Old Meadonians 2 Old Hamptonians 2
Old Meadonians’ league campaign fizzled out with a tame score draw at Riverside Lands which has probably decided that Saturday’s visitors Old Hamptonians will leap-frog their hosts to leave Meads fifth in the table. It also might suggest to the un-discerning that, whereas last season their over-stretched squad out-performed the rest of the field, this season, with a slightly all round stronger squad, they appear to have disappointed.
Closer scrutiny, however, might suggest that Meads’ under powered attack has rested overmuch on the willing shoulders of newcomer Craig Jones and, to a lesser extent, on Ed Glover and Peter Eguae, with both the latter being used as utility men and consequently losing their cutting edge in having to bolster the mid-field.
And the reason why the mid-field has had to be shored up: the absence for the whole season of Will Gerrish and of Andy Thompson who on Saturday was starting for the first time after being out for seven months.
On Saturday during Meads’ bright twenty minute opening pusch Craig Jones demonstrated why he is some people’s choice for first team player of the season, exposing the Hampton defence’s slowness on the turn to spurt clear and fire just wide of the far post from an acute angle on two occasions.
It was mid-fielder Thompson who also proved a point on ten minutes and celebrated his return by bursting onto a loose ball from the right, chesting it into the area and tucking his careful left footer into the far corner for Meads’ deserved lead. Five minutes later came a profound truism: that Craig Jones’ magnificent running throughout the season had taken its toll which came to pass as he limped off with a strained hamstring.
Now, when continuing pressure failed to increase the lead, as first the Hampton keeper saved well from Glover and then Misha Mantel was just over with a header, the visitors took both heart and control until the break and tied the score in the process with a Meads ‘one on offer’. Nick Jones, on routine patrol at the back, could find no taker for his pass out of trouble, it was snapped up by a loitering visitor and fed in for an easy nudge past the exposed Gary Robinson.
The second half was a blow for blow affair with, in this period the visitors taking the lead legitimately through a well worked move mid-way through the session. Meads finished stronger to equalise when, with five minutes on the clock, sub Jeusy Netto was brought down when through on the keeper for Glover to convert the penalty emphatically. Mysteriously the perpetrator of this foul, the scything tackle on the flying Eguae a minute later and the two miscreants who foul mouthed the referee and his assistant earlier all escaped proper sanction. With the London Old Boys Senior Cup to play for on Wednesday at Dulwhich Hamlet’s Champion Hill ground on Wednesday perhaps Meads can end the season with a just reward for their endeavours and show that any air of disappointment is associated with not winning the more desirable league trophy.
Team: Robinson Graham, Palmer, McCombe, Mantel, Costello, N. Jones, Thompson, Pointer, Eguae, C. Jones, (Netto), Glover.
April 26, 2012