Old Meads’ Reputation Overawes Opponents
Amateur Football Alliance Middlesex and Essex Intermediate Cup Final : Old Meadonians Second Eleven 4 Old Manorians Second Eleven 1
With the Amateur Football Combination League Representative team in action in a national cup semi-final Old Meadonians’ first team did not have a game on Saturday. This allows the spotlight to be justifiably directed onto Meads’ youthful second team who are in unstoppable form this season.
Before last Saturday’s kick-off at the Civil Service ground they had already won the A.F.A. Intermediate Cup, beating local rivals, Polytechnic, 1-0 at Old Actonians two weeks ago. They also have seven games in hand on the league leaders, face Old Wilsonians in the semi-final of the London Old Boys’ Intermediate Cup this coming Saturday and thus have a distinct chance of a clean sweep of all competitions they have entered.
Meads’ reputation had gone before them and their opponents on Saturday, Old Manorians, from three divisions below, were obviously overawed by the occasion as well and consequently froze, rarely making themselves more than a slight irritation. As if that were not enough to contend with, the underdogs handed over something which the favourites did not really need but, nonetheless, were not going to spurn, a two goal lead within twenty minutes.
Both goals came from the curse of all goalies from internationals downwards: They are not allowed to make mistakes as, inevitably, they are fatal. This was demonstrated on ten minutes, when Meads already had a grip on the game. A gentle back pass from twenty yards out was allowed to pass under the Manorians’ keeper’s foot and the ball had enough legs to cross the line.
Five minutes later the same keeper found himself inexplicably stranded and helpless fifteen yards from his line as mid-fielder Michael Dermott’s brilliantly executed lob passed over him into the empty net from thirty yards out. Meads now had the match by the throat as skipper Damien Redding, revelling in his liberated role as left wing back, saw his fierce drive from ten yards deflected in for a third after thirty five minutes. Five minutes from half time a fourth from a goalmouth melee was mysteriously disallowed as the ref began to lean towards leniency. The second half saw one-way traffic for most of the time with the highlight coming on the hour.
Striker Denver, the lightning quick cutting edge of Meads’ attack, whose selfless running up front had carved jagged holes in the Manorian defence, took his reward with the best goal of the match. Beating his marker on the outside he chose not to centre but cut in from the right and from twenty yards skimmed the ball low into the far corner. Manorians got their consolation when Meads’ normally frugal keeper Simon Greening was deceived by pace off the pitch with five minutes to go.
Team: Greening, Hanley, Japp, Queansboro, Dyett, Reading, (Noble), Flowerday, Thomson, Dermott, (Wolfe), Morris, Mayou, (Javelic)
April 3, 2008