Ironies Intervene As Old Mead’s Beat Salvos
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division: Old Salvatorians 2 Old Meadonians 3
The ‘pay to play’ world of the Amateur Football Combination premiership emulated its big brother in the professional sphere when Old Meadonians visited newly promoted Old Salvatorians on Saturday.
Salvos’ newly appointed first team manager is Stuart Minors who, during his charismatic two year tenure as manager of Meads’ reserves, had built up his young squad into a highly successful unit which last season might well have swept the board in the four competitions they entered.
As it was they won two cups, were beaten finalists in another and finished second in the league in the division just below Meads’ first team. However, having failed to land the job of manager of Meads’ firsts, Minors decided to take up the offer of being in charge of improvers, Old Salvatorians.
Here two ironies also intervened: firstly, as Meads’ reserves could not be promoted into the same division as their first team, by lifting his charges into an end of season promotion slot, Minors enabled Old Salvatorians to be promoted when they only finished third, nine points adrift of the promotion places.
Secondly, it was one of Stuart Minors former protégés, striker Leon Smith, who was instrumental in Salvos’ downfall on Saturday with a brace of goals, one in the ninetieth minute, in an outstanding performance. Although Meads started brightly, it was the hosts who took a shock lead on ten minutes when Shannon Toyne saved a fierce twenty yard shot at full stretch and the rebound fell kindly for the follow up. Meads continued to press until half time and both Peter Eguae and Ed Glover were just wide.
Just before the interval the predatory Smith had a goal disallowed for a marginal offside. Five minutes after the restart Meads’ persistence was rewarded when Mike Richards’ shot from just inside the area was blocked and the evergreen Kevin Quinn notched the equaliser from the loose ball.
Ten minutes later the visitors took the lead through an excellent four man move which cut through the heart of Salvos’ midfield. The ball was relayed from Luke Graham to Glover, on to sub Will Gerrish and thence to Smith who beat his man on the right and rifled the ball into the far corner from fifteen yards.
Meads now made the uncharacteristic mistake of resting on their laurels allowing the hosts to equalise as the ball was headed in from a freekick but the last word went to Smith when Eguae beat two players and put him in. Smith’s shot rocketed into the top corner in the dying seconds.
At this point of the season every game is a six-pointer but this was a necessary morale boosting first win for Meads. It was also good to see Will Gerrish making his first start in almost a year following knee surgery. The MoM award went to Leon Smith.
Team: Toyne, Graham, Pointer, Pilcher, Lloyd, Glover, (Durnford), Richards, Thompson, Quinn, (Gerrish), Eguae, L. Smith.
October 16, 2008