Meads stay top after tough away fixture
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division
Old Meadonians consolidated their position at the top of the table but made bit of a meal of dealing with a feisty challenge from their hosts, Old Hamptonians, at Dean Road Hampton on Saturday.
A fair away following enhanced by the presence of club President Bob Atkin and former first team mid-fielder David (Charlie) Chilton saw a Meads’ side not always fully in their comfort zone and also donating two goals by uncharacteristic lapses of concentration which somewhat detracted from their overall superiority.
The hosts’ star player was soon showing his wares wide on the left and it was his whipped cross in the tenth minute that found an unmarked head lurking close in at the far post for Hamptonians’ first.
It took Meads just ten minutes to be on terms when Ed Glover climbed to Jack Costello’s cross and made his header look easy. Five minutes later they were ahead when Craig Jones was fouled on the edge of the area. Costello’s speed of thought made nonsense of a partially formed wall and with supreme sleight of foot the ball was boomeranged round it into the net.
Meads added their third with ten minutes to go to the interval with Costello smashing in a Peter Eguae cross after the latter had worked space on the left in concert with Misha Mantel.
The Hampton slope supporting the hosts for the second half was to have a say in the remainder of proceedings and immediately on the restart Meads were put under pressure but their back four under command of Ali McCombe stood firm. This mini-push was relieved after ten minutes when Costello fed the ranging Glover on the right and his low cross was volleyed in off a defender by Craig Jones.
If Meads now thought that a three goal lead would put Hamptonians out of the reckoning they had another thing coming as the hosts came back at them to be rewarded when another cross from the left was converted unchallenged at the far post. Now the hosts swarmed forward to pile on fifteen minutes of pressure during which Costello and Mantel both cleared off the line.
Meads now put on new legs and reinforced the mid-field while pushing the speedy Eguae up front as a frightener to prevent the hosts from throwing caution to the winds in all out attack. The effect was to redress the balance in the visitors’ favour and keep their hosts at arms’ length until the final whistle.
These two teams rejoin battle next Saturday in the cup but anyone taking this result as a pointer to support a bet on the outcome of a renewed encounter would be unwise: Hamptonians are more than capable of unsettling all but the steadiest of defences. They pack their own penalty area with bodies and in attack can enfilade to great effect.
For Meads the candidates for the MoM award were queuing up: Ali McCombe for his marshalling of the defence, Jack Costello for his two goals and brilliant playmaking but for once the view from the press box coincided with that of the management. The award went jointly to strikers Ed Glover and Craig Jones, the latter of whom, as he reluctantly came off early, showing an unsatisfied hunger by muttering that there were still goals to be had out there. The citation was for their brilliant and fruitful leadership of Meads’ attack, non-stop probing, foraging and harrying of the home defence.
Old Hamptonians 2 Old Meadonians 4 (Glover, Costello 2, C. Jones.)
Team: Robinson, M. Swann, Pointer, McCombe, Mantel, Costello, N. Jones, Tull, Eguae, C. Jones, (A. Swann), Glover, (Palmer).
December 14, 2011