Titans close ranks for valuable draw

Match report by Shamit Shukla

After a goal fest of the previous week against H&W, the Titans were arrived away at Old Georgians. The sun came out and the team readied themselves. Delays on the M25 meant that Wolfe and Peds missed the warm, arriving as ball was pushed back for the start of what was to be ‘a game of two halves’.Immediately, OG’s pressed and put the Titans under what would would eventually prove to be  too much pressure.

Randall who was keeping for the Titans did his best to keep the ball out of his goal, but with his defence slipping at crucial moments and the team struggling to adjust to a bouncey pitch, very quickly found himself on the wrong side of a 3 on 1.OG ‘s 1 up after 3 minutes. They exerted more pressure, winning short corners and making the most of some wasteful Titan possession. However, their wastefulness in front of goal was to be ventilation prove costly.With Biffi injured, Peds settled in to the heart of the defence alongside Brian Cade.

The midfield of Nigel, Wiz and Ben did their best to retain to possession but were finding it very difficult to link the play to the forward line of Gregg, Tony James and 5 goal hero from the previous week Jatin Patel.The Titans kept the defence and midfield fresh by rotating their subs Anand Shukla up front and Nick Hollet in defence. We were working hard just to keep the deficit to 1. However, OG’s seemed to have weaknesses at the back and once you could bypass their midfield, you stood a chance of penetrating their D.The Titans did exactly that. Wining the odd short corner and testing the more than accomplished OG’s keeper.

However a pivotal moment can when Jatin Patel latched on to a ball and took on the last defender and attacked the right hand side of the D. Taking his aim, he let fire an unusual shot. Not his usual bullet of a strike, his stick connected with the very top of the ball. The top spin was unreal. The OG’s keeper seemed to have too much time, but his inability to read the spin meant he could only shin the ball in to his own net. 1-1 with half time looming. At the half time break, Team Manager Mike Poulton, made the tactical change of going to a 4-4-2. Genius !

Nigel Knight, partnering Wiz in the centre , flanked by Ben and Gregg then dominated the midfield for the duration of the second half. Jatin and Tony regularly testing the keeper. Laurence Taylor began to exploit the right hand side, going on his trademark bustling right wing penetrating runs.The Titans were dominating the game, but just unable to score in open play and also unable to convert one of their many short corners. With the score at 1-1, OG’s were playing counter acting stuff. Aided by their umpires, they tested the defence with a few short corners. But Randall would not be beaten. Slapping away their drag flicks and using his extra long limbs to keep their strikes at bay.

The final 10 minutes were nerve racking. But the substitutes kept up the Titan intensity and a draw was the eventual outcome. A fair result.  An amazing effort from every team member. Special mention to the lack of OG’s lack of Tea’s and hospitality – the bar was closed and they had no food for us. Were they really that rattled !! We left hungry and thirsty!Can’t wait to offer them the same hospitality after we destroy them at the gate.