The writing was on the wall for this game… Top of the table vs. a Tiffs side missing a number of key players, surely only one conclusion…
Try telling that to the OTFC IIIs side that started vs. John Fisher with a number of players keen to prove a point. Solid defending by a back four of Al Cunningham, Tom Whitehead Clarke (TWC), Marian Vrabie and Ben Lewis meant John Fisher had to resort to shots from outside the area which were either way off target or comfortably saved by Andy Hale.
Eventually, OTFC IIIs got what they deserved, after some calm defensive play by TWC, the ball was threaded through to lone striker Jose Marquez who twisted and turned the opposition and finished comfortably to put Tiffs in front – a terrific solo effort from a player who had a fantastic game, perhaps unfortunate not to get man of the match. The opening goal “rattled” John Fisher who realised this was far from an easy ride for them.
However, John Fisher did get an equaliser before half time. “OFFSIDE!” cried the OTFC IIIs back four but the ref was having none of it, which meant a clear chance for John Fisher, who duly converted.
Half time came, with OTFC IIIs now down to a bare eleven, following a knee injury to Owen “Walkers Knee” Kirk.
Some inspirational words at half time clearly did the trick and before too long, OTFC IIIs were back in front after great battling by Jose gave TWC a chance to shoot and he managed to pull off an absolute rocket of a goal… everyone was speechless, surely not from a centre back!
Then came the first of the pivotal moments in the game, yet another “OFFSIDE!” cry from the OTFC IIIs, this one by no means marginal (at least 10 yards offside) was met with no response, and John Fisher equalised again. A very unclassy moment from the John Fisher scorer who decided to mock keeper Andy Hale which led to inevitable handbags. Unfortunately for OTFC IIIs, the ref only saw one half of this incident and decided to caution Andy.
By this time, patience from OTFC IIIs was wearing thin, two offside goals taking away from what had been a solid performance by the underdogs. Another dubious refereeing decision then got the better of Andy who kicked the ball away in frustration resulting in a second yellow card and the Tiffs were down to 10 men.
Step up “club academy product” Dom Lundie who went in goal after a little persuasion. Dom managed to make a number of brilliant saves amongst the thunder and lightning to keep OTFC IIIs in the game but was helpless when makeshift skipper Joe Yates headed into his own net following a misjudged clearance… inevitably heads dropped.
John Fisher then got a fourth goal, the third clearly offside goal of the game…not what OTFC needed after what had been a great performance against top of the league. The fifth goal then followed, a header from the edge of the area in probably the only classy moment from John Fisher all game.
Whilst, OTFC IIIs lost the game, there were a number of positives to take away from this and a fantastic shift from the lads who showed up.
Highlights from the game:
· Ben Lewis squaring up to a 6ft 2 player
· Dom Lundie’s man of the match performance, both for his on pitch battling and goalkeeping performance
· TWC’s rocket
· Colin cuddling the referee
Lowlights from the game:
· Another tough day from a refereeing perspective
· Own goal from skipper Joe Yates (clearly learning from Dan Hogg!)
· Frustrations got the better of us
· Absolutely dire weather
· Pizza turning up 15 mins late
Onwards and upwards for next week…