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Sports in Chiswick

Old Meadonians

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With the Old Meadonians’ first team fixture cancelled due to a rain affected pitch it fell to their second team to carry Meads’ banner into battle on Saturday and carry it they did, to excellent effect, triumphing over doughty hosts, Nottsborough, an amalgam of Loughborough and Nottingham University graduates, from the Southern Amateur League after a titanic struggle.

This has given manager Stuart Minors ‘Young Turks’, with an average age in the low twenties, a well earned place in the final of the most coveted Amateur Football Alliance cup for second teams. It is also a reward for them for avenging Nottsborough’s defeat of Meads’ first team in the Senior cup. The large, well prepared pitch at the Kingston University ground at Tolworth provided the perfect surface for open football, firm well grassed but with enough moisture to allow the ball to move around smoothly, thus putting a priority on pace.

The only drawback was the exposed setting, which was attended by a sharp breeze gusting down a slight slope. Meads had to face this in the first half. However, even though the hosts dwarfed them man for man and were happy to use this advantage, the visitors’ youthful team withstood an almost continuous siege to turn round just one down. On the restart as usual the wind dropped to a gentle zephyr, having first done a good job of drying out the surface so that the ball became more difficult to move distances.

Nonetheless Meads set about the task of pinning the graduates back confident that goal kicks would now clear the halfway line and proper support could be given to front runners. They set about besieging the hosts but still found their front runners unable to break free of defensive tentacles.

The hosts still had enough fight in them to be dangerous in prolonged breakaways during which they could have made themselves safer by scoring instead of hitting the post when it was easier to do the former. In the first half complaint had been that Meads had given away too many freekicks in vulnerable positions and now Nottsborough fell into the same trap. Here the visitors were to reap the benefit of the experience of two former first team players, Kevin Quinn and Dan Bond, in midfield. Following four freekicks from within thirty yards which Quinn had bent round the wall to go close, he found a gap between the keeper and post for the equaliser with twenty minutes to go.

Still it seemed that the winner would not come until with the referee looking at his watch a master stroke was pulled. Shaping to bend in another effort Quinn ran over the ball and, with perfect timing, was onto Bond’s dink over the top. He had time and the presence of mind to check his run and put the ball past the keeper from eight yards to give cheer to a hardy knot of supporters including first team coaches Paul Rumley and Rory Vermeulen. Kevin Quinn was named MoM for his non-stop commitment topped off by his two goals.

Team: S. Greening, Jordan, Merryweather, (J. Lovell), Queensborough, Bond, Quinn, Dyett, Morris, J. Willis, Jovelic, (Jones), Bridle.

February 28, 2007