29 September 2018. Old Tiffinians Ist XI were playing their league opener a few weeks after most of the other teams in Div 1 South had kicked off their seasons. It promised to be a humdinger, away at top of the league Old Wokingians, holders of a 100% record after two games.
The Purples needed some pre-match inspiration. The great motivators of history, Churchill, JFK, Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday, have had their time, but they were outdone on a Saturday afternoon in Woking. Tom Scott’s pre-match chat was unusual, almost unwatchable, impossible to repeat for at least six months, and sent the other 12 squad members sprinting out of the changing rooms ready to put their bodies on the line.
The match took place in soaring temperatures on a pitch made out of bobbles. The early exchanges were predictably frantic, with both teams struggling to carve out openings. Excellent work in the midfield from Will, Matt Hucks and Jordan and a rock solid defensive platform provided by Ollie Robini and Kimber gave Tiffs a foothold in the game and helped them grab the lead. A lofted ball put Matt Burns-Peake through on goal, only for him to be clattered by the head-first charge of the Woking centre back. Matt’s resulting free kick was palmed away by the keeper, only to Tom Scott who bravely chose to toe-poke the ball low into the net for the lead.
It could have been two soon after when wonderful interplay in the Tiffs midfield by Will and Jordan put Matt Hucks through on goal. His shot was deflected clear by the Woking keeper, who was lucky not to be called into action again a few minutes later when Matt BP fired over from twelve yards. Then came the crucial point in the game. The Woking striker sent a right footed strike past Seb, only for it to hit the post and rebound into Seb’s grateful arms. Tiffs immediately broke forward and a few passes later it was toe-nailtwo-nil. Tom Scott slotting in at the back post for his second after great work by Alan.
There are moments in football matches when it’s clear it’s going to be your day. A Will Forsyth goal from a corner is one. Alan’s fizzed cross fell to Will in acres of space twelve yards out, he did the right thing and slammed a right-footed shot into the roof of the net. 3-0 to Old Tiffs at half time.
The next goal was vital. Happily, it fell to the team in Purple shortly after the interval. Will and Matt BP combined well to send Matt Hucks scampering through on goal. His cool finish put Old Tiffs 4-0 up. Shortly after, Seb pulled off an outstanding save, diving to his left to keep the clean sheet intact. That defensive stand aside, the second half showcased a series of superb attacking, passing moves by the Ts. Alan, who had been a constant threat down the right hand side, had several chances to score but settled with four assists instead. Two of those were second half passes to Tom Scott, who gave his feet a rest by heading in his third goal, before tapping in from close range for his fourth. Matt Burns-Peake slotted past the keeper after another slick move for a well-deserved goal and Jordan, who had bossed the midfield from the opening kick-off, struck into an empty net for the eighth.
Jordan won the man of the match vote for an outstanding 90 minutes, capping a complete team performance which promises much for the league campaign ahead. Old Wokingians IIIs 0 – 8 Old Tiffinians Is.