Year: 2017

Under 9s vs Kingstonian – 19.11.17

19th November 2017

Merton Under 9s                                             5
Kingstonian Under 9s                                     1

Goal scorers:      Faris 2
Louis
Archie
Ollie

MOM:                   Harry

This week saw the under 9s play away against Kingstonian under 9s in the second game of the mini festival. A pre match weather warning message was received the night before from the coach, telling parents and boys to wrap up warm for the match. Arriving at the pitch, there was a chill in the air, but conditions were perfect for a game of football.  The boys arrived on time for the warm up; absence of Coach Neal who had the task of picking up David, he had the address on his phone which ran out of battery.  After finding David’s location, he finally arrived to take over the warm up from Roy.  Roy looked pretty warmed up himself fishing the balls out from the ditch behind the goal.

The facilities at Kingstonian’s ground were nice, hot drinks available and pitch close to the patio area. This meant no sinking in the mud whilst watching, the shoes stayed clean and feet not as cold this week.

Referee who had a good game started the match promptly. This week the formation was to be 1 in defence and overload the midfield/forwards.  The starting line up was Max (GK), Ollie (defence), Joe, Louis, Percy (midfield), Lewis and Faris (Forwards).  Subs this week were Archie, Harry and David. This formation worked well throughout the game.  Both teams started well creating numerous of chances.  1st goal came from a mistake from their defender and goalkeeper. This led to Faris pouncing on their mistake and putting the ball into the net.  We continued to create chances, until they broke through and scored making it 1 – 1.  The boys not looking downhearted kicked off and this is where they absolutely played the best football they have played this season.  Changes made, David, Harry and Archie on.  David picked the ball up just inside their half and hit a thunder strike at the goal, it was on target but a superb save by the keeper denied David his first goal for Merton.  The save was parried out by the keeper which fell to Faris’s feet who placed the ball into the net. 2 – 1 and that’s how the half finished.

The second half, wow total football is all I can describe it as. It had everything in it; great passing, good link up play, hard tackling, one touch passing, great defending and a wonder save from Max.  The opposition didn’t really put any pressure on Max in goal, who, apart from a one on one situation and pulling off the save of the season had a quiet second half.  This could have been for the great defending from Harry (Tony Adams) in defence.  He was solid all game including a great tackle near the end to deny them from scoring another one on one goal.

Now for our 3 goals, first one was by Archie.  After what looked like a two footed challenge by Archie, not according to the ref, somehow got back to his feet and managed to place the ball beyond the scrambling keeper.  3 – 1 and now a bit more comfortable. Second goal came from an Ollie free kick, who crossed the ball into the box.  The ball bounced through to Louis at the back post to put the ball into the net.  Our third came from a through ball by Archie to an on running Ollie through on goal who placed the ball beyond the keeper.  5 – 1 and well deserved.  

All the boys played their hearts in this game, everyone was buzzing from this result. It was good to see the progress they have made from the start of the season.  Observation made is that it seems every time Roy’s daughter, Lauren doesn’t show for a game the boys win, just saying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moments off the pitch – Lewis managing to break the MOM trophy before the game. Luckily later that day Roy found a replacement. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fumes of alcohol coming from Stewart and telling us that Percy is never drinking if that is what he will smell like after a session.  One way of keeping kids off of alcohol I suppose.  Taff preparing himself for an afternoon with Paddington and showing us his new Doc Martins!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectator Bobby, warming up with the team and smacking Joe in the crown jewels with the ball. The corner we took, not realising that one of their players was still scrambling out of the ditch after getting the ball.

Last game next week of the festival fixtures at home to Croygas.  A local derby and rival match against some of the boys former team mates. Play like they did today and we will smash ‘em

 

                               

1s vs Wandsworth Borough – 11.11.17

1s v Wandsworth Borough AFA Surrey/Kent Cup

We didn’t know what to expect in this game. WB had beaten Old Parks in the last round. Some of my other football friends play for Old Parks and always tell me how good they are. Yikes!

We played really well in the first half and went in at half time 1-0 up. New guy Aaron, well he’s not new because he plays for the 4s but he was new to us but you know what I mean, scored our goal with a cheeky lob. Aaron’s like a younger, better looking, version of me.

I got kicked and pushed over a lot in the first half. I wish Al was still here to look after me.

WB came out much better in the second half and we were nowhere near our first half levels. This meant we were 2-1 down after 20 minutes. We played better in the last 25 minutes but couldn’t break WB down.

