OTFC IIs 2-5 Mickleham Old Boxhillians IIs
Old Tiffs came armed to Box Hill with a full squad of 14 with the notable return from injury of one vice captain Will Forsyth to get excited about!
An Old Tiffs debut for Mitch at right back and 2s debuts for Ed and Dan. Otherwise a strong squad of regular 2s players ready and willing.
We started by losing the toss which meant facing the low sun for the first half. This small detail was to become our downfall. The home knowledge of the sun and sloping pitch gave the oppo an immediate advantage. From the off, Old Tiffs were under pressure, more pressure than we needed to be. The home fixture was one of our season high points, we took a 4-0 lead and a great win (okay we let two late goals in). All the more disappointing then that we found ourselves under so much pressure.
Despite holding off the onslaught for good periods, Old Tiffs never looked overly comfortable. Having played in a 4-4-1-1, skipper took to change into a more traditional 4-4-2 bringing on Tommo and asking James to drop back to centre mid. The idea being providing the front two with a platform to attack from. Although we played well in small periods, we eventually succumbed and let two goals past us both from set pieces. During one of these periods of possession, the ball was played to Tom Nichols, 35 yards out and left of the goal Tom unleashed his foot cannon and we were back in it.
Spurred on and playing well, Old Tiffs again became suppressed, this time by the referee. Football is a contact sport, but apparently not in Box Hill. A couple of tackles on a very slippery pitch and a shoulder to shoulder too many and our first yellow card came, Mitch got the ball… but the player was in the way!
Halftime we walked to the touch line 3-1 down, but we now had the sun and the slope in our favour.
We started the half with great enthusiasm and most of the possession, for 30 minutes, everything was Old Tiffs, we played well from the back, kept the ball moving in the midfield, we had good interplay and were utilising the width, slope and on occasion the now dwindling sun to our advantage, through ball … Kuldeep rounds the keeper, James celebrates, Kuldeep takes two more touches, James continues celebrating, Kuldeep scores, the rest of us celebrate!
2-3 and we were cruising, the only thing we needed to get right was connecting our strikers to the game, we had by this point barely utilised them. Dave and Tommo worked tirelessly, but as a team we hadn’t managed to engage them properly, they were feeding off scraps.
It was at about this point where Josh left his foot in late and the heroic dive from the oppo earned us a second yellow and the oppo the obvious ridicule. As Mr Daley got up and adjusted his speedos the crowd offered perfect 10s in appreciation. But it was from this that their lead was again increased by another set piece goal against us.
Late into the game, Old Tiffs now back to a 4-4-1-1 formation, an oppo goal kick… Skipper Dicky was backed into, the whistle went, the oppo apologised for a foul, incredibly the ref gave a direct free kick to Boxhillians… 5-2.
At the end of the game, it was clear that we had the beating of them, but our first half performance in admittedly very difficult conditions gave us too much to do in the final 25 mins.
Special mentions to Tom for a spectacular goal, Kuldeep for narrowly missing out on a MOTM performance and another great goal, Dan and Ed on their brilliant 2s debuts, Will, its just good to have him back, but mostly for Mitch our debutant and for taking home the MOTM.