Old Meadonians 2 Old Suttonians 1
Old Meadonians neatly wrapped up their season by beating promotees to the Amateur Football Combination Premier Division, Old Suttonians in a tense, tightly and fairly fought final at Dulwich Hamlet’s finely appointed Champion Hill ground last Monday night to win the London Old Boys Senior Cup and extend their own record to a magnificent seven times that this silverware will have graced their Riverside Lands trophy cabinet.
In their promotion winning campaign of the last season Sutts‘goal difference of forty-seven had shown that they knew where the goal was, how to get there and, once in its vicinity, how to find the back of the net but now they were about to find that if they are to survive at the top level in the coming season they will need to overcome more stubborn resistance than they’ve been used to. In this instance lady luck came to their immediate aid in the twentieth minute with Ross Harris’s superbly struck shot, cunningly disguised as a cross.
This set off from the right hand touch line ten yards from the corner flag, on a great circle, looped unerringly over Meads’ earth-bound and helpless keeper Gary Robinson to nestle snugly in the far top corner of the net. It certainly upset the apple-cart to turn Meads’ world on its head and give them an artificially generated foothill to climb. It was then that Sutts showed that they could also put up the shutters (no tongue twister intended!) and defend stubbornly as Meads began to take over in mid-field to press for the equaliser through strikers, rangy Ed Glover and the searing pace of Peter Eguae.
However, Sutts’ blanket defence quite often corralled this spearhead and on many other occasions this dynamic duo simply out-paced their mid-field support to come to a dead end. The half-chances soon piled up as Meads layed a prolonged siege while, on the other hand, at the other end, Sutts had to be content with the odd sniff, when Meads’ occasionally ponderous back line juggled the ball to each other like a live grenade with the pin out.
However, it was Meads who began to be looking the more hard done by as time went on, their most ingenious effort being in the second half when, with the pack waiting at the far post for Kevin Quinn to deliver an in- swinging freekick from thirty yards on the right, he surprised them all by slipping Jack Costello in towards the near post only for the latter’s rasping fifteen yarder to be diverted over the bar for a corner. Meads’ deserved reward came in the forty-fourth minute. Mid-fielder Andy Thompson, making only his second start this season following extended injury, showed why he has been sorely missed this past year; not content with having to mark Sutts’ star Cambridge Blue, Mike Dankis, he was as ever eager to get in the score book.
The ever-green Quinn ghosted the ball outside his marker down the left, cut in and fed Thompson’s timely run for him to slot the equaliser inside the near post. Even so there was time before half time for Sutts to get a good header in on goal which was brilliantly palmed away by Gary Robinson to take us into the break.
The second half saw more of the same inexorable pressure by Meads but although Sutts supporters continued to call out both sarcastically and hopefully ‘They’re tiring!’ by now it was Sutts who were wilting. After seventy minutes Meads brought on fresh legs in mid-field and Ed Glover’s long legs were replaced by the darting bursts of leading first team scorer Craig Jones, nursing a sore hamstring but saved just for this situation, to torture Sutts’ tired muscles, and torture he did, twisting and turning them inside out.
What now looked the inevitable winner came only five minutes into the extra period. The tireless Thompson broke on the left, cut back down the touch-line and found mid-field sub Nick Jones on the edge of the box. Jones neatly stepped inside a tackle and stranded Sutts’ keeper, Chris Parlett, with a peach of a lob and as the ball came down off the bar there was the ’Fox in the Box’, Craig Jones, to volley in the winner. Meads’ management named Andy Thompson MoM.
It has to be said that after their so-called betters have recently been found lacking under close scrutiny, the quartet of referees, Robert Ryan, Turan Yasilyun, Lior Koskas and Chad Chaudhuri put in a stellar performance, allowing players and supporters to have an enjoyable evening.
Teams: Old Meadonians: Garry Robinson, Liam Palmer, Ali McCombe, Lawrie Pointer, Misha Mantel, John Shea, Jack Costello, (Dave Brennan), Andy Thompson, Kevin Quinn, (Nick Jones), Peter Eguae, Ed Glover, (Craig Jones). Subs not used- Luke Graham, Will Gerrish.
Old Suttonians: Chris Parlett, Mark Watkins, Nick Woodward, Tim Mellett, David Keoshgerian, Jamie Mcnuff, Mike Dankis, Dave Towse, Ross Harris, Rich Grover, Ryan Russell.
Subs:Dan Smith, Ben Smith, Simon Thomson, Subs not used: Craig Terrington, Andrew Dix
May 24, 2012