Old Mead's Comfortable Six Points Ahead of Chasing Pack
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division - Old Meadonians 4 Old Suttonians 1
Old Suttonians came to Riverside Lands on Saturday having been promoted a comfortable six points ahead of the chasing pack courtesy of good defensive record and, for two thirds of Saturday’s match, did little to undermine their reputation by taking the game the hosts, defending against scattered breaks-away stoutly and claiming first half honours by a margin.
What was to be their downfall was the lack of a cutting edge from their strikers as, in mid-field, the hosts welcomed them by spraying the ball anywhere but to a friendly foot. Fortunately for Meads their defence was as impervious as ever and, when on two occasions Sutts did get behind it, first keeper Gary Robinson pulled off a superb save when a cross from the right was powered back towards the far corner of the net from the left fifteen yards out and, as he closed the angle rapidly and could have been wrong-footed, he miraculously dived to his left to divert the ball round the post.
Then shortly afterwards a profligate Sutts’ head put the ball just over the bar. In the interval it was not difficult for Meads’ coaches, Paul Rumley and Rory Vermeulen, to suggest that they expected better after such a first half performance. This argument was reinforced by bringing on the ball holding skills of experienced Kevin Quinn alongside Colin Hawkins up front and Andy Thompson in centre mid-field, thus suggesting, on the one hand, that it could be the receiver who makes the pass possible and on the other, seeking to improve playmaking. The effect was immediate as Meads took a tighter grip of Quinn’s and Hawkins’ supply line. Also the strikers began to make a nuisance of themselves, giving the visitors’ back four and mid-fielders less time in which to make telling passes.
Hence the visitors’ flow of attacks was staunched and the initiative changed hands. It has to be said also that Sutts had to an extent shot their bolt in battering on Meads’ door earlier. A quarter of an hour on, Meads ended the deadlock when the ball broke loose on the right hand edge of the visitors’ area; at the post match briefing coach Paul Rumley was explicit, ’If the ball breaks to one of your players in your opponents’ penalty area, you would not wish that player to be anyone but Jack Costello, the cleanest striker of the ball in amateur football’.
The breach proved significant; within fifteen minutes it was three as Hawkins worked his way clear on the left and his cross was swept in by Quinn at the far post and then Hawkins converted a penalty after being tripped. A moments’ lapse of concentration allowed Sutts a consolation but in the dying minutes Hawkins wove through traffic and round the keeper to complete his hat-trick. Colin Hawkins who has rekindled his appetite for the game and whose trio of goals was instrumental in lifting Meads to the top of the table was named MoM just in advance of Nick Jones.
Team: Robinson, Pilcher, McCombe, Pointer, (Palmer), Costello, Thomas, Watson, (Thompson), Gerrish, N. Jones, A. Jones, (Quinn), Hawkins.
October 6, 2010