Complacent Meads Count the Cost
Amateur Football Combination Premier Division -
Honourable Artillery Company 3 Old Meadonians 1
An uncharacteristic blip in travel arrangements was a prime factor in Old Meadonians tamely surrendering the unbeaten league record they have cherished for over a year at Mottingham on Saturday. Keeper Kris Sayers was caught in traffic on the M25 and failed to get to the ground on time. That, and the consequent disruption of pre-match preparations handed the Honourable Artillery Company a golden opportunity, which they grabbed with both hands.
Meads’ decision to try to preserve their subs by starting with ten men and with sweeper Dan Salanson in goal also backfired as by the time Sayers arrived they were already two down and had been forced to throw on the eleventh man to stem a flood tide. On the arrival of Sayers, the decision to take off Salanson, whose pace is often needed to bolster a defence which does not number manoeuvrability as one of its assets, was problematic too but was attributed to his not being fully fit.
This is not to detract from the performance of the Gunners who had already been marked out as a danger by Meads’ management and were certainly well prepared and up for it. It was Meads who had the first chance; it fell to striker Leon Smith who just took the ball too far and in trying to cut in onto his left foot was crowded out. For the next half hour the hosts gave their visitors one of the most hostile receptions imaginable and without exaggeration could well have been six up.
They had to settle for three but in the process had a good shout for a penalty turned down when striker Ollie Whyman mysteriously came to grief and shortly before half time Rob Imlah hit the post. Whyman got the first goal on ten minutes slotting in Imlah’s through ball from just inside the box and five minutes later Michael Jolly put Steve Onyems in for the second.
On the half hour, just as Meads were sorting themselves out Whyman got the killer third from a flick on by Nick Marsden.Meads now started to play and minutes to the interval striker Colin Hawkins was unlucky to see his lob go just wide. The second half was Meads’ territorially, as they put the pressure on but only created half chances with H.A.C. still dangerous from breakaways. Meads’ consolation came with fifteen to go, Leon Smith putting away a half clearance from ten yards.