“The boys are down in there!” OB told us as he came out of the dressing room. “Todays a competition that I’ve always enjoyed; it’s a good competition and I want to be in it. We bowed out of the FA Cup way too easily last week in a real bad day for us and I thought we’d get a real good go at it today.” Sadly OB was wrong as after taking the lead seven minutes into the second half through Paul Vines, two goals for the home side between seventy and seventy-seven minutes saw the Mead exit our third different Cup competition in eight days.
The game’s first real chance fell to the Casuals as full back Morgan’s low drive saw Tyler McCarthy make a super low save before the Mead’s chances took a blow as Joe Vines hobbled off with a hamstring injury. Joe’s brother Paul then flashed a header wide from a corner before Ellis Green’s low drive saw Casuals keeper Bracken make a fine save. Uzin then wasted a good chance when well placed for the home side, before Bracken made a second fine save – this time blocking Ike Feehi’s 1-on-1 effort. Vinesy then flashed a second header wide from a super run and cross from Warren Whitely as the half ended with the Mead in the ascendency.
Uzin should have given the home side the lead in the early minutes of the second half when heading a corner wide when completely unmarked. Vinesy then did give the Mead the lead following some great work from the hard-working Bode Anidugbe fed Ike, who’s first time ball in turn fell to Vinesy who coolly clipped the ball past keeper Bracken. The Casuals keeper then excelled and kept his side in tie shortly afterwards with an excellent save to keep out Ike’s header, before Vinesy missed a couple of good chances. Firstly he glanced a header from Jay Porters free kick just wide before a last home defender did just enough to thwart the Mead number nine at the back post with a superb challenge that wasn’t even recognised by the match officials as a goal-kick was awarded following a quick-corner!
Then it all went horribly wrong for the visitors as the home side scored twice in seven minutes to take the advantage. On seventy minutes Hodges’ deep hanging cross wasn’t dealt with by the Mead back-line and Serbony was able to bundle the ball home as the Mead conceded another poor goal before on seventy seven minutes Morgan repeated his earlier drive – this time the ball arrowed past a wrong footed and unsighted Tyler and into the bottom corner.
The Mead’s misfortune was then highlighted in stoppage time when Casuals keeper Bracken didn’t deal with a cross but saw the ball ricochet off the back of a defender and loop straight back into the arms of a very relieved keeper.
After the game, a clearly frustrated OB told us, “I think we had enough chances to win the game but again we didn’t!” Shrugging he continued, “we now have to go again on Tuesday at Ware – I don’t mind if we don’t touch the ball for 89 minutes if we get a 1-0 win and that might just lift the changing room a little bit. I’ve been in teams that have nicked a 1-0 and the confidence that that gives you is unbelievable but as we’ve just said to them in the dressing room, there are responsibilities on the management and the players but the bottom line is that it lies with the players and we can’t do this without them, and if they don’t buy into to it, we’re struggling. They say all the right things and want to do all the right things – we just need that little bit of luck and that little bit of confidence that will hopefully kick start it!”