Meads Seconds Topple League Leaders
AFC Division 2 South- Old Meadonians 2nds 3, Fitzwilliam Old Boys 1sts 0
With Old Meadoniansí first team having a welcome respite from the fray, especially in the light of their Amateur Football Senior Cup semi final game against Polytechnic on 4th March, it was Meadsí reserves who took centre stage at Riverside Lands on Saturday. They soon found themselves emulating their so-called betters in every way, toppling league leaders, Fitzwilliam Old Boys, from the summit with an emphatic 3-nil win.
This Meadsí second team has long been averse to being called the Ďreservesí as this infers that their only role in life is to provide back-up for the first team. This could not be further from the truth as it really suggests that every member of the team can aspire to acquiring a first team place and this is a prime motivator. Better than that, on Saturday the twos had about five players who have had first team experience and others who looked good bets for the future. As with Meadsí firsts the basis of the twosí plan was to be watertight at the back and this was aided by the return of solid and confidant Joe Beharie in goal, fresh from his semi-sabbatical. Their mid-field was highly mobile and, after the first twenty minutes when Jordan Mace came off for Jeusy Neto, with a muscle strain, they boasted arguably the most menacing pair of strikers in the league, Matt Allen and Neto.
However, by that time Matt Allen had already set about cementing his reputation, seizing on Michael Richardsí careful knock-down and lashing the ball into the far top corner from just outside the area on ten minutes. Meadsí plan was always going to be subject to input from their visitors who had not lead the table on hot air and showed it constantly by playing possession football with a packed mid-field for frustration purposes, but without realising that they were being allowed to keep the ball in their own territory and themselves suffered from being snuffed out when they ventured further forward.
Following the set-back suffered from Meadsí early goal the visitors started to show their constructive side and although their period of so-called supremacy extended for over a half an hour they still met with obduracy in Meadsí end of the pitch and itís difficult to recall Beharie having to make a significant save throughout. During Fitzwilliamís period of ascendency it became apparent that the twos had chosen to mimic one of the first teamís less attractive habits, that of standing back to admire the efforts of talented front men to infiltrate the visitorsí defence single handed, without offering any form of support. This period of frustration was typified by the sight of front runners having to beat their markers and not always succeeding and was only broken by Michael Richardsí solo effort on 65 minutes, capping his top notch game.
Matt Allen hammered the last nail into Fitzwilliamís coffin with ten minutes to go sent a resounding message to the rest of the league. The MoM award went to young debutant George Harsini who stepped up from the fourth team to give a memorable account of himself, starting at left back and later moving to left wing from where he was instrumental in setting up Matt Allenís second which effectively killed off the game.
February 20, 2017