Magnificent Meads Come Back from the Dead
AFA Senior Cup - University College London Old Boys 2 Old Meads 3 aet
This quarter final Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup match billed as a clash of Titans lived up to that billing in every way.
UCL, winners in 2000 and 2001, are unbeaten this season and are rightly top of the Amateur Football Combination premier division and, current holders and winners in 2002, Meads have lost just once.
The setting, UCL’s country residence at London Colney, was transformed into a ‘blasted heath’ by a squalling wind gusting at up to thirty mph which had the driving rain coming in like stair-rods. Both sides manfully fought the elements and overcame them to a degree but it was Meads who clawed their way back into the game after finding themselves cruelly and unjustly two down against the run of play.
The first came from an isolated attack by the hosts on fifteen minutes. Three players rose for the ball simultaneously thirty yards out and the ref. deemed a sandwich out of nothing. What price every corner now being a penalty! The free kick which might have gone anywhere in the windy circumstances found a small hole in the top corner for the first.
The second came within five minutes as Meads’ keeper Kris Sayers was safely catching an easy cross only for a capricious gust to lift the ball up and over him. Meads continued to have territorial advantage but their front runners Colin Hawkins and Ed Glover could never be certain of the run of the ball which was firmly policed out of danger by a resolute defence which put the ball into the next field at the first sign of danger.
The UCL attack was kept at a distance by the Meads’ defence well marshalled by a commanding and unassuming performance by Dan Salanson. The visitors were not to be denied, however, and on the stroke off half-time skipper Jack Costello slammed in from fifteen yards to give his team a life-line. The first half squall over the wind dropped considerably and although the visitors carried the attack to their opponents, without reward, they seemed doomed when, with five minutes of full time to go, Kevin Quinn dinked into the area and appeared to be brought down from behind when about to pull the trigger from ten yards, only for the ref. to wave play on.
The ref’s watch had only seconds to go when Colin Hawkins broke on the left, cut in and drove in a low cross for Ed ‘cometh the man’ Glover to produce a superb left foot flying scissor flick behind his right leg into the far corner.
Extra time saw Meads facing another squall in the first half but despite this all the hosts could muster was a high ball into the goalmouth which Kris Sayers dealt with despite being clattered from four foot below the ball. It was an extreme personal poetic justice that Kevin Quinn got the winner with five minutes to go. A desperate tackle on the right hand side of the area which earned a rare booking in a game played in good spirit brought a free kick. Quinn and Costello stood over the ball and, with the position favouring a right foot shot, Costello ran over the ball for a jubilant Quinn to bend the ball left footed round the wall into the near corner for the just winner.
Team; Sayers, Salanson, Hanley, Wapshott, Costello, Kearney, ( Rhone), Bond, (Pointon), Quinn, McGuinness, Hawkins, (Bowring), Glover.
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February 17, 2005