Steady Assertion Via Old Mead's Sterling Defence
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division - Honourable Artillery Company 0 Old Meadonians 0
Old Meadonians’ caravan set off from Chiswick station at 4p.m. last night for the long distance trek to besiege H.A.C. in their lair, with the youngsters acting as pack-ponies lugging kit bags and ball bags, only to arrive nearly two hours later at Mottingham and find, through a message left on their secretary’s answer-phone when he was on holiday, that the game had been switched to New Beckenham.
A quick call to the league and they were advised that they would be within their rights to refuse to play but that is not how Meads operate so, even though a rearranged fixture would have added five senior players to their squad, the team and baggage went onto another train to change at Lewisham and arrive at New Beckenham after 6p.m. Understandably, this was not ideal preparation and the players, a mixture of extreme experience, from forty plus year olds, Kevin Quinn, Dermot Jordan and Dwayne Rhone, and the youth of Jeusy Netto, Misha Mantel and Attiq Oumast, took a while to settle. H.A.C., scenting blood, flew at the visitors and in the first twenty minutes could have been two up but for timely blocks by keeper Garry Robinson.
Meads steady assertion came via sterling defence wherever the ball was, mid-fielder Peter Eguae’s pace and a no surrender mid-field and was set to continue when disaster struck just after the restart, a block tackle by Ed Glover leaving him hobbling off to be replaced by Nick Jones. Coaches Paul Rumley and Rory Vermeulens’ interval exhortations had been stentorian but full of praise and encouragement, with the prime admonition that, while Meads only had to draw to keep their aspirations alive, their hosts needed to win. Despite this, Meads chose the best form of defence, to attack, as, whether incensed by their pre-match tribulations or not, they proceeded to take the match by the scruff of the neck and Meads’ keeper hardly saw the ball again as Eguae’s penetrative running began to cut swathes through H.A.C.’s defence.
Just as Schalke’s keeper Manuel Neuer was being praised by Alex Ferguson it was the home keeper, Steve Adcock, who was later commended by Meads’ managers and players alike. In Meads’ half hour power play twice he came out to smother the ball at Eguae’s feet; he also punched well to clear corners and stretched to his right to save Eguae’s well struck free kick.
During this period both Eguae and Netto just shaved the far post, Andy Thompson hit the bar with a looping header and Netto was just wide with a side foot at the far post from Eguae’s lay-back but, though deserved, the goal wouldn’t come.
Team: Robinson, Rhone, Palmer, Jordan, Quinn, Oumast, Glover, (N.Jones), Thompson, Eguae, Mantel, Netto.
April 28, 2011