Old Meadonians still a ‘work in progress’
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division - Albanian 2 Old Meadonians 1
Coach Rory Vermeulen’s comment after Old Meadonians’ resounding win last week, that there was still a ‘work in progress’ sign over the team as yet, proved prophetic as Meads stumbled to a defeat which was not quite as narrow as the score-line might indicate at The Hive on Saturday.
Hosts and current champions Albanian were immeasurably better organised and cohesive from the kick-off as Meads extended their customary slow start to take in the whole of the first half and Albanian were offered freedom of the park in which to lay siege and blow Meads’ house down.
As previously this season it was the visitors’ back line with keeper Gary Robinson commanding his area and centre back Ali McCombe a tower of strength that kept the wolf at bay. For their part Meads, rarely provided enough concerted support to complement the guile of Colin Hawkins and Kevin Quinn up front, with the consequence that the hosts were in danger only from set pieces.
It has to be said that Albanian were limited to a meagre two or three chances, the first on twenty five minutes when Robinson’s razor sharp reactions were a match for a bullet header from six yards, turning it round the post. The hosts’ deserved opener came at psychologically the right moment, two minutes from the interval, when anticipation of the break allowed a chink in Meads’ rearguard to let a lone raider in on Robinson. Rather than risking being asked to turn the record over, with a repeat of last week’s pep talk, coach Vermeulen’s suggestion that perhaps in future they should ask for kick-offs to be postponed till 3.45 met with silence but found the mark to cause a kick-start on the resumption.
Play maker Jack Costello was pushed forward in close support of the strikers and for the first time something like continuous pressure was applied. It was now that the flat but euphemistically compact playing surface which had favoured the hosts’ neat style played its part and hampered Meads’ more urgent approach, for although Hawkins’ pace no longer sears, he and Quinn were the more easily contained, for being cramped for space and the ball spent ever increasing time being recovered from adjoining spaces.
Even so it was the hosts who were now confined to breaks away while Meads might have been rewarded as headers from Quinn and Andy Thompson grazed the bar and Liam Palmer ventured up field but topped his drive from the edge of the area. With fifteen minutes to go, the all important next goal fell to Albanian, the source being a successful break-away which took them to the top of the table. With five minutes to go Meads settled for a consolation when a defender headed into his own net under pressure from Thompson and they were left to rue their slow start as the press quietly questioned Rory Vermeulen’s post match optimistic suggestion that Meads might have got a draw.
Team: Robinson, Pilcher, Palmer, McCombe, Thomas, (Gerrish), Thompson, Jones, Costello, Rhone, (Pointer), Quinn, Hawkins.
October 12, 2010