Riding high on a wave from beating Indian Gymkhana for the second time this season, Titans were in an optimistic frame of mind when they arrived in the Royal County of Berkshire. Peds had passed a late fitness test (or just managed to borrow a tighter pair of compression socks – whichever you prefer) and Justin had declared himself fit following a stick to the midriff the previous week leaving a bruise in the shape of Cyprus (officially the Republic of Cyprus, the island country south of the Anatolian Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.) What could go wrong…….
We started with an attacking line up of three in the midfield and three up front, looking to take the game to the opposition, after all we have been scoring goals this season. Before we knew it, we were two down within ten minutes! Cut apart in the 25 by direct intelligent attacks drawing defenders and slipping to free players with the time and space to finish.
Because we’ve all played together for such a long time, I feel sure I was not alone in thinking, “We have been here before!” Just substitute the narrative of any Titans/Flagons/3As/4As game at Reading in the past twenty years and you’ll get the picture.
We just needed to get to half time with the game still within our grasp and have a rethink. Jatin scored one from open play (Bang) following some superb work from Brian but then again so did they!
Half time score 3-1. Surely we could do better in the second half? A formation change bringing an extra player into the midfield would give Reading less time on the ball, wouldn’t it? And so it proved to be. All hail visionary Peds! All of a sudden, they appeared rushed, turned over the ball and Titans grew into the game. Despite another goal from Reading, two more goals from Jatin (completing his hat trick) helped to raise the mood. The first, a trademark Zig Zag (Bang Bang) and the second a backboard buster from a corner (Bang Bang Bang) took the game to 4-3 with about 10 minutes to go.
Now was the time to gamble, we could get a draw out of this!! Unfortunately Reading disagreed, converting a late flick awarded for a foot on the line and the game was done. The final score line not really reflecting the great strides Titans had made in the second half. Certainly there are lessons to be learned, not least of which is how to play against a team that spends a lot of time in possession of the ball. We have a few of those teams coming up……
The final lesson to be learned was the tea – Sausage, Chips and Beans! No further comment required!
Men of the Match (and I know this is like having more than one Best Man at a wedding): Jatin for his 3 goals, Justin for his quality saves, Howie for hitting the post twice and Laurence for his defensive masterclass. Let’s see how that looks on the team of the week graphic!!!
Nicholas John Robinson (Age 61 years and 5 days)