As OTFC closed into the Christmas break, there was one last hurdle to overcome… Wandsworth. Christmas jumpers at the ready a warm up began. Little did the OTFC giants know what lay ahead. The rollercoaster they were about to ride was starting to wind itself with that familiar click click click up the initial bank of the Richardson Evans most distant pitch (number 13 – lucky for some).

To coin a familiar football cliché, this was to be a game of two halves in more ways than may be appreciated:

There was the first half followed by the second half

There  was the uphill half followed by the downhill half

There was the winning half followed by the loosing half

But mostly the game will be remembered for Dave’s half followed by Kimber’s half

The game kicked off and despite all the hard work on scenarios, drills and a new warm up, OTFC instantly fell back into old ways… a sloppy piece of marking, a ricochet, a keeper forgetting he had hands and Bonar’s arse all contributed to a soul destroying oppo goal. How would OTFC bounce back? Or rather how would Dave bounce back? A low drive from outside the box, a nick from within the 6 yard box and a angled shot on the back foot with a twist and 10 minutes later Dave’s hattrick was complete. Bonar also scored, this time without the use of his arse and in we went to half time confident, buoyant, fit, healthy, and ready for the easier downhill second half. OTFC were 4-1 up and cruising.

We then started the second half by allowing the oppo in for a customary early goal. 4-2… but, quickly we were controlling the game and once again cruising. The ball was predominantly in Wandsworth’s half, we were attacking well and we were on the ball. Their attacks were few and far between… it was then, it was his time, up stepped James Kimber. Oppo corner, headed out, shot back in, a call of “wide” Kimber wasn’t sure, a dive, the ball tipped past the post – it was spectacular. What followed next was less so. A head held in hands, a whistle, an apology, another apology, a show of the fateful red card, a point to the spot, a brief argument, a long trudge to the side of the pitch. Kimber’s game was over. OTFC faced 30 minutes with 10 men against a resurgent Wandsworth about to take a penalty to take them to 3-4. Tom Nichols took a moment to hark back to a 90’s Liverpool legend and faced the Wandsworth striker at the spot, wobbly legs ensued as the striker’s run up started, Nichols narrowed his eyes and crouched ready to pounce (and then didn’t) no worries, ball to post and the game remained at 4-2.

And there it started to go all a little wrong for OTFC; tired legs and a loss in possession, the oppo pushing forward in numbers, calls of “take it to the corner” were ignored. As the latest purple attraction at Thorpe Park clunked and clicked to a halt, OTFC limped over the line 5-4 with one final goal from the forever young Tommo up top.

OTFC took their final game of 2017 with a win.

Mentions must go to a cracking debutant display from Carl (how do you spell your surname?) Jones. A brilliant out of position display from Zeki (left wingback) Akdeniz and Bernard (run all day) Knuchel-Takano who all helped out late in the day.