Amateur Football Combination Premier Division
Old Meadonians paid a heavy price for going off the boil for just ten minutes before half time and fifteen on the restart in a six pointer with third placed H.A.C., just above them in the league, at Riverside Lands on Saturday.
If they’d taken the three points they deserved they would have changed places in the table with their visitors but would still be five points adrift of second placed Old Hamptonians and seven below leaders, Old Minchendenians.
Meads, without four of their squad, including top scorer Craig Jones and fellow striker Ed Glover, were forced to field mid-fielder John Shea up front backed by a highly mobile five across the middle. Despite this, they started well against a tidy and compact H.A.C. who gave nothing away. Meads were one up on twenty minutes when versatile Misha Mantel, making his first start of the year burst onto a Jordan Mace cross from the right and cushioned his header brilliantly to bring the ball under control and usher it into the net from close range.
Meads continued to control the game until with ten minutes to go to half time Captain and battling mid-fielder Will Gerrish came off with a damaged muscle to his left side and this took the guts out of the hosts’ engine room. Almost immediately a carelessly donated free-kick forty yards out and poor marking ended with an equaliser from a free header.
As if that wasn’t disaster enough the visitors were ahead three minutes later when, from a poorly defended corner, the ball was bundled into the net. The press corps was kept away from half time proceedings but whatever was said had no effect as the hosts were at sixes and sevens for a prolonged power-play by H.A.C. until they at last gathered their wits with a half hour to go. From then until the final whistle it was all Meads, with most of the mid-fielders carving themselves out chances. Meads’s were grateful for the equaliser which came from an unusual but welcome source with twenty minutes on the clock. Jack Costello’s driven corner from the right flew across the goal-mouth to the far post where centre-back Matt O’Sullivan volleyed into the roof of the net from the narrowest angle possible. Even after that there was time for debutant Fred Champion to cap an encouraging debut, escaping on the left only to see his curler shave the far post by inches.
John Shea was named MoM.
Squad: Robinson, Mace, Chapman, O’Sullivan, Quinn, Costello, Allen, Gerrish, Bright, Mantel, Shea, Pointer, F. Champion.
March 12, 2014