Old Meadonians 3 Old Minchendenians 2
Visitors to Riverside Lands, Old Minchendenians, are setting themselves high standards: their A.F.C. Premiership winning squad of 2011-12 and 2012-13 only managed to be runners up last season and has already been melted down for remoulding.
Not only that but the new casting, despite needing buffing up, has, during the season, accrued enough nous to be able to shake Old Meadonians rigid by worthily taking a two goal lead early in the second half on Saturday and defending it until the last knockings when Meads somehow produced a rabbit from their hat.
With the breeze in their favour in the first half, although the hosts shaded possession by 55/45%, they could still only muster two half chances, the first when Craig Jones was put in by Ed Glover but found the angle too much. The second was a header from John Shea which shaved the bar. On the restart it needed an early cold douche of two goals against before the hour to bring Meads to their senses. Just two minutes in, an uncharacteristic misjudgement of bounce by centre-back Ali McCombe, on from half-time with foam rubber and bandage protecting scar tissue of eight stitches on his forehead, instantly put Minchs’ Tylan Uysal on the ball thirty yards out and saw Meads’ keeper Gary Robinson stranded in no-man’s land without a paddle.
Robinson could only wave as Uysal’s lob sailed in. Ten minutes later the visitors had their cushion, when Callum Farrand cut in from the left and from the edge of the area unleashed the kind of shot which has to be nipped in the bud and consequently flew into the far top corner. Change was obligatory and on came loose cannon Gavin Jones in mid-field, fresh from the States, having completed his course after being there on a football scholarship. Instantly, spurred on by this substitution, Meads put on a power play, pinning Minchs back in their area for a full ten minutes before Dave Brennan found Craig Jones on the edge of the area and Jones’ five yard burst took him past his marker to lift the ball over the advancing keeper from twelve yards.
The hosts were now open to counter attack and it took a superb save by Robinson to prevent a third for Minchs which would have put the kybosh on Meads’ recovery. The visitors broke clear down the right but just as Robinson advanced to narrow the angle he found himself having to back peddle to cover a deep cross. His dipping stretch-dive was just enough to turn the resultant header past the post for a corner. However, Meads were not about to be diverted from their task and the equaliser came with just five minutes to go with defender Adam Goode’s second in three weeks, again from a beautifully timed run and header, applied to an in-swinging corner.
Finally, in a dramatic Wagnerian postlude in injury time, a flourish of passes set Aidan Chapman free on the right and his accurate cut back gave Glover a chance to snatch the winner with a far post tap in. In his briefing after the match joint coach Paul Rumley silenced the undercurrent of muttering of ‘lucky old Meads’ by announcing that the whole team were being given the MoM award for their unfailing perseverance and self belief.