Old Meadonians VII 4 (4) – (3) 4 Old Aloysians IV
(2-3 at half time, 4-4 after 90 minutes, 4-4 after 120 minutes, 4-3 on penalties after 6 penalties each)
LOB Minor Cup - Round 3
Saturday 20th January 2007
Jacobs, the Meads captain was quoted prior to Saturdays contest with top flight (North 2) opposition Aloysians as saying “This is fucking huge lads!” and he couldn’t have been more accurate. Playing a team five divisions above and top of their table in the latter stages of the most prestigious amateur cup, Old Meads had their work cut out.
Legendary defender Nick Holmes was struggling to make kick off, stuck on a flight back from Amsterdam where he’d picked up the coveted European Player of the Year award. Tactics were quickly drawn up as a stop gap. Davey Yorath would have to slip back into his exemplary right-back mode whilst Edward Gregory Haxton filled the gap left by the aging Holmes.
It was a very windy Saturday and Timmy Mallet’s men went into the game looking to play the football that has earned them their 100% record. Jacobs lost the toss and Aloysians opted to kick with the wind, a decision that was to shape the entire game. Beggers, standing in for Timmy “Shepton” Mallet in the sticks was immediately under pressure as the pace and guile of top flight opposition used the wind to their advantage. Winning corners with ease and whipping in dangerous cross after dangerous cross, Meads knew early it was going to be a very tough 45 minutes.
Aloysians opted to play a 4-5-1formation so Ryan “Naysmith” Kohn and new recruit, former Wycombe Wanderers striker Leeyon Phelan had three Aloysian players to contend with in the midfield. It was Ryan, the magnanimous Ox of a man who was imperious from the first minute and stamped his Jewish arrogance on the contest. Battling to win possession it was Kohn who, against the run of play, played in Jacobs. The Denholme lad weaved past one defender before being hauled down in the box for a stone-wall pen. The ref pointed to the spot and into the wind Jacobs stepped up, sent the keeper to the left and slotted home into the bottom right corner. Meads had a precious lead but it wasn’t to last long. Aloysians were strong in the air and finally made a corner count, levelling the tie with a powerful header just 5 minutes later.
With the wind in their favour the North 2 side continued to press. It wasn’t long before Haxton and Green at the centre of defence let their guard slip and the wildly pacey Aloysians striker YaYa made them pay. Meads heads refused to drop and Mallets men refocused and mounted their challenge. Like men possessed Meads just simply refused to lie down. This time it was Ryan who provided the final touch, following neat work from star striker Del Boy Trotter who’d jig passed two men before delightfully chipping a defence splitting through ball to the midfield maestro. Ryan took a touch, committed the keeper and slotted home off the post from the tightest of angles. At this point Meads were probably guilty of over-celebrating as Ryan and Jacobs were held aloft by Timmy Mallet but it was a precious moment and vital in the context of the game.
Again pressing hard for the lead Aloysians knew their wind advantage was almost over. They moved the ball quickly and forced Beggers into a save that fell directly at the feet of an Aloysians player 5 yards out. Skip Lee threw himself at the ball but it was in vain as the shot was slammed across goal and in off the toe of Davey Y, who was scrambling to save his side. Davey almost scored at the other end minutes later but was guilty of a criminal miss from two yards. Meads were down but by no means out.
Mallet gathered his troops and following key advice from top assistant coach Andy Jacobs (AJ)
Meads began plotting their second half tactics. On came veteran defender Nick Holmes and Shepton Mallet retuned from a calf injury to replace Beggers in goal. The Mighty Meads were ready to make their wind advantage really count.
Del Boy Trotter and Matty Ringading who have forged a world class partnership up top with their mix of continental flair and mouth-watering skill paired with robust English grit began to tighten their grip on the game. Davey Yorath, who had moved into his favoured right wing position, became a potent threat to the Aloysians defence. Tenacious runs, skill and pace have made Davey Y a key asset to the balance of Mallets side.
Meads needed to make the pressure count and it wasn’t long before Del Boy Trotter linked up with his partner Ringading to send an unstoppable strike of superb class into the top left corner of the goal. Meads were level and bang on top.
Holmes brought calm to the defence and Green, now reunited with his defensive partner, shone. Lung bursting 40 yard runs and immaculate, pacey defending is what has earned Green his formidable reputation and he showed all his qualities today. Haxton, having moved from centre to right back also showed superb class. Skip “Gums” Lee, as is now so often the case, was strong, commanding and composed throughout.
