Old Mead’s Back on Top Form
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division - Old Meadonians 5 Southgate County 1
This was Old Meadonians almost back at their most relentless and clinical best at Riverside Lands on Saturday as they shrugged off a vigorous but naive challenge from promotees Southgate County. With A.F.A. Player of the year Allastair McCombe back but given a mid-field role mid-air resolution was considerably strengthened compared with their defence’s indecisive work in the air last week.
Up front striker Colin Hawkins’ confidence improves with every outing following his six week’s absence due to injury. He and partner Leon Smith, fresh from scoring two goals for the A.F.A. against Cambridge University midweek, proved too hot for the visitors to handle.
This was not before the hosts had had to absorb sustained early pressure led by County’s ace representative striker Peter Eguae. Meads’ ploy to give centre back Laurie Pointer the job of close marking Eguae meant that he was seldom given the chance to turn unaccompanied and rarely given the space to generate pace on the ball which is his main weapon.
Coach Paul Rumley’s decision to start David Gerrish wide on the left of mid-field gave the added solidarity needed to douse the visitors’ ardour. It was Gerrish who started the move that signalled the end of the opening phase of the game after twenty minutes. He fed the ball down the left and when Hawkins’ pace took him to the by-line his fierce cross was volleyed in by Smith.
Within five minutes Smith had been set free by Pete Lovell on the right thirty yards out and his pace and power took him through to score emphatically from a narrow angle. County could have been buried before half time as both Lovell and McCombe hit the bar with headers and their keeper froze on his near post while Hawkins massive forty yard lob just faded past the far post. Fifteen minutes after the restart centre back Brain Hanley kept up the momentum by stabbing in a loose ball following in a corner.
County were then thrown a straw to clutch at when a tackle where the ball was firmly played first and contact with the player seemed incidental was deemed illegal and Peter Eguae converted the penalty. Meads’ response was to turn the screw a couple more notches by giving Ed Glover his second outing following his long period out injured on the left and putting on Smith’s speedy brother Dwayne on the right.
Ten minutes later Glover showed a clean pair of heels down the left and unleashed a screamer into the top corner from twenty yards and to rub it in Hawkins left a trail of three recumbent defenders and dribbled round the keeper to roll the ball home. The MoM award went to Laurie Pointer for his excellent close marking job.
Team: Glenn, Hanley, Salanson, Pointer, Lovell, Hugh Jones, McCombe, W. Gerrrish, ( Rhone), D. Gerrish, ( D. Smith), L. Smith, (Glover), Hawkins.
February 15, 2007