A New Year, and 14 young stallions gagging to get back on the playing field against our old enemy. At least that was the chat coming from the dressing room… Who could predict just how off point the chat was? ‘The oppo are tripe’, ‘we’re going to walk this’, ‘our refreshing free-flowing style of play is going to wreak havoc over their backline’ (replace with expletives where relevant). Surely this game was a foregone conclusion? Then the whistle blew.
Managed by a new referee who would put Youlie’s robust frame in the shadows, Old Tiffs get off to an absolute stinker. Running in circles, giving the ball away at will, not closing down, not wanting the ball, not putting a tackle in, not heading it; everything that had been good about our play was lost in the wind. Men against boys, with all 11 Old Tiffs standing around, waiting for the hiding that their form deserved. The offering was passed up by the oppo though, a decision that they will live to regret.
0-0 at half time and much to talk about. There aren’t enough subs to replace the dour performances on display, so it’s time to buck up (and sub fuse off). We are somehow still in the contest, so Old Tiffs go again. A much improved performance follows but what can’t be counted for is Seb’s desire to melt into the ground as soon as a ball is played through. Old Pauline’s go 1 up. No complaints, but how will Old Tiffs respond?
Magnificently. Invigorated by going behind, the purple heads find their fight. Challenges fly in, headers are won, and at one point more than three passes are completed, fantastic. The oppo don’t like it and Tiffs grow more and more into the game. Set piece after set piece is launched into the box and the Pauline rear-guard is wobbling. Time to send in the sniff. Both centre backs combine and Old Tiffs are level. The tide is changing and there is only won winner in this one now, surely?
Pauline drop deeper and deeper, as Tiffs go in search of an unlikely 3 points. Steve Hung and Danny Leach threaten from either flank, as Jordan takes the midfield by the scruff of the neck. Even Kuldeep – after heroically coming through a bought of dizziness from heading the ball once – is now up for it. Charge!! Another set piece with 10 minutes to go, and another contender for goal of the season…swung in from the right, the ball first comes off an Owens shoulder before cannoning into Kieran’s ear and flying in – the 3 supporters go wild.
Old Tiffs see out the win and walk away with the three points. A wake up call for games to come, be ready from the start in future and this team will go far.