Meads Triumph in Cup Final
Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup Final - Old Meadonians F.C. 3 Polytechnic F.C. 0
Old Meadonians comfortably withstood a feisty and skilful challenge from local rivals Polytechnic to retain the Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup and bring their tally to an impressive three successes in four seasons at Southbank/ CUACO, Dulwich on Saturday.
Coming off a string of three defeats on the run this was always going to be a test of Meadsí resilience, firstly to win their first and undoubtedly merited honour in what has been another glorious season and then to prove that they were once more in the business of catching up on fixture congestion and overhauling league leaders U.C.L.
It was a help that the match was played on the ground where Meads hammered a hapless U.C.L. 7-1 in last yearís semi-final but it was also the case that, for Poly, who are struggling in the league, this was a one off match and an occasion to which they were bound to rise.
The calm of the Meadsí changing room as coaches Paul Rumley and Rory Vermeulen gave concise instructions was soon dispelled once the holders were on the pitch. They tore into Poly with disciplined ferocity and it would have been no injustice if they had been four up in twenty minutes. Striker Ed Glover was tormentor in chief with two near post headers which brought equally instinctive saves from the Poly keeper but his partner Colin Hawkins was only just behind with a couple of near misses.
It rapidly became a seven man attack as mid-fielder Kevin carried the ball relentlessly into enemy territory and Steve Kearney just failed to connect with his cross. Meads won several corners and the welcome return to form of skipper Jack Costello saw him creating havoc with these and free kicks around the area. On twenty minutes Meads took a blow when experienced sweeper Dan Salanson limped off with a pulled hamstring but the difference was marginal as midfielder Barry McGuinness took over at the back and his place was taken by Danny Bond.
However by the half hour mark Poly had shown that they could take punishment and fight back and all bets were off as Meadsí keeper Kris Sayers had to make two crucial saves to keep the slate clean. Before half time Meads were back in the saddle with Glover just too high with a lob as the keeper came out and Quinn bending a beautiful twenty five yard free kick round the wall to bring another excellent save from the goalie.
On the resumption, with the breeze Meads penned Poly in once more but didnít make the break through until twenty minutes in when yet another pinpointed corner from Costello was powerfully headed in by youthful centre back Ian Williamson. Within five minutes it was two when another Costello corner was prodded in by a defender.
Now for the first time in half an hour Poly took the initiative as pressed as Meads relaxed. They had one shot just too high and hit the junction of bar and post with Sayers beaten but this was their swan song. With five minutes to go Glover capped an outstanding performance by outpacing the defence and crashing in the third from fifteen yards.
Meads: Sayers, Salanson, (Bond), Hanley, Williamson, Rhone, Kearney, (Pointon), Costello, Quinn, McGuinness, Glover, Hawkins, (Wapshott).
April 17, 2005