Match Report by Jatin Patel
Titans travelled to last year’s league winners away at Dulwich College. A tough game as always away to TH&D, although we did win by a narrow margin last year so that was definitely fresh in our minds and an achievable task. TH&D dictated the pace of the game from the off. They moved the ball well and were looking to get the early goal to settle. We found ourselves on the back foot yet again trying to defend the 1st 10 mins and on occasions managed to get the ball up front only to meet a resilient defence who cleared up well. A tough afternoon was in store and we just had to be patient and keep fighting on all fronts. We needed to find our feet, well that was a bit of an understatement as our first casualty of the day limped off having pulled/twisted his back.
Loosing Peds meant we had to reshuffle our defence and the ever reliable Biffi stepped in to take the reins ably supported by Wolffe, Laurence and Howie Wilson (Silver Medallist) freshly returning from the Master O55s world cup stint in SA. We have been here before, and we needed to settle quickly but TH&D were steam rolling us and deservedly scored the opening goal with a well worked passage of play. Its going to be a long afternoon, but Titans were still in the match and our Mantra, We don’t stop till the final Whistle and with that mentality in mind, we dug in and our persistence paid off with a fine taken goal by Greg who was at hand to find the corner of the goal with ease.
The rest of the half was played with intensity from both teams and opportunities were plenty and the half ended at 1-1. A quick chat – lets do X, Y & Z and keep going. We have a second half to play and who knows we may just end up enjoying the rest of the weekend but it will be hard work to get there! We started with conviction, we wanted this more, we have been here before and so it began. We found ourselves stringing passes with patience, we changed the positions of a few personnel, Wiz moved to RB (must have been hard as there was no pass to make on the right anymore except up the line or recycle back round 😊), Nigel & Ben played more central and began marshalling the midfield, Brian moved left Mid and used his pace to cause havoc, Arnie helped keep the width and options available up front ably assisted by Greg.
Ali Priestly (TH&D Nemesis) chose the ideal match to return from injury, started where he left off last time we met them with just being a thorn and breaking down their smooth play. Howard Clayden, another returnee from Injury fitted in quite well in front of defence helping move the passage of play left to right (could have dropped a few aerials) and suddenly it all looked like a different game was being played. The hard work paid off and we were awarded a SC. The DNA of the Zig Zag is safely embedded in the other Titans as that execution meant we took the lead 2-1. TH&D were still causing problems and weren’t ready to loose. Soon after we took the lead, they were off the blocks again and within a minute equalised to make the score line 2-2.
We were in the middle of celebrating the lead and keeping shape but they slipped through. They clearly stepped up a gear and were still applying untold pressure but we have Justin, our last line of defence who when called upon made saves with his pads, hands, shoulder, gloves etc, You name it, he did it! We carried on with being patient and built good passage so play keeping possession so that we can control the game and not surrender as we know how much of a threat they were. It was at this point that we took the game by the horns and we found the extra momentum to attack and go for the win. We created chances when we got into the D, a few more SCs should have been awarded but we went again and again and were duly rewarded for our efforts when Greg again stepped up to score the winner with the game heading into the final 5 mins. A mistake by their keeper was enough for Greg to jab the loose ball into the goal and his second of the day and that settled it. The final whistle was music to our ears and a well-deserved performance from the Titans.