Top of Table Bealonians Come A Cropper Riverside Lands

Amateur Football Combination Premier Division - Old Meadonians 3 Bealonians 2

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It's All About The Beautiful Game - Old Meadonians' past, present and future

Top of the table Bealonians came a cropper at Riverside Lands on Saturday, undone by their own doubtful tactics and Old Meadonians’ perseverance, coupled with a referee and assistants who refused to be deterred from seeing fair play.

The visitors had no one to blame but themselves after surrendering a comfortable, if hardly deserved, two goal lead and succumbing to a crushing winner two minutes into the four minutes justifiably added on, after they had suffered a brief but telling implosion in the last few minutes of the first half.

It is as well that Meads still have to field their best squad as the visitors were presented with two early and unaffordable gifts, associated with the high line being maintained, the first only four minutes in and the second on fifteen minutes, the one from an unnecessary loss of possession in midfield and the other from a misplaced ball which sold the pass to leave keeper Gary Robinson in the lurch a second time. Now the contrast as to how the two sides would deal with adversity was seen.

The hosts who appeared to be looking at a heavy defeat girded their loins and set about repairing the situation by cutting errors, while the visitors, put under sustained pressure for the first time, began to show signs of flakiness. From the outset Beals had been willing to use the limits of the laws and now, when the steadfast referee did not see things their way, they began to blame him and each other. Meads needed no second bidding to take up the slack and were soon enfilading Beals whose tackling became more and more desperate. The break had to come and sweet it was as quick thinking striker Colin Hawkins sprinted in to beat a hesitant defence to the punch and glance a header into the roof of the net from Chris Thomas’ cross on twenty five minutes. Ten minutes later came the equaliser when Jack Costello ran onto a cross from the left to make sure from fifteen yards.

The boot was now firmly on the other foot as Meads hunted a third and the visitors helped them out by pressing the self destruct button five minutes from half time. Jack Costello was heavily felled thirty yards from Beals’ goal and from his prone position stretched out a hand to trip his assailant. While the referee was booking both players for this incident another of the visitors ran twenty yards to plant a haymaker on Costello’s head but although the referee was unsighted it was in clear view of both assistants and Beals were down to ten.

During halftime, manager Rory Vermeulen only needed to stress the need to keep up pressure and administer the same medicine as painlessly as before the break which instructions Meads were only too pleased to follow, to the continuing discomfort of Beals. Now the visitors took to hoofing the ball anywhere and clearing the stands in their efforts to protect their point and had the temerity to complain when ball boys maintained an accessible supply of match balls to keep the game flowing. Given the added room for manoeuvre Meads now besieged the visitors to no avail until, with ten minutes to go, first mid-fielder Will Gerrish was just over twice from the edge of the box and centre back Ali McCombe crashed a header onto the bar from a corner.

The visitors had continued to be dangerous on isolated breaks and from one such Meads’ keeper Gary Robinson pulled off a superb dive to tip a blistering twenty five yard drive round the post and save the day for the injury time winner. This came in the nick of time when Kevin Quinn’s glancing header from Costello’s cross from the right looped the defence for Gerrish to make amends from ten yards. There was still time for Dwayne Rhone to clear of the line but justice had been done. Nick Jones was named MoM.

Team: Robinson, Pilcher, Pointer, McCombe, Thomas, Costello, Gerrish, N. Jones, Rhone, A. Jones, (Quinn), Hawkins. Subs not used: Kenny, Watson.

September 28, 2010