Old Hamptonians 5 Old Meadonians 0
Old Meadonians suffered their biggest defeat in over twenty years at the hands of a resurgent Old Hamptonians who, in the last just over twenty meetings between these teams, have taken the spoils in a mere handful. However, before you read into this report nothing more than a whiff of sour grapes, read on!
The teams had been due to meet on grass in the Amateur Football Alliance Middlesex and Essex Senior Cup Final but, on this match being rained off, had fixed a substitute league game which Hamptonians hosted on Astroturf. The setting for this match, an important one for Meads to start mopping up their back-log of outstanding league games, was the grim semi-industrial Wandle River hinterland of the back end of Wandsworth surrounded by the derelict remains of dark satanic mills and although the playing surface is a distinct advance over the original carpet surfaces experimentally tried out by professional clubs like Q.P.R. it left Meads at a dismaying disadvantage.
The enclosure for the playing area could be used for a remake of a film set in a WW2 German prison camp, with a strong wire-mesh fence of a sturdy centimetre gauge lurking within two metres of touch to take a threatening toll of anyone moving at more than a walking pace. Added to this the perimeter of the pitch had several spare five a side sets of goal posts waiting to intercept the unwary on their way to the fence.
Totally unused to conditions under foot they Meads played as if walking on eggshells while their hosts, obviously used to the surface, had the sure footedness of mountain goats on the gentle downs at Epsom and, more tellingly were far more able to judge the pace and bounce of the ball. Before twenty minutes were gone Meads were two down, the second from a penalty and booking after Jordan Mace was deemed to have handled a shot in the area.
Up to the half hour mark, Meads had shared possession and pressure despite the score and now mounted an amazing fifteen minute power-play in which they won no fewer than eight corners but sterling defence from Hamptonians, including their keeper coming out of his area to deliberately handle a cross, put them in at halftime with their goal intact.
The second half was very much a procession after Meads' initial push to get back on terms was halted by one of the harshest decisions your correspondent has seen in sixty years of experience. The ball came at Meads' Andy Thompson from behind and bounced up under his hand only for the referee to forget all official instructions concerning intent, 'ball to hand' &c and award a killer of a penalty. The hosts cashed in eagerly to score two more before the whistle. Coach Paul Rumley's terse verdict was that Hamptonians deserved their win on the day.
Squad: Robinson, Mace, Pointer, McCombe, Thompson, Chapman, Costello, Gerrish, Brennan, Eguae, Jones, Quinn, Bright, Mantel.
March 27, 2013