Old Hamptonians 3 Old Meadonians 3 (aet)
The Duke's enduring and un-shrinkable musical statement, 'It Don't Mean a Thing if it Aint Got that Swing' is easily adaptable to football as, 'It Won't Mean a Thing if You Can't Show that Bling', especially if applied to the fate awaiting Old Meadonians prior to Saturday's final at the home of East Barnet Old Grammarians, namely that they might still fail in the remaining two cup quests open to them and also in their league campaign and not have anything glittering to show for their tireless and, up to now, successful efforts this season.
In this event they have already laid their demons by bringing back the A.F.A. Middlesex & Essex Senior Cup, but only by the skin of their teeth, after a marathon two hour struggle with A.F.C. Premiership colleagues, Old Hamptonians who turned things into a regular roller-coaster by refusing to lie down after going two down mid-way through the first half to then pin Meads back with three, without reply from Meads until the second half of extra time.
A major factor dictating the standard of football was the pitch which, having been waterlogged on the date the match had been due to be played, was now firm but, though still taking a stud, uneven and unforgiving. For Meads, without wishing to belittle the input from the youngsters they drafted in to fill large gaps left by the absence of four senior members of the squad, this was a make do and mend line-up with playmaker Jack Costello shorn of his right to roam and tied to a role supporting striker Ed Glover. It has to be said, however, that, even so, Meads played with their usual passion and although OH's displayed the best football, it was Meads who carved out the chances, with Andy Thompson hitting the bar twice with crane-like headers and Will Gerrish having a header cleared off the line, all before Hamptonians got their first. Meads took the lead fifteen minutes in when Glover won a free kick on the left, forty yards out and Costello's in-swinging free-kick found its way unaided into the far corner.
Ten minutes later Meads were two up as Aidan Chapman's long throw was touched on for Costello to notch his second with a crisp volley. Hamptonians now stepped in to take up the slack left as Meads took their foot off the pedal. Almost immediately keeper Garry Robinson was called on to demonstrate his fine spell of form with a save at full stretch at the post but with just five minutes to go before half time OH's got their just reward when Craig Ashby volleyed in a corner from the edge of the area. On the restart Hamptonians carried on where they'd left off and Meads were hanging on while biding their time before injecting stiffening and flexibility to mid-field, bringing on Ryan Bright and Germaine Queensborough and injecting pace up front with Matt Allen.
It was almost inevitable that Hamptonians should score the equaliser with a breakaway goal from Tom Larcombe to take the game into extra time and then on the crest of a wave to snatch the lead through a diving header from Ashby. Meads now dug deep to grasp a last gasp third when in an all or nothing attack Bright and Queensborough bundled in a cross in tandem. The penalty shoot-out was clinical until Meads' MoM, Garry Robinson, saved Hamptonians' third for Meads to triumph.
Old Hamptonians' Squad: James Holdsworth, Greg Hayhurst, Akil Phakey, Adam Calvert, Mike Rossiter, Rob Campain, Chris Heritage, Ed Holdsworth, Tom Larcombe, Craig Ashby, Cos Codacci, John Moffatt, Richard Sexton, Paul Lemon.
April 12, 2013