Old Mead’s live to fight another day
London Old Boys Senior Cup - Old Meadonians 4 Honourable Artillery Company 2
Cup holders Old Meadonians live to fight another day thanks to a brilliant hat trick conjured from semi-thin air by lethal young striker Leon Smith at Riverside Lands on Saturday. Meads, missing five from their squad and with injury stricken striker Colin Hawkins making his first start for three months, needed more than a share of luck to master the Gunners who had ended their year long unbeaten record in the league in October. After a hectic start in which Smith was unlucky not to score twice it was the visitors who seemed to have mastered the elements.
They looked the more composed, finding their men with comparative ease and cutting deep into Meads’ defence with a dazzling display of accurate passing. They were rewarded after pinning the hosts back for a solid ten minutes when a poor clearance was pumped back across the goal for a close header to give Kris Sayers no chance. At this point the visitors looked more likely to add to their tally, with Meads who had not played for three weeks looking ring rusty and treading water in their wake.
Their only reply was an Alex Hugh Jones header which hit the outside of thee post. On the half hour, however, came their first break. Mid fielder Pete Lovell played a measured ball down the right for Smith to take it in his stride thirty yards out, power past his marker and beat the advancing keeper from fifteen yards. Despite this, Meads were still on the ropes when within sight of half time, a speculative shot from midfielder Will Gerrish twenty five yards out took a wicked deflection to put Meads in 2-1 up at the break.
It was business as usual on the restart as the visitors regrouped and once more monopolized play. It was as well that Meads’ defence was well martialled by veteran Dermot Jordan against a steady flow of attacks which, nonetheless, still had keeper Sayers in constant demand. The visitors were deservedly back on parity ten minutes in as a poor clearance under pressure allowed an unmarked striker be fed to score comfortably from ten yards.
Again it was the visitors who looked the more likely to forge ahead only to succumb to another deadly strike from Smith. In a mirror image of his first, he latched onto a ball from Laurie Pointer down the left and repeated the exercise. Now H.A.C. were getting more desperate in their efforts to equalize and laid themselves open to punishment. First Smith was unlucky as his lob beat the goalie and the post but with ten minutes to go he picked up a loose ball thirty yards out, sped through ,out flanked the keeper to roll the ball in from the edge of the area and claim the MoM award.
Team: Sayers, Hanley, McCombe, Jordan, Lovell, Gerrish Pointer, Hugh Jones, Rhone, (Quinn), Hawkins, Smith.
October 2, 2007