Meads Turn Up Late & Come Back From The Dead
Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup-Quarter Final :
Old Meadonians 3 U.C.L. Academicals 2
If ever a team deserved such a mixed metaphor headline it is Old Meadonians for their Jekyll and Hyde performance in the quarter final of the prestigious A.F.A. Senior Cup at Riverside Lands on Saturday.
The visitors, top of the table U.C.L., had already taken three points off Meads in the league earlier in the season and soon looked highly likely to inflict a more telling defeat against hosts who might just as well have not been there such was the standard of resistance they provided.
From the opening whistle U.C.L. were carving huge holes in the home defence but on five minutes it was Meads’ now customary indecision in their own penalty area that allowed a swirling cross from the right to pass unhindered into the far corner of the net.
Within two minutes U.C.L. had increased the lead with a perfectly struck free kick from twenty-five yards, after an unnecessary foul, and looked well on the way to handing out a thrashing as from a series of pin-pointed in swinging corners the ball was cleared off the line twice and Meads’ keeper Shannon Toyne made two telling interceptions.
With the hosts all but dead and buried the visitors were to rue scorning two further chances when a close shot hit the post and a far post volley was miscued. Coach Paul Rumley being away on a scouting trip it was left to manager Rory Vermeulen to exhort the home team in the break by calling on the one trait which, he hoped, might not have deserted them, their innate inability to accept defeat.
The effect was electric, as Meads regained their self-belief and tore out of the blocks. It took just five minutes for them to reduce the arrears when the ball was rapidly transferred from Dwayne Rhone to Owen Wolfe and then to Peter Eguae on the right. His cross was met by striker Leon Smith fifteen yards out and, when he was clattered, the ref cleverly allowed advantage for mid-fielder Ed Glover to finish crisply at the far post from a narrow angle.
Meads were now getting behind the U.C.L. defence and forcing them to lie deeper, giving front runners Smith and Eguae opportunities to come off their markers, turn and use their blistering pace to further undermine the now faltering visitors.
On sixty-five minutes Eguae and Smith did a double act and Smith waltzed through and passed the keeper to walk the ball into the empty net. The visitors were now relying on breaks-away but still managed to hit the bar and the tie was finally settled with ten minutes to go when Smith reproduced his sleight of foot with a carbon copy winner to put Meads into a semi-final clash with Alleyn Old Boys at the Bank of England on the 8th of March.
Special mention goes to Leon Smith for his two goals but the MoM award goes to Peter Eguae whose probing and penetrating runs were responsible for pulling the U.C.L. defence out of shape for Smith to benefit.
Team: Toyne, Pointer, McCombe, Palmer, Rhone, Hugh Jones, W.Gerrish, Wolfe, (Quinn), Glover, (P.Lovell), L.Smith, Eguae.
February 12, 2008