Report by Jatin Patel
Prime time slot on the show pitch and on a lovely sunny afternoon it was time for Titans to iron out the kinks in their game.
Pre match analysis was balanced between whether to have a minutes silence before the game or at 3pm and ticking off the list of injuries that Pokey has endured.
A disjointed start to the game (Chairman Beechener managing to take to the field with no stick!) did not lead to many early chances. H&W settled better and edged the early possession but most danger was being snuffed out by sweeper Pokey ably supported by Toby Munyard and Howard Clayden.
Some slack marking almost led to an opener for the away team and consecutive short corners seemed to wake Titans from their lethargy.
Industrious running from Howie Wilson and Brian Cade in midfield and crisper passing across the team and Titans started to gain the upper hand.
H&W keeper was now being brought into action as Shami Shukla and skipper Jatin Patel started to weave around the defence. A couple of short corners disappointingly came to nothing and whilst H&W were not creating much Dickie Beechener was brought into action to make a smart save from a half chance.
As half time neared strong tackling in midfield from Laurence Taylor broke down a H&W move, the ball breaking to Biffi to find Greg, who fed Arnie Shukla who held off the attention of 2 defenders and the keeper to squeeze the ball home for the home teams opener.
Half time score Titans 1-0 was just about a fair reflection of the half.
Titans began the second half at a quicker pace and with added ‘freshness’ of Wiz and Greg Wildisen from the bench started to stretch the away team. Ali Priestley was making his trademark nuisance of himself on the left of midfield, giving the opposition no time on the ball.
Titans were creating more but still seemed to be hitting the opposition keeper on the ground rather than going aerial.
Midway through the half Toby Munyard linked up with Biffi who threaded a fine pass to Shami whose diz-daz on the ball totally outfoxed the defence. After about 3 attempts at what loosely could be described as tackles, the opposition keeper decided enough was enough and chopped Shami down. Umpire Ray pointed to the spot, captains call for Howard Clayden to take the flick and in his usual clinical manner the ball was despatched top right – keeper no chance, 2-0 Titans and seemingly in control.
Back came H&W and Titans then down to 10 as Clayden was carded for a “professional tackle” breaking up an attack.
The minutes silence broke Titans rhythm and from a weak short corner H&W pulled one back. Titans upped their game and started to attack in numbers again, with chances going begging. A break from defence by Taylor, Cade overlapping on a decoy run gave Wildisen the chance to put the game beyond doubt but his sat nav failed at the last minute and the shot was wide.
Into the last minute and a flowing move between Wiz, Jatin and Shami resulted in the ball being squared back to Howie halfway inside the D to cooly flick the ball at height into the net (was more of a fluff as the trajectory and speed of the shot threw everyone)
This was the last play of the match, ending 3-1 to the Titans.
Well deserved drinks followed!