UCL Academicals 0 Old Meadonians 3
UCL Academicals’ stronghold at London Colney is one of the more rugged venues in the A.F.C., being next door to where the Gunners toughen up their squad and, reputedly, where snow doesn’t fall, it comes in across-field, like stair-rods and hedge hopping! However, come snow, rain or shine Old Meadonians’ A.F.A. Senior Cup quarter final clash with the Acies was never going to be plain sailing; if the elements did not test the visitors to failing point, the hosts would do so, as they had done in several epic battles over the years.
On Saturday UCL were no different from their ancestors, claiming, while not the lion’s share, a good 60% of the ball and, with Meads playing a four, four, two formation, taking advantage of a five man mid-field to monopolise possession, up to a point. This point was, as is Meads’ usual wont, ten yards into their half, beyond which Meads put their foot down, snuffed them out and struck back through counter attacks at pace led by Ed Glover and Ryan Bright up front.
After twenty five minutes of probing from each side Meads went one better with a ten pass move carried out at dazzling speed which ended with Bright free on the right and crossing for Glover to roll the ball in from ten yards, a pivotal moment which shook Acies rigid.
The hosts were even more easily contained in the second half and Meads added their second on the hour: sub Jake Gowers hit the bar with a snap shot from the edge of the area and mid-fielder Dave Brennan’s follow up header met the same fate but just as he was going to pop the loose ball into the empty net he was wiped out by the home keeper. This ploy was not worth the gamble: the keeper was dismissed, a further home player was booked for dissent and Glover obliged from the spot. At two down the hosts had to chase the game by throwing caution to the wind and with ten minutes to go Brennan broke through to chip the keeper. Even then a broken Acies spurned the referee’s attempt to give them a consolation by putting the spot kick wide after he’d harshly deemed that Meads’ keeper, Gary Robinson, had brought a striker down in a one on one when diverting the ball for a corner.
Post match, Joint Coach Paul Rumley who devotes himself fully to cogent but succinct instructions throughout play confined himself to nodding agreement as colleague, Rory Vermeulen expressed his admiration for a thoroughly professional team performance in execution of the three C’s, Contain, Counter and Cut-Down, a fact borne out by an opposition player who admitted that the Acies had been surprised by Meads’ physicality, while stressing that this had been totally legal. Centre back Ali McCombe was named MoM for his magnificent marshalling of Meads’ back four.