Old Tiffinians III 3 – 3 Old Meadonians IX(Nine)
Normally in a game that finishes three all you’d expect there to have been some comical defending or rash goalkeeping, but in this hotly contested affair there was very little of either. Apart from, of course, the two own goals. But we’ll get to those later.
On arriving at Grist’s it was encouraging to see Aaron Langford already out on the pitch, kitted up, and practicing his penalties; finishing superbly into an open net, eager to get started before most people had their boots on. Things only got better as entering the changing room you find Captain Matt Power hanging everyone’s shirts on their pegs and with a bag of half time oranges.
The team warmed up in traditional style; firing balls wildly over the crossbar and then having a gentle jog to retrieve them. Captain Power then got us all together to work on some set pieces, a particular weakness from the previous week, eager not to get caught out again.
Neither side was able to play much football in the opening 10 minutes. Old Meads saw more of the ball but were intent on knocking it long, which the Old Tiffs defence was happy to deal with, while the home side themselves simply got to grips with their formation. Old Meads had a lot more possession in the opening half hour, but weren’t able to make much from it, barely troubling Andy Johnston in goal. Despite this Tiffs slowly grew into the game and made the best chances, including a lovely move that saw Langford run on to a neat through ball and force a good save from the Meads keeper.
Sadly it was Meads who broke the deadlock, although slightly fortuitously. A fiercely whipped in corner evaded four people at the near post, and looked certain to fly directly in, before Johnston made a last ditch effort to push it clear. Sadly for Tiffs he was only able to push it into the top corner and Meads wheeled away in celebration. The ref kindly awarded a goal kick to Tiffs, assuming that the ball had just hit the side netting, but before Old Meads had even realised what had happened Captain Power had asked the ref to award the goal.
The lead lasted all of five minutes. A foul out on the left in a dangerous position gave Baptiste Reynaud the chance to float in a lovely ball [editor’s note, rumour around the club is that this was a cross by Nico Telfer], that Langford dutifully glanced into the far corner. A flurry of activity in and around the Old Tiffs box allowed Meads to regain the lead. Tiffs had a number of chances to clear the ball but unfortunately it never got far, and ended up nestled in the home net. Yet again though, Tiffs came back and scored almost instantly. Rather than allow Langford or Jon Angell a chance to latch on to a good corner, one of the Mead defenders decided it would be safer to flick the ball in to his own net, a fine finish beyond the keeper into the far corner.
The first 45 minutes was up, and in all the excitement of praising their commitment and tenacity in coming back from a goal down (twice), everyone forgot the half time oranges.
Tiffs came out strongly in the 2nd half, a change in formation helping to nullify the main threat from Old Meads, and soon took the lead for the first time. The Meads keeper slightly fluffed a clearance and was dutifully lobbed by Reynaud, with a delightful finish, before he could get back into position. Old Meads came back strongly and pushed for an equaliser. Again, they had a lot of possession, but most of their football was played in front of the Tiffs back four and was relatively easily dealt with. Meads did manage to equalise after working a man free at the far post that smashed home a powerful finish.
The final 30 minutes of the game continued in the same fashion as much of the previous 60. Meads had more of the possession but Tiffs continued to make chances. There was just enough time left for Ben Williams to look like scoring the winner, but the Old Mead keeper managed to get a finger to the shot and touch it onto the bar.
A draw was probably a fair result, although both teams could probably make an argument that they deserved to win. After a heavy loss the week before it was a very impressive performance and Tiffs showed some great spirit in coming from behind twice in the game.
Debut: Tom Baron (and injured after 10 minutes)
MOTM: Conrad Bell (2 votes), Lee Orchard (1), Baptiste Reynaud (1)