OTFC vets 1 West End vets 4
- D Rose
- T Wightwick
- P Markham
- P Stephens
- Carl Naylor
- J Kent
- K Ryan
- A Rawlinson
- L Silva
- R Evelyn
- N Sprunt
- B Dougan
- W Arlow
When the big clubs in English football go scouting for new talent, they have networks that cover the globe. When Tiffs coach Walker wants new blood, he heads straight to the annual Fat Dads match in Haslemere.
Two new faces – Paul and Brendan – were introduced as a result of this foray, though to be fair in one case it was more of a re-recruitment, as Brendan used to play for Tiffs in years gone by.
But even this extra injection of skill, pace and panache could not save Tiffs from a larruping at the hands of West End, a team who only play friendlies but invariably win every game.
Walker was in experimental mode as the match started, keeping Carl and Nigel on the bench alongside Wazza. Was it a punishment to players who had bungled penalties earlier in the season? Who knew, but these guys were missed as West End began the game with a purpose.
Their forward line – big, bulky but with skill and pace as well, the rotters – were giving Tiffs defence a tough time, while further up the pitch our midfield was unable to stem the flow of attacks.
Dan Rose, in goal, pulled off an absolute blinder of a one handed save to stop a header in the first five minutes, tipping it over on the stretch when the ball was arriving waist high, at pace.
In another attack, a long cross from their right reached the far post where the West End captain – all 6ft 7ins of him – was arriving for the header, but he put it over.
Tiffs midfield began to play its way into the game but the defence didn’t look secure and eventually it buckled. A high ball was not managed well and suddenly a break was on.
The ball was fed into the Tiffs box and the striker met it running across the area milli-seconds before Jon Kent. Still heading sideways he still managed a powerful shot which Dan could do nothing to stop.
It was time to ring the changes and on came Naylor and Sprunt to give the lads a shot in the arm. Carl, who had been watching grim-faced, marshalled the troops and the half finished at 1-0.
We looked steadier but the oppo looked more likely to score than us and sure enough, it happened. A cross ball from their left was chased over hit, pursued by Markham at right back and their left winger. The situation seemed to be in hand but the bearded maestro managed to make space to pass it back across the six yard box for a Westender to score.
Another ten minutes and another clever cut back, finished well by one of their front two.
Luckily Markham was taking some brilliant throw-ins on the right and he conjured up the Tiffs goal. The original throw was headed back, so Markham used the roundhouse technique to deliver the ball to Sprunt in the area.
It was a wonderful pass and that man from Withers (who are a fantastic legal firm, since you ask) did the easy bit, playing keepy uppy back to goal before slamming it into the net for 3-1.
There was time for one more special moment. The aforementioned bearded maestro skipped clear late in the game, but mishit his shot terribly. He pretty much cursed in embarrassment, turning round to apologise to team mates for the tap which bibbledy-bobbled it’s way to Dan’s waiting hands.
But our keeper – who’d pulled off some great saves and may have been our best player – had an absent moment, and the non-shot squirmed under him into the net.
To be fair, 4-1 was the least West End deserved. Thank goodness we don’t play them every week.