Old Meadonians 2 Civil Service 0
Don’t be fooled by this simple score-line; therein lies a tale. Old Meadonians’ passage into the fourth round of the A.F.A. Middlesex & Essex Senior Cup at Riverside Lands on Saturday was not as smooth as the scorebook suggests but only because it took a supreme team effort to keep out powerful neighbours from the Southern Amateur League.
Civil Service, with seven wins in eight of their last games, were denied meaningful possession firstly by defending where the ball is, with strikers tackling back, aggressive marking in mid-field and, finally, employing a subtly mobile but impervious back four which Service barely dented from start to finish.
The opening fifteen minutes were scrappy with neither side able to claim the ball long enough to mount a sustained attack. However, what the visitors lacked was a cutting edge: the pace to trouble Meads’ rearguard whereas the hosts had the speedy Ed Glover and terrier-like foraging of latter-day Roger Hunt, Craig Jones, up front and, coming from deep mid-field, the scourging runs of Peter Eguae to keep Service on the back foot.
It was such a run down the left in which Eguae left three defenders trailing that helped break the deadlock. The ball was pulled back for Jones’ to side-foot Meads’ first. Five minutes later Jones rolled his marker and his swinging loop round the right arched him to the goal line whence his cut back was gobbled up by the swooping Glover for the second. Service did then mount a mini-siege which brought two chances, both scotched by Meads’ keeper Gary Robinson.
The first came as a lone raider bore in from the right for Robinson to narrow the angle and see the ball comfortably outside his near post. The second was a well directed shot from twenty yards on the left and for this he stretched out low to his right and turned the ball round the post.
The pattern of play on the restart was a repeat of the first after the visitors’ early flourish in which Service gave Meads a wake-up call when a melee in the home area saw a fortuitous miscue by their striker. The hosts immediately pulled themselves together with rampant Eguae leading the charge. First his cross from the left led to Jordan Mace shivering the near post then, switching to the right, on three further occasions he out-flanked the defence only to be squeezed out as he came down the goal-line. Jones also weighed in with a screaming volley from beyond the far post which took a coat of paint off the face of the bar as he latched onto Ali McCombe’s free-kick and in the last ten minutes sub Ryan Bright was just over from the edge of the box.
Veteran left-back Kevin Quinn shaded the MoM award from Peter Eguae.
December 19, 2012