Old Meadonians 2 Honourable Artillery Company 1
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division
Saturday’s visitors to Riverside Lands, the Honourable Artillery Company have rarely been out of the top three recently and so, behind the closed changing room door, Old Meadonians’ joint coach Paul Rumley made it clear in his pre-match team talk that the visitors were to be treated with respect. This meant that they should be given no room or time in which to show their pace.
However, it was a bizarre and worrying decision which dominated this game and threatened to derail Old Meadonian's mini push which has returned them to the top of the table, after a brief absence, giving them the slight comfort of a game in hand over chasers Old Hamptonians and pushing H. A. C. into third place.
From the onset Meads, with the slight breeze, crowded the visitors who, despite keeping three up front, threatening the quick break, were kept at bay with such ease that it’s difficult to recall Meads’ keeper Gary Robinson having to make a single save until late in the game.
Meads in turn only managed just two memorable chances, a Craig Jones header and a Dave Brennan bicicletta which had to be fetched back from somewhere over the rainbow. They settled for a one goal half time lead, obtained when Dave Brennan flighted an in-swinging free-kick perfectly and Jordan Mace volleyed in from ten yards.
Ten minutes into the second half with Meads continuing to press, sub Jack Holmes was put in by Freddy Champion and brought down when on the point of putting the ball into the net for Craig Jones to make no mistake from the spot.
Meads were coasting and just fifteen minutes to the final whistle when high drama struck. Centre back Adam Goode whose nature has never belied his name, rose twenty five yards from his goal to cover a long searching high ball but seeing the ball was going for a goal kick allowed it to pass over and him over the line. He was still coming down when his marker who had not bothered to challenge in the air charged into him for Goode to land on top of him, injuring him. This player was the author of his own injury yet, to the consternation of those watching, instead of awarding Meads the free-kick they deserved, the referee totally misread the situation and naively equated this injury with foul play to award H.A.C. a free-kick and book Goode.
To rub salt into Meads’ wound the ball was then lashed into the far top corner. This led to the hosts being subjected to a fifteen minute aerial bombardment as the visitors bypassed the niceties of the game to seek every opportunity to pump the ball into Meads’ area, calling for desperate defence with keeper Gary Robinson showing good judgment in coming out to claim high balls. There was still time for John Shea to hit a thirty yarder which was brilliantly pushed onto the post by the H.A.C. keeper but justice was finally done. In his post match briefing Rumley was not sure whether the visitors had done themselves justice or had been denied the opportunity by the hosts. He gave the MoM award to veteran Kevin Quinn.
Squad: Robinson, Mace, Goode, McCombe, Quinn, G. Jones, Chapman, Shea, Brennan, C. Jones, Glover, F. Champion, Holmes, O’Sullivan.
April 1, 2015