OTFC Is 1-0 Sinjuns Grammarians IIs
With the season nearing its end, the Is went into a massive game away at Sinjuns Grammarians FC. Three points secured status in the league; one meant points were needed from the final two games to make sure. After the pre-match warm up, which included scaling over a fence to get into the ground for some, the team lined up on the pitch, which seemed slightly shorter than normal.
The game began with both teams at a steady pace, trying to feel each other out and spot their weaknesses. Up top, Pete Osborne and Bruno Robertson were all over the Sinjuns defence, holding the ball up and bringing the midfield into the game. The first chance of the game fell to Bruno, whose volley from the edge of the box flew over the bar after Ts won the ball high up the pitch.
As the first half continued, Tiffs continued to play the better football and outmuscle their opponents, with Greg Nutt, John Owens, Dave Harry and Sniffer winning everything in the air. In the rare moments where the Sinjuns’ forwards managed to string a move together, either a Tiffs defender or keeper Seb Rose were on hand to clear the danger.
All over the pitch, Ts were winning battles in every area. Sam Lewis and Jason Richardson were working well together on the left , while John Owens and Dave Harry’s link-up play on the right kept the home team’s left side largely quiet.
The next chance for the Purps came when Bruno was sandwiched on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick from Sam Lewis caught out the wall, but wasn’t quite accurate enough to beat the keeper.
Tiffs seemed to be largely in control as the half was coming to an end, however Sinjuns managed to create one clear-cut chance. A through ball put their striker in on goal with only Seb to beat, the forward beating the keeper for an open goal. However a last ditch tackle from Jordan Owusu-Adu meant that a clean sheet was still on the cards.
At half time, the team felt they deserved to be in the lead, and all that was needed was to test the bottom sides’ keeper.
The Purps continued the second half as they started the first, moving the ball around nicely and winning almost every physical battle. The referee, like in the first half, started to give a few questionable free kicks against the away side, and this coincided with Sinjuns starting to get into the game and getting closer to the Tiffs’ penalty area.
A period of pressure was dealt with, and chances started to come, the closest two of the half coming from Dave Harry and Sam Lewis, both having the beating of their full back, came in from their wings and fired just over the bar.
Despite chances coming and going, there was still belief that the goal was coming, and with half an hour to go, the deadlock was finally broken. A throw-in deep in Sinjuns territory went back to the goalkeeper, whose clearance was poor, the ball falling to Bruno 25 yards out. Without hesitation, the striker’s predatory instinct kicked in, as he took one touch, looked up, and looped a volley over the head of the stranded keeper. A great finish. Finally Tiffs were in the lead, and deservedly so.
With not long to go, and the all important three points nearly sealed, Ts were finding it difficult to keep hold of the ball, with passes going astray and loose balls falling to the Sinjuns players. The home side didn’t create too many chances in the game, but with around ten minutes to go, they had a massive one.
A set piece was sent into the box, and the header was won by a Sinjuns player who sent it towards goal. Unfortunately, the ball slipped through the hands of Seb and rolled towards the goal line. He quickly jumped back and pulled the ball away from goal. Was it over the line? Sinjuns thought so. Luckily, the ref seemed to turn and ask Seb whether it was over the line. Thankfully, he gave the answer we wanted, although it was clear to most that it was over, just.
Despite being one nil up, Tiffs continued to attack, and got the chance to make it two. After Pete was hacked down in the centre of the pitch, the ball ran to Dave Harry, whose cross hit the arm of the defender, and a penalty was given. Dave stepped up to take it, but unfortunately the keeper guessed the right way and palmed it away.
The team continued to fight until the end, and the result was sealed.
With safety secured, it was time to hit the bar for a celebratory pint and slice of pizza.