Old Wokingians IVs 1-0 OTFC IIs

Tiffs headed down to sunny Woking with three crucial messages:
1) Watch out for the long throw-ins.
2) Don’t concede in the first 10 minutes (or at all, preferably).
3) Don’t lose, or relegation is all but a certainty.

However, following orders is not something that is well-accustomed to OTFC IIs – though all of this was done with an incredibly gutsy performance, and one which we could certainly have taken three points if our final ball had just been that bit better.

After a shaky first five minutes, the aerial bombardment began with a number of useful throws into our box by the opposition. One such long throw was headed only half-clear, looping invitingly to the edge of the box – unfortunately, it was met on the half-volley by their onrushing centre-mid, slicing a wonderful strike into the top corner.

At 1-0 down, our heads could have dropped. But we kept pressing, trying to play the ball around in spite of the hard and bobbling conditions. Ralph’s goal was rarely threatened for the rest of the first half, and a good team move put Dave in on goal. However, the angle was too tight, and the oppo ‘keeper made a routine stop.

The start of the second half continued in the same scrappy manner, and for me the highlight of the match was Jason’s ongoing duel with his opposing full-back. After beating him for pace and winning some crucial tackles, Jason was hacked down just inside his own half. The resulting exchange was both hilarious, and probably unrepeatable. However Jason once again came out on top.

Overall, though we battled well we didn’t manage to carve out any real opportunities – a couple of loose free kicks on the edge of their area, and a mazy run from Kuldeep (which started from bringing the ball out in his own half from centre back) was all we could really muster. The oppo were thwarted twice by excellent point-blank saves from Ralph, who also dominated his area where possible and had the bravery to attempt to claim a number of tricky crosses.

Will and Colin had a bit of bad luck, the former getting a stinging ball to the face, and the latter appearing to have been mistaken for a substitute stranded on the touchline. As a team we can feel a little unlucky not to have been playing against 10 men in the 2nd half – or in fact we did, for all of 30 seconds. The referee rescinding a 2nd yellow for the oppo’s troublesome Rory Delap, after he had kicked the ball away after being initially booked for a free kick. Some creative words (lies) with the referee managed to convince him that he’d booked the wrong player, and he was ushered back on.

MOTM this week was Andy – as usual solid and reliable in the tackle, and probably our most composed player on the ball in tricky conditions. He dribbled the ball out of defence well and managed to get beyond his winger, offering a real threat going forward.

Similarly to the story of our whole season, a lot of ifs and buts – well, there’s always next year…