Meads prosper only after taming the tempest
Amateur Football Combination Premier Divisionn
Old Meadonians moved back to the top of the league with a methodical and well merited win over both elements and hosts, struggling U.C.L. Academicals’ at the latter’s blasted heath home at London Colney on Saturday.
Whether using local weather knowledge or not the Accies chose to face the tempest from the start but seemed to choose unwisely as they found the visitors unfazed and far from being unnerved, bullish enough to take the fight to the graduates with relish.
Just five minutes in, midfielder Kevin Quinn remembered his lines from eight years before, when his last minute bendy free-kick had won a titanic cup battle on this same field, to repeat the trick from just outside the area on the left and set Meads off on the right foot. Even with their spinnaker set the hosts were soon reduced to the odd breakaway by the visitors’ midfield dominance and these were easily corralled by Meads confident back three. Not so the home defence as a cross from the right had them at sixes and sevens, a beleaguered centre back turned the ball onto his own post and John Shea was just wide from a narrow angle.
With the hosts penned in their own half, central midfielder Nick Jones clipped the outside of the post but with fifteen minutes to go to the break, Meads took a wrong turning: the midfield narrowed their attacking front which meant that passes to front runners Ed Glover and Craig Jones, even with their pace, had not enough angle to hold the ball up for it to be catchable. There being no further score by half time it now looked as if the Graduates had made a good decision after all.
The post match celebrations, though deserved, were to be muted since there wasn’t a player who did not concede that this win had been attributable to timely intervention by coach Rory Vermeulen, in sole command on this occasion. At the break he is alleged to have added the cutting edge his sharp tongue to that of the winter wind, the very wind in which he said they were whistling if they thought they could win by employing the tactics by which they had lost their way during the last period of the first half. His injunction to them to use the full width of the pitch had an immediate galvanising effect on the team but was somewhat fortuitously reinforced when, five minutes into the second half, midfielder Misha Mantel limped off to be replaced by ace play-maker Jack Costello who instantly colonised the outer regions on the right to tease the Graduates with his whipped crosses.
The hosts had been under the cosh for the duration and now were saved in rapid succession by both bar and post when, with twenty minutes to go Glover robbed his rattled marker forty yards out to race through and score Meads’ second. To give the screw a final twist Luke Grahame and Andy Thompson came on in midfield and gave good accounts of themselves and with five minutes on the clock Craig Jones cut a swathe from thirty yards out to finish the job from close range. Rory Vermeulen was keen to praise veteran Kevin Quinn in midfield but gave the MoM award to Craig Jones for his non-stop selfless foraging and ceaseless probing.
Team:- Robinson, Palmer, McCombe, Pointer, Eguae, (Thompson), Shea, N. Jones, (Grahame), Quinn, Mantel, (Costello), Glover, C. Jones.
February 22, 2012