Old Tiffs vets 3 Old Sutts vets 2
Scorers: Arlow, Rawlinson, Harry
- Dave Smith
- Simon Burton
- Pete Markham
- Carl Naylor
- Simon Baile
- Oscar Omo
- Ali Rawlinson
- Dave Gardner
- Luis Silva
- Dave Harry
- Nigel Sprunt
- Jon Kent
- Warren Arlow
- Keri Ryan
The ball is dropping. Sprunt hits it. Yesssss!!! It’s there, he’s got the hat trick and he’s now two goals ahead of Luis as the team’s top scorer. Nigel grabs the ball. His ball, the World Cup ball the big hearted marketing director had bought the team that day, had been praised by both teams and the ref and he’d just bagged three goals with it. What a day.
“Nigel?” A female voice, expectant. “Nigel!” More authoritative this time, demanding a response. Nigel shook himself and slowly opened a wary eye. Damn. It was Mrs Sprunt. He was still in bed and the day hadn’t started.
“Now dear, I know you’ve said you’re playing football today, but wouldn’t you be better coming to Topps Tiles with me this afternoon? We ARE doing up the kitchen you know.”
Nigel considered objecting again to the kitchen project. They’d only had the 40 by 30 super-cuisine re-done the previous year. But Autumn brown is now out and tortoiseshell grey is in, apparently. Whatever. Withersworldwide – who have been advising successful individuals and businesses on complex legal matters since 1896 (and also sponsor Old Tiffs) – paid him a generous salary. He could afford it.
“Get up, Nigel. Now!” instructed Mrs Sprunt. “And why on earth are you hugging that football in bed?” Nigel resisted the temptation to point out it was the World Cup ball, and got up.
In the end the marketing whizz promoted the virtues of good exercise and fresh air to his wife, and escaped his Cheam mansion to get to the game. Reality had dawned but the match lay ahead – could dreams still come true?
Errrr… Not quite.
“There’s something wrong with this ball,” cried a less than specific Sutts player. “It’s not round,” chimed in another, although he seemed on shaky ground with this one. The ref relented and the ball – to Nigel’s chagrin – was substituted after just five minutes.
The game, played with an old ball, progressed steadily. Chances were few and far between, but both attacks looked on the verge of causing trouble.
Tiffs played some nice football on the edge of the Sutts box after 15 minutes. Ali, Oscar and Luis combined to slice their way through on the left but the chance went wide. Still, it was encouraging.
So was the sight of Simon Burton, Oscar and Dave Harry in the Tiffs shirt, as none, for various reasons, have been regular so far this season. Harry was dropping off to link up the play nicely and the midfield, where Gardner was also a composed presence, were playing some nice stuff.
It was Warren Arlow who opened the scoring. The oppo were appealing for pretty much everything, and did so again when their keeper was blocked off trying to clear a high ball. The fact it was the Sutts defenders doing the blocking did not lessen the volume of their complaints.
The ref waved play on and time seemed to stand still as Arlow composed himself before lashing his finish into the net for 1-0.
Our second goal came shortly before half-time. Why play a 1-2 with a team mate when you can use the opposition defence? Miniature maestro Ali Rawlinson – who gets his height from his mother Karina, allegedly 4ft 8ins in her stockinged feet – danced towards the Sutts defence.
His first shot was blocked back into his path. Did he return passes with another of their defenders? I’m not sure but after a few goes he made sure with a searing drive which flew into the left corner and gave Tiffs daylight.
The half time 2-0 lead reminded Tiffs fans of the match against the same opponents before Christmas, which finished 2-2. Could the same happen again?
Sutts certainly made sure Tiffs could never be comfortable, leaving two and sometimes three players up front with the hope their own mini magician could conjure up a through ball.
Tiffs for their part were hardly closing the game out, conceding possession more readily than in the first half, and the result remained in doubt.
Keri Ryan had an action packed five minutes, clearing in his own box twice, then hitting a rasper which hit the post. 3-0 would have sealed it, but the next goal went to Sutts in dubious circumstances.
For all the attacking potential of their 2-3 forwards, they seemed to be running out of ideas when an over hit cross led to an innocuous challenge during which a Sutts player fell over. Penalty, cried the desperate Sutts players and the ref – who’d done well all game but perhaps erred here – pointed to the spot. It was duly converted. Game on.
There was time for plenty more action. A Dave Harry challenge led to a nose bleed for a Sutts defender, who did not take the incident too graciously. Nor did Harry endear himself further to the fellow by smashing in a 3rd goal while he was off the pitch receiving treatment.
Still the game remained open, and Sutts used the last four minutes to score a back post corner for 3-2, and create a presentable chance in the dying seconds, which went wide.
Tiffs left the pitch thankful in the end for the three points, their second win of 2018. Sprunt grabbed his ball and headed in. It hadn’t worked out as he’d hoped – but he’d played a good part in an exciting game. It sure beat looking at tiles on a Saturday afternoon.