Meads showed utter passion and commitment to compete at the higher level and had several chances to win the game before Del weaved his magic with Ringo once more. Beating three men before crossing Delly took the keeper out of the equation and Ringading slotted home from a yard. It was a beautiful goal that could’ve been scored on a dirt pitch in Rio by a young Ronaldinho but this time it was on a windy, cold day in Chiswick scored by Ringaldinho! Meads deserved their lead and played like warriors to hold onto it.
With 12 minutes to go a misplaced pass by the Aloysians right back was neatly controlled by Ringo but he had no support. Ding opted for a long back pass to Mikey Green which put the Chiswick lad under pressure in a bad position. Meads lost possession and within an instant Haxton and Holmes were skinned. YaYa hit a low hard shot into the bottom corner beating Mallet at his near post. It was a gut wrenching blow against the run of play and took the game into extra time. Cramp was rife. Ryan and Leeyon, who had covered miles to protect the back four and assist the strike force, were suffering. Extra time was going to be very tough.
Jacobs this time won the toss and decided to play into the wind again first half and Meads had to battle hard to protect their goal. Working tirelessly Leeyon eventually went down with severe cramp, had to go off and was replaced by “The Fisheries Commission” Liam Fisher. Ed Haxton moved into the centre bringing fresh legs to midfield and Meads were solid. Mallet and the defence were excellent in the first period of extra time, dealing with crosses and soaking up the constant pressure. Finally Mallets men entered the final period of extra time, with the wind in their favour and the chance to create a huge cup upset.
Beggers screamed encouragement from the touchline and the fans were on the edges of their seats. Now was the time to make a real impact in the football world. Ringo volleyed over in spectacular fashion from 6 yards, Del Boy beat two men and the keeper but had his effort cleared off the line, Davey Y slammed a close range effort over and Jacobs again broke through the defences but failed to beat the keeper from 8 yards. Aloysians played for penalties and penalties is what they got.
This epic contest was about to be decided, like so many important matches, in a penalty shootout and as ever the nerves were jangling. The teams gathered in the centre circle and penalty taker names were given to the referee Denis Kilgallon. Jacobs won the toss again and chose the first pen.
- Jacobs stepped up to face a keeper he’d already beaten once from the spot. Right first time, left the next, bottom corner, 1-0.
- Mallet, a fine keeper and a penalty specialist took his mark. The Aloysians player struck his shot low to the right but Mallet saved comfortably and Meads were one up.
- Del Boy, the multimillion pound talent stepped up to take the second kick. Shaping with a long run up to strike the ball into the left corner, he connected cleanly but the keeper saved well. 1-0 and Aloysians had the chance to level.
- The Aloysians centre back scored without fuss. 1-1
- Ryan exhausted from the contest but a good penalty taker adopted for a straight run up and slotted home in cool fashion. 2-1
- Up stepped the eccentric YaYa who simply chipped the ball straight down the middle and past the despairing dive of Mallet. 2-2
- Davey Y took responsibility and marched to the spot. Having already scored an own goal the pressure was really on but Davey Y opted for power over placement and left the keeper no chance. Meads were 3-2 up and the pressure was back on Aloysians.
- It told. Up stepped a big defender who smashed his shot high, sailing beautifully away onto the next pitch. 3-2
- Timmy Mallet taking fifth had the chance to win it all and send his team into the quarter finals. Struck low to the left in Shepard-like fashion the keeper guessed right to deny Mallet the glory. 3-2
- Could mallet return the favour and win it with the gloves? No! The Aloysians keeper stepped up for the final penalty. 3-3.
- With the pressure at its height Mikey Green took responsibility. With a long wavering run up the “ladies man” slammed home his drive to make it 4-3. Something had to give.
- Mallet stood on his mark and the Aloysians player prepared for his kick. Jacobs couldn’t watch. Tension was at breaking point. SAVE! Mallet saves to win it all and the team pile on top of him in mass celebration that was milked for all it was worth!
It was a hum dinger of a contest. A battle fraught with majestic interplay, hunger and team work. Meads had battled hard for a hundred and twenty minutes, held their nerve and beaten a superior team. Every player was a champion. It wasn’t just a win for the team present but for the entire squad. Top class left back Jaymond Raymond Baht out with an ankle injury, Eggy suffering from work commitments and Adam Rhys Dee who’s with his gramps Ted Macintosh to whom the win is dedicated all missed out but were there in spirit. The Meads juggernaut continues to roll on and Mallets men look unstoppable. [REPORT BY D.M. JACOBS]
Team: S Begley (T Lee – 45), D Yorath, N Lee, L Phelan (L Fisher – 114), M Green, E Haxton, D Jacobs, R Kohn, A Trotter, M Ring, S Pullen (N Holmes – 45)
Goals: Jacobs 15
Old Aloysians 20
Old Aloysians 30
Old Aloysians 37
Old Aloysians 78