Old Meadonians 5 – Old Tiffs 0
There are some cultures that cherish defiant defeats. Dunkirk. Okinawa. Man City’s relegation to Division 1 from the Championship.
This defeat – for all the Viking Saga overtones of Shaun’s 3 day victory celebrations after beating AZ Alkmaar – is not another instalment in our heroic rearguard performances this season – at least until the last 15 minutes, when the Oppo’s rolling subs and increasingly youthful team threatened to open the floodgates.
Instead, we are all left with a perplexing performance where PK put in a masterclass anchoring midfield, and we dominated the first half strongly. Neat one and two touch football let us pass it around and through them in midfield.
Jed and Dave Harry played neat triangles down the right. Josh played a captain’s role in goal and then alongside PK – and James picked up where he left off last week.
Viv had a strong game down the left until he tightened up in the second half.
The ref – the cheerful fella who reffed the 1s game at the neighbouring Bank of England ground in December – was even-handed, as the game became a little more physical.
Del became acquainted with Old Meadonians’ two centre-backs – and was a focal point for the attack.
Chances fell to Old Tiffs at regular intervals – James nodded a free kick onto the top of the crossbar – and we were getting to the byline regularly.
Amongst the flurry of Purple chances, their 9 got free, level with the edge of 6 yard box and chipped a cross in. Josh leapt salmon-like to tip it away from the onrushing forward – only to see the ball volleyed in first time, looping into the goal.
The second saw a long punt forward take a wicked bounce to confound our defence and fall to their 9, who steered it past Josh from inside the box.
After dominating the half, to go in two down was hard to take. But Old Meadonians were the more worried side.
They changed shape at half time to push two strikers up on our back 3, who had comfortably absorbed their through balls to their lone striker. Sniffer had channelled his inner Laurent Blanc, consistently bringing the ball out.
Unfortunately, they also subbed off their ineffective left winger (who failed to square to their centre forward on four occasions inside the box in the first half).
The first 20 minutes of the second half saw Old Meadonians throw on younger subs and we lost our midfield dominance.
But we were still passing it around younger legs (and through them in PK’s case) as the second half wore on.
Their keeper made a couple of important saves to keep Old Tiffs out denying Paul Banoub and others on several occasions.
The best save of the match – apart from Baile’s near post block from 4 yards – was James’s one on one save from the 9. Unfortunately, the ball ran free, and the 9 snaffled a second.
A fourth – a free header from a cross – and a fifth followed, as we started to run out of puff.
But as the sun shone down, for a good 60 minutes, Old Tiffs’ version of total football shimmered. One passing move – going on the deck between five players down the right before Paul just, JUST, couldn’t steer in the cross was as good a move as the team has put together in the last month.