I thought I played well but I got DOTD for trying a scissors kick. I’m the only person in the team that could pull this sort of skill off. Well maybe Aaron “the younger, better me” could.

Sorry it’s short but I’m not very funny or great with words.

Ivan Gladkow aged 34 3/4

Team: Siri, Rat, Harrison, Clappers, Browner, Jimbo, Crusher, Sam H, Me, Charlie, Aaron. Subs: Will Low and Chaz

2s vs Old Finchleians – 11.11.17

Old Finchleians (h) 0-3

Let’s get the positives out of the way first.

Good, hope that didn’t take up too much of your time. On to the match, which was to Merton 2s’ confidence what Kevin Spacey is to future box office success.

Merton surged into a 1-0 deficit courtesy of Joe Grew’s face when Finchleians began with the bit between their teeth. Wicked deflection, Sherbs had no chance.

Still, the men in yellow could look to the unstoppably chirpy and puppy-like EJ for some bounce. He spent the first half gallivanting up and down the right side with something that looked like purpose, but squandered the best chance when through on goal after a delicious Wilgo through-ball.

That was about as good as it got for Team Handsome.

Clowesy got sent off. Early doors, second half. It was absolutely a red: a ‘tired dad’ kind of challenge when the quickest guy on the pitch was through on goal. Something of a farce followed in the form of a discussion as to what exactly constituted being ‘away from the pitch’; the Joseph Hood changing room car park was eventually deemed suitable. Clowesy watched on from afar, mercifully away from the field of play, many wished they could have joined him.

We conceded twice more: once was a tip-toe around Sherbs, who made a tired dad kind of attempt to stop it happening. Up top, DQ made a tired old man attempt at scoring goals. Dom got a bit angry. EJ smiled. Cookie managed not to get a booking. Yes, there we have it, the positive. Cookie managed not to get a booking. And Merton were out of the cup.

Team Handsome: Alex Herbert, Dan Rist, Joe Grew, Alan Clowes, Conor Murphy, Graham Willgoss (c), Andy Holding Midfielder Ross, Dom Preece, David Quainton, EJ, Michael Gibson, Ben Cook, Peter Quainton

Player Profile – Niall Kelly

NAME: Niall Kelly

TEAM: Merton 7’s

POSITION: Striker

BIRTH DATE: 07/08/1998

BIRTH PLACE: Kingston upon Thames

PREVIOUS CLUBS: Dewalt Dynamos (what a team!)


  1. Tell us who you are outside of the club. What do you do, how would you describe yourself?

 Football Coach and student,  i’m a positive and hardworking person. Football mad

  1. How did you end up at Merton FC?

 I’ve known Billy and Dave Golding for most of my life. Played in their teams most my life as well.

  1. What do you like most about Merton FC?

 I like how relaxed everyone is but at the same time everyone still wants to win. Like the competitive spirit.

  1. If you could play for a professional team,which would be it and why?

England! There would be nothing better than playing for your country.

  1. Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?

 My socks and sleeves always stay down during the warm up and just before kick off I pull them up. Been doing it as long as I can remember.

  1. Lastly, share us your goals/expectations for the season.

 hopefully finish at a decent position in the league


RAPID FIRE:

Favourite Player (at Merton, or in professional football):  Wayne Rooney

Childhood Team: Manchester United

Favourite team in the UK: Manchester United

Favourite team outside the UK: Real Madrid

Childhood Hero: Sir Alex Ferguson

Favourite Food: Tuna Pasta Sweetcorn

Favourite Drink: Irn Bru

Favourite Band: Westlife

Player Profile – Akram Choudhury

 

NAME: Akram ‘(the real) Akkers’ Choudhury

TEAM: Merton FC 4s

POSITION: Centre Mid

BIRTH DATE: 05/12/90 (26 yo)

BIRTH PLACE: Hackney, London

PREVIOUS CLUBS: Loughborough United and SLFN


  1. Tell us who you are outside of the club. What do you do, how would you describe yourself?

Graduated in 2012 with an Economics degree from Loughborough Uni, volunteered for a charity working with kids and then became a qualified maths teacher. After 4 years of managing ‘tough’ teenage pupils, I sold out and recently joined a ‘cushty’ private secondary school.

  1. How did you end up at Merton FC?

I joined last Xmas after Phil Truman told me he was going to, but then he didn’t because he was too busy training for the London marathon! We’re both at Merton now anyway 🙂

  1. What do you like most about Merton FC?

 Plenty of squads to suit most abilities and easy to join and get involved with socials. And everyone is pretty friendly 

  1. If you could play for a professional team,

which would be it and why?

