Old Meadonians 2 ( Glover, C. Jones) Merton 0
An energized Old Meadonians, holders of a record four Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cups, showed they were back in the hunt by producing their best performance of the season to leave visitors from the Southern Amateur League, Merton, enervated at Riverside Lands on Saturday.
Briefly, the prime elements of the hosts’ play on show were exhilarating: closing down was highly effective and menacing, denying the visitors all meaningful possession, counters were breathtaking in their speed and precision of execution, near perfection, for Meads to play the visitors off the park.
The only ingredient missing from this dominant display was Meads’ usual killer instinct to match the lion’s share of the ball; had they taken advantage of a small percentage of the opportunities generated the visiting keepers, Merton used two, would have got back ache from picking the ball out of the net and the result could well have been double figures. Even before Meads got their first on twenty minutes the visitors’ keeper was called on to make two stupendous saves, the second with his feet in a one on one with striker Craig Jones.
However, Jones’ fellow front runner, Ed Glover, saved Meads’ blushes, timing his run onto Jack Costello’s free-kick to flash a flying header into the roof of the net. Just before half-time the visitors threatened, if that verb could be applied to their efforts, to assert themselves but Meads’ mid-field covering soon put a stop to it to the effect that it’s difficult to recall keeper Gary Robinson having to make one save throughout. At the other end Jones was uncharacteristically over eager as he pulled a snatched cross-shot past the far post.
The second half was even more processional than the first as Meads tightened their grip; within ten minutes, Merton’s goalie having stayed off with a hamstring injury, his deputy was picking the hosts’ second out of the net. Fullback Kevin Quinn put a forty yard free-kick from the left beyond the far post where Costello got up beautifully to head back for Jones to volley home. With just under half an hour to the final whistle on came Meads young bloods Matt Allen and Jake Gowers and speed-ball Peter Eguae to complete Merton’s misery, Gowers working nicely with Quinn on the left and Allen and Eguae going for the jugular down the middle.
First there was a last shout from the old guard as Robinson threw out for right back John Shea to feed Costello down the right and his pull-back to the edge of the area was lifted a bare mite too high by Jones. For the rest of the game Merton were penned in but cooler heads were needed to finish the job although Eguae did cut in from the left in a trade-mark move to have his well directed curler turned round the far post and Allen was also unlucky after weaving through the area. In their post match briefing both coaches, Rory Vermeulen and Paul Rumley, were enthusiastic and cautiously optimistic, with Rumley saying the team was playing with a good blend and the defence had tightened up whilst accepting that any rearguard would be strengthened by increased support from further up-field.
Vermeulen added that players were now having to play for their places because of the growing squad numbers but this was still work in progress. A barnstorming performance from captain and mid-fielder, Will Gerrish, earned him the MoM award.
Squad: Robinson, Shea, Pointer, Thompson, Quinn, Costello, Chapman, Gerrish, Mantel, Glover, Jones, Eguae, Allen, Gowers.
December 6, 2012