Moor Mead Athletic 3 Teddington Athletic Dynamos 1
Moor Mead bounced back from last week’s reverse with an impressive home win against title rivals Teddington. Seven days after a late capitulation to Gemini, the boys produced a dominant final quarter to wrap up a well-deserved 3-1 victory.
Zac and Mani produced moments of magic up front, William W and Jeremias were solid at the back, Dilly, Will S, and Louis all made telling contributions, and Ollie was consistently impressive throughout the game.
Exiled to the far corner of Marble Hill, where the pitch looked like it had been through a funfair hall of mirrors, or a particularly perverse episode of glaciation in the Ice Age, both sides took a while to settle. The pace was frenetic from the off, but for all the cut and thrust the game lacked shape and quality in the early exchanges.
Zac, effectively marshalled by the Teddington defence in the first half, saw a long-range effort loop into the keeper’s hands. Shaifulah caused panic when he charged through the centre, but Ollie shot wide as the ball fell loose. Teddington offered little threat up front, but proved tough to break down at the back.
But Moor Mead began to assert themselves. A long-range effort from outside the box from Ollie smacked against the bar. At the other end, Alec did his best Rene Higuita, rushing close to the centre line to thwart a potential break.
Moor Mead began to pass the ball around sweetly, but couldn’t find a killer final ball. Then a characteristic MANI moment solved the problem. He pounced on a through ball and produced a quicksilver measured finish low into the near corner just out of reach of the diving keeper (1-0).
But just when the Parakeets looked ready to assume control the tectonic plates shifted again. Teddington forced a corner on the left, and the defence went AWOL. The cross evaded Alec’s grasp, and the ball was prodded over the line from six inches unchallenged (1-1). It could have been worse before half time: a free kick from the right sailed dangerously close.
The second half began well, though. There seemed to be more fluidity from the home side in midfield, and Zac began to escape his markers. He broke free down the left, and Jake was unlucky to see his shot clip the bar. Teddington tested Alec several times, but he dealt comfortably with everything they threw at him.
Zac and Tom combined well down the left, but Tom miscued when in on goal, and Jake did well to get a shot away, only to hit the woodwork again. Alec got down well at his near post to keep out a well-placed free kick.
Then in the move of the match, Moor Mead took the lead again. Louis broke up a Teddington attack, and fed Mani, who produced a great through ball which ZAC latched onto at pace, and chipped the keeper (2-1).
Moments later, Zac came close to producing the goal of the season, deploying his high class close control to slalom out of defence, and exchange an exquisite one-two with Mani, only scuff his shot wide when clean through. It didn’t matter, where the Parakeets gifted control to the opposition last week in the dying stages, this week they came on strong.
Great passing saw Mani and Zac go close again before Ollie released MANI on the right. He cut inside and steadied himself before picking his spot to apply the coup de grace high into the net (3-1).
There was no Coach Matthews hairdryer at the final whistle this week. Just satisfaction a job well done, and a sunny feeling at very effectively freezing out the opposition.