After a long off season spent desperately trying, and failing, to find a goalkeeper, OTFC 3’s congregated at the hallowed turf of Grist’s for their opening game of the season in mixed spirits. The team were mostly in high spirits, happy to be back playing football, but an air of trepidation hung over the dressing room as everyone waited to see who would be tossed the keepers gloves and have their day ruined.
Luckily for the team a captain’s job is one of tireless sacrifice, and returning skipper C. Bell took the responsibility, and opportunity for less running in the baking sun, to keep the gloves to himself.
After a rambling team talk Tiffs were sent out to play some attacking football and hopefully start the season with some goals and 3pts on the board. Tiffs started the game strongly, making most of the running and preventing Brent from getting on the ball and settling. It wasn’t long for the pressure to tell as Tiffs worked the ball nicely down the left for J. Austen who’s shot was smartly saved by the keeper, only for H. Littlejohn to follow up and score the rebound from a few yards out.
Tiffs continued to grow into the game and shortly after went 2-0 up, as A. Janjeva scored a trademark goal by charging down the Brent keeper’s clearance and slotting into an empty net. A quick water break was the chance for a few changes to be made and a discussion about keeping a clean sheet until half time and so inevitably Tiffs quickly conceded as soon as the game resumed. A nicely taken goal allowed Brent back into the game which was soon followed by some defensive hesitation and an equaliser against the run of play. Angered at throwing away their lead, Tiffs upped things before the break and a lovely one-two on the edge of the box allowed L. Kinchin to curl a goal on debut and put Tiffs back in charge.
At half time Tiffs discussed going out and scoring more goals to take the game away from Brent, confident that the game was there to be won. Of course, Brent probably had a similar team talk, but they seemed to be listening more closely, and soon levelled the match for a second time with another nicely worked goal.
The game was finely balanced for the next 10 minutes as both teams searched for their 4th goal but it was Tiffs who again managed to take their chances. After promising a 20 goal season before the game D. Brillante finally got on the score sheet, slotting home after racing clear of a tiring Brent defence. A 5th goal followed soon after Brent could only half clear from a corner – a Tiffs shot was heading well wide before O. Robini redirected it into the net with a little flicked back heel. Brent had to push on to try and get back into the game and Tiffs were able to score one last time as D. Brillante was put clean through on goal from a lovely pass by A. Janjeva.
With a 3 goal cushion and tiring Brent legs Tiffs were able to take the sting out of the game and slow the pace down to stop a third comeback from ruining their day. Brent were able to grab a 4th goal with the last kick of the game as Tiffs fell asleep at a free kick but the final whistle came to confirm a well deserved win after an excellent performance.
Player of the Match – D. Brillante
Attendance – 12