Victory Bears Stamp of Painstaking Work Put In by Meads’ Coach
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division - Old Aloysians 0 Old Meadonians 2
Old Meadonians appeared to have put behind them the ‘curate’s egg’ of a pre-season warm up campaign, with a competently wrought two goal win over moderate opposition provided by hosts Old Aloysians at Hornsey on Saturday.
However, there should be no rush of euphoria since this could be a proverbial ‘false dawn’ as their hosts are currently suffering from mass exodus to the semi-pro ranks and their reserves on the adjoining pitch were in the process of getting on the wrong end of a regular ‘towsing’, meaning that they are hardly going to provide new blood. It does mean that Meads have got off to a better start than last year when they gathered one point from their first four games but the greater challenge is likely to come from elsewhere, possibly Hamptonians, whom they meet next Saturday.
This victory bore the stamp of the painstaking work put in by Meads’ coach, Jack Costello in training and his calm but cogent interventions from the touchline. The only word from him which the press were privileged to hear at half time was ‘fellas’ as he gathered the squad about him but we knew that what followed would be precise, put in a manner that could be understood, firm and fit for purpose.
In contrast the hosts seemed relatively rudderless, firing on one and a half cylinders, one of which was former Meads’ striker Kevin Smith who, after showing his paces early on, for the most part ploughed a lone furrow, being neatly enmeshed and corralled by Laurie Pointer, Andy Thompson and Liam Palmer who took it in turns to steer him into a cul-de-sac. With Colin Hawkins less able to sustain a constantly high octane input than of yore, fellow striker Ed Glover concerned with winning the lion’s share of the aerial spoils and new generation speedster Peter Eguae on the bench recovering from injury, Meads chose to subdue Aloysians by depriving them of meaningful possession which meant a goalless first half.
The prime benefit of this method was that not long after the restart Meads’ stranglehold extended to the whole of no-mans land and on the hour almost bore fruit as Hawkins worked himself room on the right, cut in along the goal line for his raking and accurate acute angled shot to bring the best out of the home keeper. Five minutes later Glover headed on a throw down the right and Hawkins repeated his previous move but this time cut back a low cross which midfielder Will Gerrish, forsaking his enforcer role, rushed into the net with a perfectly timed run.
Now Meads took their foot off the accelerator and suffered a fifteen minute siege fuelled by a string of corners from desperate clearances one of which saw Palmer heading clear only for a gust of wind to take the ball swirling over his own bar and a series of mysterious and unnecessary free kicks given by the referee’s forthright assistants. Costello’s answer was to take the pressure off by introducing Eguae to Meads’ left midfield where he simmered innocently for ten minutes until, with a master stroke, the coach unleashed him on Aloysians’ unsuspecting left. Almost seamlessly as he moved over, Eguae took a pass in the centre circle, put the ball wide of his marker and, with acres of space to work in, was on the goal line before a finger could be laid on him. Hawkins, recognising the scenario from another angle, was on hand to volley the subsequent cross to wrap things up neatly.
The MoM award went jointly to Andy Thompson and Liam Palmer.
Team: Greening, Graham, Pointer, Palmer, Thompson, Reading, (Eguae), N. Jones, Gerrish, Jacobs, (J. Willis), Hawkins, Glover.
September 15, 2009