Old Meads make it to the final
Amateur Football Alliance Middlesex & Essex Senior Cup
- Old Meadonians 3 Winchmore Hill 2
Old Meadonians reached the final of the A.F.A. Middlesex and Essex Senior Cup at Riverside Lands on Saturday, but only after being punished for eschewing their customary ruthlessness and allowing Winchmore Hill to come back from a two goal half time deficit and take them to extra time.
This was to be the clash of the season with Meads, last year’s beaten finalists and Amateur Football Combination champions, facing the doyen of the Southern Amateurs, handily placed in the league, having conceded just two league goals this season.
Also, since Hill had already beaten Meads in the final of the pre-season Greenland Cup, they were the bookies’ favourite to cause an upset. In the event it was pulsating although the wind had last say, preventing the cultured football of which either side is capable. There were notable absences from both line-ups, but it was Meads who found their cutting edge through resurgent striker Colin Hawkins.
His pace was soon causing problems and, on the half hour his swift turn in the area caught out his marker, and centre back Alastair McCombe buried the resultant spot kick.
Shortly afterwards Hawkins’ took a pass from partner Ed Glover and an electric burst took him past three defenders. His cross shot was brilliantly saved but not to be denied he notched a deserved second with five minutes of the half remaining, finishing from close in as Kevin Quinn headed down a Ryan Russell cross at the far post. Throughout the first half Hill’s main threat came from the accuracy of set pieces, both corners and free kicks.
Now with the wind behind them on the restart they began to search for cracks in the creaking home defence. Within half an hour they had clawed their way back into contention, albeit from two speculative strikes, the first from just inside the box and the second as the ball came back off the bar twice in quick succession, leaving McCombe with a bleeding nose from a boot which might have been deemed dangerous in any other part of the pitch.
Meads then gathered their remaining strength to hold out for the final ten minutes and came out the stronger in extra time, adding a final twist to the wrack by introducing the pace of seventeen year old Albert Adomah alongside Hawkins. He was soon adding to Hill’s problems and was unlucky with two offside calls which were marginal.
It was fitting that Hawkins scored the winner five minutes in, with an overhead kick after his first effort came off the bar. This was Meads, still missing five from the squad but nevertheless still hungry and dangerous, and, capable of rewarding the management who had primed them so skilfully. Not surprisingly Colin Hawkins was MoM.
February 28, 2006