 Manchester United because I grew up near Arsenal so it only makes sense to support their rivals…

  1. Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?

 Not really, just make sure the bowels are clear.

  1. Lastly, share us your goals/expectations for the season.

 Promotion with the 4s, maybe even clinch the title. Got a £10 bet with Sonny to score more goals than him so 2 should be enough. Couple of assists and clean sheets would be nice.


RAPID FIRE:

Favourite Player (at Merton, or in professional football): Sonny because he’s the only player in 4s (excluding defenders) who tracks back!

Childhood Team: Possibly Newcastle due to Shearer.

Favourite team in the UK: Man Utd

Favourite team outside the UK: Real Madrid

Childhood Hero: David Beckham

Favourite Food: Burgers, cakes, carby Italian dishes

Favourite Drink: Coffee

Favourite Band: Whatever is on Spotify’s playlists but I do like Odesza.

Player Profile – Sam Pritchard

NAME: Sam Pritchard

TEAM: 1s

POSITION: CM

BIRTH DATE: 24/08/1990

BIRTH PLACE: Gloucester

PREVIOUS CLUBS: Abbeymead Rovers


  1. Tell us who you are outside of the club. What do you do, how would you describe yourself?

I work as a web developer for a FX company, and a part-time horse racing bookie. Would describe myself as a easy-going guy who likes to go away most weekends (sorry Clappers).

  1. How did you end up at Merton FC?

Saw a Facebook ad, and much preferred the training compared to the other teams I tried out. Dragged Adam Crawshaw down with me who cemented the decision.

  1. What do you like most about Merton FC?

Everyone is genuinely very friendly, and don’t take everything too seriously. If you can’t laugh about travelling 2 hours to North London and losing 1-0, you’re only going to cry!

  1. If you could play for a professional team, which would be it and why?

 Liverpool, boyhood club. Or Forest Green Rovers – worlds only vegan club 

  1. Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?

 Nope.

  1. Lastly, share us your goals/expectations for the season.

 Personally, aiming for playing on two consecutive weekends. As a team, think the 1s should be aiming for top 4 finish.


RAPID FIRE:

Favourite Player (at Merton, or in professional football): Merton – Adam Crawshaw, Professionally – Luis Suarez

Childhood Team: Liverpool

Favourite team in the UK: Liverpool

Favourite team outside the UK: Bogota

Childhood Hero: Hunter from Gladiators

Favourite Food: Risotto

Favourite Drink: Any IPA

Favourite Band:  Kasabian

3s vs Kew Association – 11.11.17

Kew Reserves 4 – 2 Merton 3s

48 hours after the game, I’m still a bit conflicted about how it went. On the one hand, we lost. on the other, we were the better team for much of the game. Or were we? A game that threw up more questions than answers.

Merton rocked up at Kew (really Ham) fresh from a 3 week gap without a game. Or in Gresty’s case, fresh from Heathrow airport having flown in from Zanzibar that morning. As you do. Would the rest be beneficial, or had it given time for everyone to lose fitness following the Mustard birthday drinking extravaganza a couple of weeks earlier? Looking at the heavily bedewed and tutfy pitch, another question came to mind. Were our boots still waterproof? A resounding no for most on that front.

To the game. Fitz lined up 4-3-3/4-5-1, and bravely volunteered to don the gloves once more in the absence once more of a regular keeper. Neal and Mustard (two prized defensively minded players in a squad full of forwards) breathed a sigh of relief having also sort of volunteered. Mario, Vin, Stone, and Mustard made up the back four, with a central midfield three of Dan B, Neal and Darcy. Glenn and Tom occupied the wide forward positions either side if Denys, with Emilio, DK and Gresty making up a strong 14 man squad.

Merton started brightly, looking for space out wide and behind the Kew defence. A couple of trademark Mustard surges down the right yielded an early corner, and from this Denys forced the oppo keeper into a decent parry to stop the ball sneaking inside the near post. Merton continued to press, once almost playing Tom in behind after a series of 4(!) linked headers/flicks starting in the centre circle, and twice good work from Denys giving Glenn a chance to run and shoot (unsuccessfully) from the edge of the 18 yard box.

However, as the half progressed, the game became more disjointed, not helped by the referee’s insistence on deeming most contact a foul, having all subs come on to the pitch exactly on the halfway line, and an exactitude around throw in positions. Mustard fell foul of the latter 30 minutes into the game and the throw in was reversed – a foul throw in some people’s eyes that earned him a couple of DoTD nominations.

