Gemini 3 Moor Mead Athletic 1 Moor Mead’s sparkling start to the season was blown off course in disappointing fashion in Thames Ditton. The boys huffed and puffed against tenacious opponents, but conceded two late goals to drop their first points of the new campaign.
There was no lack of effort, but little end product on a day when the gusting cross wind made serious claim to be man of the match. The difficult conditions contributed to a scrappy start as both sides struggled to keep the ball under control.
Gemini’s number 9 stretched the Moor Mead defence, and got a shot away, which Alec got down to well. Making the most of the wind, the home team started to dominate possession, keeping the Parakeets pinned back, despite a full-throated Gibson roar, complimented by a Leon echo from the sidelines. Moor Mead looked lethargic, and found it tough to maintain possession, too often choosing the arial route on a day when it was never likely to pay dividends. It wasn’t until the 19th minute that they created their first chance, Shaifulah bursting into the area, only to be well blocked by the home keeper. Finally, The Parakeets began to impose themselves on the game. Louis in particular showing some nice touches. A through ball from Mani held up in the wind, and Zac connected, the ball rolling agonisingly past the post. Next Zac was denied by the keeper after a determined run down the right by Will Sutton. But Gemini continued to pose a threat, and Moor Mead were lucky to see a return punt from a clearance by Alec fall wide. The home side then broke the deadlock from a direct free kick out on the left which, coming directly out of the surging wind, sailed straight in over Alec’s head (1-0). It was a tough break for Moor Mead, who had battled back manfully, only to find themselves neutralised as much by the conditions as the opposition. The suspicion was that, playing with the wind, the second half would be very different, and so it immediately seemed as Moor Mead pulled level within moments of the re-start. Miles, who for once found himself up against it in a ferocious tussle for midfield supremacy, won the ball well, and fed Ollie, who released ZAC down the left. He pulled away from the defence, and finished clinically (1-1). Moor Mead enjoyed a purple patch. Jake and Tom combined well, Tom fired over from distance, and only an excellent series of defensive blocks stopped the Parakeets taking the lead. Tom and Shiafulah both went close as the intensity ratcheted up, with Dilly showing his customary bite in midfield, and Rory pushing forward down the right flank. Shiafulah barrelled through the centre, and Tom lifted a shot just wide. But then Moor Mead seemed to run out of steam. Gemini took advantage of defensive indecision, sweeping in on goal to restore their lead despite a brave effort from Alec, who rushed from his line (1-2).
Then, a superb solo effort put the game beyond the Parakeets. The Gemini winger left two defenders on the floor out on the left, before chipping a beautiful finish into the far corner (1-3). The final score might seem harsh, but in truth, for all their application, Moor Mead failed to play to the conditions, and were undone by the pugnacity and nous of a well-drilled side, earning a lengthy blast from Coach Matthews to rival the howling squalls that did so much to knock them off their stride all match.