It was a rainy. It was cold. It was against Hampton, a long-standing Tiffinian foe. We were in for either a fantastic game, or a dire game.
Having decided to use this week to try out a few of the promising talents from the 3s, Tiffin started with a full quota of 14 men, with the exception of Aidan, who after a short time out back at university, had forgotten his boots. Good start.
From the off, OTFC pressed and were almost immediately rewarded with a goal in the murky grey Surrey gloom. The Hampton keeper misfired a goal kick straight to Ben Harrison in midfield, who found Paul Mackay-Thomas with a delightful through-ball, chipping the keeper with the outside of the boot into the wind for the ball to nestle cheekily in the bottom corner. 1-0 to the good guys.
Old Hamptonians immediately struck back with a strong finish of their own, albeit with more than a shade of offside, but credit to their winger who shot-crossed the ball straight into the roof of the net from a tight angle past debutant keeper Jack Gould. 1-1 at half time.
The Tiffin midfield looked incredibly strong throughout the game, bossed by Keiran Olivares-Whitaker and Kevin Paiser, with James Khajenouri, Ben Harrison, and Joe Yates using the width well. Tiffin had chances, many many chances, some may say, but Tiffin also squandered chances. Aidan Smith hit a clear one-on-one straight at the keeper, and injured himself shortly after while trying to redeem himself. Tom Wightwick hit the cross-bar from a free kick, and was so surprised when faced with an open goal he skied it high and wide (and shortly after got into a small fight with their follicly-challenged striker because he pointed out that he was in fact bald.) Joe Yates and Andy Dickenson both wafted the ball gently towards the keeper.
These reprieves eventually allowed Hampton to get a goal against the run of play on a counter-attack, with 10 minutes to go, taking advantage of some tired and mud-stricken legs. 1-2 to the bad guys.
But the purple-headed resolve eventually shone through with nearly the last kick of the game – Tom Wightwick, marauding from CB, played a through ball that could only be parried by the keeper, straight into the feet of one of the bright young talents. ‘Khaj’ (because as Tiffinians, we aren’t that good at spelling complicated names) found the net from a tight angle to grab a draw from the jaws of defeat. 2-2 final score.
The full three points were perhaps let slip by the mighty 2s today, meaning their attempt to challenge the division leaders has taken a few knocks in recent weeks. Some strong debut performances today from Kevin Paiser in midfield and Jack Gould between the sticks as well…but that, dear readers, can resume after Christmas. For now, a hot shower, a muddy slice of tasteless pizza and a mince pie will have to suffice.
Wishing you a peaceful and purple time this festive season.
See below for overall MOTM Keiran OW’s post-game interview, conducted by the referee, analysing his yellow card, how a team can earn two points from a game, and conveniently did not cover the fact he was partially at fault for both goals.