him the whole way not having touched the ball, as you would want from your CBs when 0-4 up.
With 5 in the bank, the defense had to hold strong, as now the clean sheet was the necessity to top the game off nicely. With a few too many curries in India plagueing LB Eggar, a pacey winger was not what he wanted his first game back to be stuck with, that following a few fouls he soon had to find the pace he once had last season to beat the long balls down the wing that Tenisonians seemed to love, but Eggar hated. An empty goal at one point saw ‘not a fan of car pool’ Marshall step up with some heroics to keep the ball out so that his precious sheet remained clean.
With Ts fully in control, another goal soon came in the dying minutes of the game as some pour clearances from the home team’s defense in the box saw the Ts captain pick up his hat-trick, much to dismay of his teammates who knew they’d never hear the end of it.
The game whistle was blown and Tiffins celebrated, heading of to the changing rooms realising that it is a lot better to end the game with a win and they should really do it more often.
MOTM: Joe Yates