Old Meads Stopped Clock On Waning Fortunes
Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup Semi-final - Old Meadonians 2 Alleyn Old Boys 1
One is tempted to refer to Mark Antony’s funeral oration for Julius Caesar: (according to Shakespeare!) "I come to bury……etc etc” zzzzzz when looking for suitable descriptive language for possible pre-match expectations of this encounter. However, anyone thinking Meads would roll over and usher in a new era was in for a surprise as the ‘old dogs’ stopped the clock on their supposedly waning fortunes to edge into their fourth Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup final in seven years at Bank of England sports ground on Saturday.
For once the score-line does not distort the facts as two mid-table teams, one, stolid and stalwart, from the prestigious Southern Amateur League, one, steadfast in their self-belief from the mighty Amateur Football Combination, vied in vain for the safe haven of a two goal cushion in an evenly contested bout more akin to an attritional tug of war than any duel with its cut and thrust. In the end it was Meads’ experience, the menace of their two pacy league representative front men Peter Eguae and Leon Smith, slightly superior work rate, stamina and trade mark will to win which saw them through, but not before they knew they were in a fight.
After the initial skirmishing it was Meads who put in the first sustained push and in a ten minute period twenty minutes in they had a Kevin Quinn shot charged down, Allastair McCombe put a header from a corner just over and Smith wriggled clear on the left to hit the post from a narrow angle. Meads broke the deadlock thanks to a superb goal from midfielder Ed Glover. Quinn’s in-swinging corner was partially cleared and headed back in from the left by Laurie Pointer for Glover to execute a perfect bicicletta. This was a signal for Alleyns to reverse roles and put the screws on Meads who were reduced to last ditch stuff and were thankful to keeper Shannon Toyne for two classy saves. They were not to survive this onslaught as, with five minutes of the half remaining, a well-struck free kick from thirty five yards was headed in from the right for a quality equaliser.
On the restart it was the mixture as before for twenty minutes when Will Gerrish fed the ball up to the predatory Smith who cut inside two defenders and finished with aplomb from twelve yards. As in the first period Meads now found themselves defending desperately for the final ten minutes of the game but held out with keeper Toyne again in fine shot stopping form. Meads will now be underdogs for a final on 12th April against in-form Nottsborough at H.S.B.C. but that won’t worry them.
The mangement gave the MoM award to the indefatigable Will Gerrish who shaded Shannon Toyne.
The game was a perfect example of good spirit with the officials well able to keep calm control. Many thanks go to the Bank of England Sports Club for arrangements which were excellent. Splendid, even ‘Splendide’ or ‘Ritzy’ are the adjectives that spring to mind with the A.F.A.’s Mike Brown, a Bank member, buzzing round ensuring silky smoothness and on top finding time to put his physio’s hat on and give Peter Eguae a pre-match massage! In the pavilion after the match one would not have been surprised to see Hercules Poirot walk the door, so complete was the setting. Mike was ably abetted byhis Bank colleague, my old friend, protege and former eminent Meads’ player, Alan Powell who made a sprightly ballboy, looking fit enough to be on the pitch and braving briar and thicket to retrieve balls hoofed off the pitch.
Team: Toyne, Salanson, McCombe, Pointer, Glover, (Lovell), Gerrish, Hugh Jones, Quinn, Rhone, (K.Smith), Eguae, L. Smith.
March 11, 2008