Whilst fussy, the ref was consistent (the one thing we always ask for) and so it was distinctly disappointing to give away a string of free kicks for similar offences. Having survived a couple of scares, the home side took the lead from one such free kick just inside the Merton half. A deep free kick was lofted more or less straight at the goal, and caught perhaps a little flat, an oppo player deftly redirected the ball past Fitz from about 12 yards. Odd goal, lovely finish. 1-0.

One became two all to quickly as more indiscipline saw Merton penned back, and yet then leave space to allow their winger to find a pass into the striker all alone on the corner of the 18 yard box. Unchallenged, he advanced into the box and was able to get a shot away that skidded off the surface and under Fitz. 2-0.

Merton rallied and pushed hard for an equaliser as the half drew to a close. Some nice combination play from Tom, DK and Darcy saw Glenn played in on the overlap, but his cross was just behind DK and he couldn’t adjust to turn it goalwards. 2-0 at ht, but Merton rightly felt one goal would bring them back into it.

Merton began the second half as they finished the first; dominating territory and pushing hard for the goal they so desperately needed. Glenn was showing off his full repertoire of flicks, tricks and nutmegs down the left, and winning free kicks and corners. From one corner, Gresty headed back across goal and DK’s flick was cleared off the line, but that was the closest Merton came during that spell.

As they pressed and time ticked on, Merton were increasingly vulnerable to counter attacks, and so it proved, albeit sadly in another slightly calamatious way. Neal had done brilliantly to cover a developing attack and had the ball at his feet near his own corner flag, only to then lose it. A cross was fired in, but there seemed no danger as Darcy was well positioned to clear, only for him to hesitate as Fitz took a step towards the ball. The hesitation proved fatal as an oppo striker pounced in that moment of indecision and stabbed the ball home. 3-0 and the game looked over with only 15 to go.

However, this Merton team never give up and almost immediately they equalised, with Darcy scuffing/caressing a partially cleared corner back through a crowd of players and in off the post. Game (sort of) back on.

Merton continued to press (and by this I mean win a series of free kicks and corners without ever really quite threatening) and were once again done on the counter. Mario’s corner was cleared and their striker had the half to himself to score the fourth. However, before this Mustard secured some more DoTD nominations for an inexplicable 5 yard pass to no-one (apparently Vin failed to make a run) whilst in time and space on the halfway line.

Even at 4-1 with 2 minutes to go the game wasn’t quite done. Tom finally found himself with some space down the left and drove to the byline, cutting back to DK. Some surprisingly nimble skills (a hint of a drag back and a nod to a Cruyff turn) saw him get the space to hit the shot, which in turn was deflected across the goal. Denys, continuing his fine run of goal scoring form, snaffled it up for 4-2. And that was that.

The reasons for gloom: Another defeat, and some more poor goals to concede defensively.
More positively, Merton battled to the end, and with Iain and Walshy coming to watch despite their injuries, it shows the Boar spirit is still strong. We go again next week. Probably. Unless the SAL gives us another week off.

MOTM: Vin. Showed some class on the ball and made a few crucial interceptions. Plus by not “making the run” he also ensured that Mustard took home the DoTD award, to his disgruntlement.

5s vs Norseman 6s – 11.11.17

Mighty 5s 4 – 1 Old Norsemen 6s

It is fair to say that this season hasn’t quite gone to plan so far. At this point last season we were winning games, not conceding many and top of the league. We have been quite far off the standards we set ourselves the first half of last year and therefore it was important to put in a performance and get back to winning ways in this cup game – and boy did we.

This Norseman team had won 7 out of 7 games this season so we knew it would be a tough game. We started on the front foot and looked the more likely. For the first 20 minutes or so we were not very incisive in the final third; however we took the first real chance we created. The ball was played to Josh on the left who powered past the opposition right back to get to the by-line. He looked up and picked out Aaron who had made a good run towards the front post. The cross was firm and all Aaron had to do was direct the ball into the far corner to take a deserved lead. They then came at us a bit, and Sam was forced into a decent stop from their striker at the near post from a tight angle. A long ball into our box evaded Sam; however Darren was there on the line to clear away. Their good spell lasted about 10 minutes, however the defence then reasserted its dominance in order to see us through to half time 1 – 0 up.

In a desperate attempt to find some constructive criticism, Darren asked Lenners for his input, to which the response was “I have no complaints”. We were all stunned – and we remain stunned to this day.

