Amateur Football Combination Premier Division
Old Meadonians 1 Old Hamptonians 3
Perhaps this was too early for Meads to host OH’s in a return match at Riverside Lands but this in no way fazed the visitors who set about redressing the balance from the off. We were quickly made aware that over-confidence could set in after a very short period but as for keeping the squad’s feet on the ground, there would be no future need for Meads’ coaches to read the Riot Act to their players, because Hamptonians set about bringing their hosts down to earth with a will: Twenty five minutes into game Meads, after spending a nervy opening period giving the ball away rather than finding their colleagues, were two goals down, from A.F.A. representative Chris Heritage’s strike and Craig Ashby’s penalty and had lost keeper Gary Robinson to two yellow cards.
Tom Meredith stepped in between the posts and kept the visitors at bay until the last ten minutes with a number of excellent saves. These days OH’s are more than a handful if you’ve got eleven men, let alone ten, and they aren’t champions for nothing. Consequently, although Meads went to four, four, one with Ed Glover withdrawn to midfield and Craig Jones up front and buckled down to their task, they were naturally made to chase the ball and without a deal of profligacy on the part of the visitors’ strikers might have suffered further.
As it was, with twenty minutes to go Meads did pull one back, with Jones breaking clear to lob the keeper, but the visitors soon put themselves back in the comfort zone when Ashby decided to take advantage of an overlap and defensive slip. In his post match briefing, Rory Vermeulen, in sole charge, with Paul Rumley on a mystery scouting trip, steadfastly defended his players against suggestions of a lack of off-the-ball support, leaving the press corps non-plussed.