First game of a new year for the new Gaffer, and his master stroke of moving the game to an all-weather surface, saw the game go ahead on a wet windy Saturday afternoon. A good turnout saw a strong Tiffs side take the field. Kinchin was running late, initially we thought he had been protesting in London following in the footsteps of his revolutionary hero Wat Tyler, turned out he had been at the New Den getting himself warmed up for the game with some Millwall ultras!
Tiffs started well and an early chance fell to Ahmeti, one on one with their keeper he seemed to get the ball caught under his feet and the opportunity had gone. Sniffer and Jones were solid at the back and Omo and Wilkins ran their legs off in the midfield all game, any of these four could have been POTM. Ahemti and McGregor busy up top. Moodley and Gibbons on the left with Harry and Phelps on the right. The early Tiffs momentum was ended by a hanging cross form the right and a towering header giving Claygate the lead.
The moment of the match came from Allen in goal. The goals always seem massive on artificial pitches and with a Claygate player clean through 8 yards out his shot goal bound, celebrations already beginning, Allen stuck out a big left hand and pulled off a truly unbelievable save. Kept us in the game at the turn.
More hustle and bustle into the wind in the second half but to no avail. Claygate got a second and seemed in control. With Leary and Smith already on it was time to unleash Kinchin. “…here comes elbows” was the cry from the oppo as his arms and legs were everywhere, kicking anything that moved, apart form the ball! Wilkins, Leary and Phelps seemed to take the oppositions reprisals. Phelps took a nasty fall on his elbow, but no one noticed!
Allen, your scribes POTM, pulled off his second blinding save of the match. A shot hit the post, somehow came back across the goal line, from a yard out Allen blocked the follow up shot. Not sure he new much about it, and certainly the oppo did not know how it stayed out!
With time running out Smith found Leary who lifted the ball over the on-rushing keeper into the back of the net, like McAvennie and Cottee of old! With 10 minutes remaining was there time for the league’s draw specialists to steal a point? A couple of corners saw Tiffs have a go but Claygate won to avenge their defeat in the same fixture at the start of the season.
The Weir pub was a good find, time to reflect, refresh and prepare to go again next week! Phelps and Kinchin both giving their elbows time to recover!
Player of the Match brought to you by Smart Kids in Town