Old Meadonians 4 Old Owens 2 (aet)
One Down Three to Go
In their quest for three cups and an outside shot at the league title, Old Meadonians have ticked off their first objective by reaching the final of the A.F.A. Middlesex & Essex Senior Cup. They honed their ‘Toledo-Like’ cutting edge by outlasting visitors to Riverside Lands from the Southern Amateur League, Old Owens, in a marathon which could be likened to WWI trench war-fare with both sides forced to slug it out for the slightest advantage.
Not that this is an allusion to the terrain on which Saturday’s titanic struggle took place, for Meads’ Riverside Lands’ ground staff, under facilities manager Dave Tyler, had worked wonders in turning the ploughed field left on the previous Sunday evening into a billiard table surface fit for this important game.
In a clash that made Meads’ progress through previous cup rounds seem like a series of dainty tea parties, the hosts were made to fight for every inch they advanced into no-man’s land by a combative and capable, if slightly callow, Owens’ side whose ‘jugend’ section bleated in concert at any infringement for which they were penalised, making it difficult for the excellent referee, well aided by his assistants, to give a balanced account of himself and possibly leading to the dismissal of Meads’ right back John Shea for two cautions, in an under-current of what might be termed tokenism.
However, this did mean that the hosts were able to show their resilience by playing from the last few minutes of full time with ten men. Not that the visitors were backward in showing their ability to fight back, coming from behind to equalise with the last kick of full time and pulling another one back in the second half of extra time to give the hosts palpitations. From the start Meads operated with Ed Glover as a lone striker and a blanket five across mid-field with Peter Eguae again making runs from deep on the left but they had to wait until the sixtieth minute for Eguae to deliver, coming in to beat the defence to a free-kick from the right.
Meads then uncharacteristically sat back and allowed themselves to be put under-sustained pressure leading to a climactic and disastrous dying seconds of full time in which they went down to ten men in injury time and then just had enough time to kick off following Owens’ equaliser, deflected in from the resulting free-kick, before the ref blew at ninety-two minutes.
Meads were back in front five minutes into extra time when Dave Brennan picked the pocket of a dozing defender and sent Eguae away to cross for Glover to tuck the ball in. Then, inevitably, it was Eguae who consolidated Meads’ position with the next break as he picked up the ball in his own half and set off at pace down the left, closely marked to prevent him from cutting in.
Then, forty yards out, in a master stroke he slowed as if to cut behind his marker and the next instant he’d sprinted on the outside and was ten yards clear. He then committed the keeper to the near post and squared the ball for the flying Jack Costello to drill it into the hole. Now, there was still time for the visitors to show their mettle as, after pressure, they scored from the spot to give themselves hope of redemption. The hosts restored their advantage when, with five minutes to go, Owens won a corner and brought their keeper up. The ball was cleared for Eguae to stroll unopposed half the length of the field and twist the dagger. Centre-back, Lawrie Pointer and Peter Eguae were named joint MoM, the former for his leadership at the back and the latter for his destructive and penetrating running from mid-field.
Squad: Robinson, Shea, Pointer, McCombe, Quinn, Mace, Gerrish, Chapman, Thompson, Eguae, Glover, Costello, Bright, Brennan.
February 20, 2013