Old Meads Rise To Top Of The Table
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division - Old Meadonians 7 Albanian 2
Old Meadonians rose to the top of the table, turning back their clock at Riverside Lands on Saturday instead of forward to reveal the resurgent residue of the ruthless streak which took them to sustained success in the ‘noughties’. Visitors, third placed Albanian, who are now just three points away and handily placed, were made to look pedestrian by hosts who, having put together a series of four games in which, even in a mystery cup 4-1 loss to H.A.C., their football has been superlative, reinstated deadly finishing to their repertoire.
The fact that Meads’ painstaking climb to the top has been achieved with a squad barely two thirds the size of those of the recent past is a tribute to the ability of coaches Paul Rumley and Rory Vermeulen to instill in players the need to go that extra mile as much as the willingness of players whose input has been exemplary to stay the further distance. Early exit from cups has also played a part in reducing the overall burden but this still threatens the odds in favour of success which, as yet, is no where near assured with four teams in the hunt. On Saturday, although Meads had the edge in early probing, all that accrued were two half chances which slipped by until, on twenty minutes, ‘Captain Courageous’, mid-fielder Will Gerrish, put a match to the fuse with a thirty-five yard tall-boy which rocketed into the top corner. The visitors now found themselves in the eye of a firestorm as by half time they were four down .
Next, second team star Misha Mantel, in his first team start debut, met Jack Costello’s fierce cross with a beautifully judged run and flying volley and immediately later Colin Hawkins reacted quickly to head in the loose ball when his initial shot was blocked. Finally Peter Eguae’s burst on the edge of the area was cynically halted and Costello delivered the required retribution at the near post. With Paul Rumley away on scouting duty, Rory Vermeulen’s half time advice was to keep up the same tempo to lessen the handing over of the smallest initiative so although Albanian found Meads’ grip relaxed slightly they still lost the second half three-two. It took only five minutes for belligerence to be resumed as Eguae’s pace took him clear on the left and mid-fielder Andy Thompson nipped in to beat the defence to the cross and head into the roof of the net.
Then Albanian’s Joe Fox showed why he is selected for the A.F.C. representative side with the first of a defiant brace, swivelling on the loose ball after Meads’ defence failed to deal with a floated free kick. The fresh legs of Alex Jones redressed the balance as another Costello free-kick was spilt by the keeper. Fox’s opportunist second was sandwiched by Jones’ replica second as he surged through the middle to score at the second attempt. The MoM award was shared by Will Gerrish and Jack Costello.
Team: Robinson, Grahame, (Rhone), Pointer, Palmer, Quinn, Costello, Gerrish, Thompson, (A. Jones), Mantel, Hawkins, Eguae.
March 30, 2011