Old Meadonians 1 Old Thorntonians 0
Old Meadonians ground out their first win of the season, gratefully taking the points from newly promoted Old Thorntonians at Riverside Lands on Saturday. However, it was anything but a satisfactory occasion as the hosts made heavy weather against a team who, although they were obdurate in defence and fought like tigers in midfield still had little inventive ability to test the home defence.
The visitors need not have worried as Meads, far from being totally repellent, did their best early on to make them welcome by supplying them with the ball whenever they could. Before the game had progressed half an hour Meads’ keeper Gary Robinson had been called upon to make two heart stopping saves, flying across the goal to achieve huge leverage on swirling shots and push them to safety with the crowd mouthing, “It’s in!”
Before another thirty minutes had passed he had doubled this tally of crucial interventions, interspersed with the comparatively routine chore of fisting the ball away at corners when under aerial pressure, to make him hands down winner of the MoM award.
At the other end, despite Meads taking a grip on the game from ten minutes to the break, Meads’ twin strikers Matt Allen and Nick Wilson found that, although their pace could put them deep into enemy territory, they had little support from a mid-field which had its hands full containing feisty opposite numbers who were allowed far too much leeway by a referee more at home overseeing a Sunday School outing. This was highlighted when his award of a goal kick to Thorns was correct but only if one forgot the fact that the Meads’ player putting the ball over the goal line had been flattened from behind. His lack of common duty of care led to the only booking of the match when Ryan De Coteau bit back after being hacked and buffeted over a ten yard run with the referee looking benevolently on.
Meads’ goal came fifteen minutes after the break, Greenslade made a penetrative run from deep creating space for the roving Allen to cut and find his partner in crime Wilson with a clever reverse, leaving Wilson to put he finishing touches to the best move of the game. Allen could have made a it 2-0 with a good chance only 10 minutes later but his fiercely struck shot was parried away well by the opposing keeper leaving the hosts to see out the remainder of the game for a hard fought 1-0 win and the first 3 points of the season.
In his post match briefing, Manager Luke Graham, flanked by assistant Ali McCombe, disagreed with the tone of the press corps to reel off a list of plusses from the match: Good response from the squad in a difficult start to the season,; the return of Gerrish, Shea and Brennan; De Coteau in the starting line up; a good debut from new signing, Chris Greenslade,; the containment of physical opposition and above all Gary Robinson’s saves - culminating in a clean sheet and a valuable 3 points - a solid base from which to work and progress.
Squad: Robinson, Shea, De Coteau, Gerrish, Mantel (Mace), Gowers, Boynton (Greenslade), Brennan, Allen (Goode), Wilson.
September 23, 2015