We knew that one goal might not be enough as they had some tricky players going forward, so we would need another one. We started the second half strongly and kept them largely at bay. We manufactured a couple of half chances; however our second goal was a little fortuitous. Delman picked the ball up from 20 yards out and hit a powerful cross-shot [I believe that’s what they call it when you don’t have a clue which it was meant to be]. It went quite central, however the goalkeeper somehow managed to push it down, under his legs and bounce up into the roof of the net for a 2 goal cushion. Delman looked as surprised as anyone but it all counts – and congrats on Del for his first goal for Merton!

The opposition then reintroduced themselves to the game as they had been quiet since the second half began. They manufactured a couple of half-chances, especially from distance, however Sam would have covered them with relative ease. They were playing it out wide and getting crosses in early, and one of these did actually pay off. A cross from deep came into the box at foot height, but Darren had already committed to the header. As he swooped down his arm came out, and you can guess the rest. Although not in an unnatural position, he certainly had enough time to see it so it was probably a fair call. There was plenty of power in the penalty which left Sam rooted to the spot, making it 2-1 and now a very interesting game.

It did not take the 5s long after that blow to reassert dominance on the game. Visibly frustrated, their midfielder would not stop protesting at a decision and annoyed the referee enough to “sin-bin” him. At first glance it looked like it was a bit harsh, but in retrospect it is up to the referee’s discretion and perhaps a sign that refs will not be taking any abuse this season. The 10 mins elapsed with the mighty 5s having a lot of the ball, but not quite getting the final ball right in search of the third killer goal. Again visibly frustrated with the referee, another player got himself sin-binned for protesting a decision and this time we made them pay.

Chris on the left spotted Aaron B in the centre and played it to his feet. He turned, burst away from the defender and shot. He scuffed it which took the power out of the shot, however the accuracy was superb and the ball nestled in the far corner to put the mighty 5s 3-1 ahead.

This deflated them and from the kick off we won the ball back almost immediately. We broke with real pace and Dwayne, in an unfamiliar central role, slotted the ball through to Aaron B who had made a good run. Aaron’s touch took him away from the defenders and one on one with the keeper. He cooly slotted it past the despairing leg of the keeper to make it 4-1 and cap a fine performance up front with a hat trick.

We managed to see the game out for what was a terrific victory. The performance was really good; I’d suggest our best yet this season, but doing it against good opposition felt very rewarding. You can tell they were used to winning their games down to their frustration as we successfully stifled them. It was a cup game but if we can replicate this performance in our league, we will certainly start picking up a lot more points.

Despite a moment where he got confused in the box and thought he was playing volleyball, Darren had a good game and he and Phil kept their striker at bay throughout the game. Chris got a good assist and Delman’s started his journey on becoming a goal machine. Me and Tigsy held the space well providing the balance to our midfield which saw Josh, Dwayne and Ackers cause their defense havoc, with Dwayne and Josh both showing class in the final third to get good assists. Endy offered something different when he came on and held the ball extremely well on the right, giving us a respite when they were trying to get back into the game. MOM goes to Aaron Byrne; he keeps telling us he can play up top and given his chance, he certainly took it with three very well taken goals taking his tally up to a very respectable 6. Good performance all round and this is the level we need to perform at for the rest of the season.

 

 

Under 14s vs Barnes Eagles Juniors – 19.11.17

Sunday 19th November Barnes Eagles Juniors v Merton FC U14

 

Line-Up

GK – Milo

RB – Liam

CB – Nikoy

CB – Entri

LB – McKenzie

CM – Eddy

CM – Daniel

CAM – Theo/Diego

LW – Justin

RW – Hugo

ST – Fareed

 

MOM: Theo

 

Merton got their county cup campaign underway with a trip to Barnes in the second round after receiving a bye in the first. On a lush pitch Merton tried to get their passes going early but the accuracy was missing and this led to a scrappy start. Merton had the first early chance with a fierce shot by Justin hitting the top of the bar and bouncing away to safety. Despite this, it was Barnes Eagles who took the lead with a lovely team goal. They put together two quick passes that slid their winger in behind and he played an accurate ball into the centre, which their striker dispatched calmly. Merton, keen to get back on level terms pressed for much of the first half but were unable to test the keeper or get in behind the defence which held their line well. This was until almost the last kick of the half with some good play between Theo and Justin who knocked the ball onto Fareed leaving him one on one with the keeper and he cleverly chipped the ball home making it 1-1 before half time.

 

In the second half Merton asserted their dominance as they controlled possession and looked for ways to get shots away. Fareed bravely won a free kick on the edge of the area, catching a high boot in the face, which Theo whipped in. Nikoy rose the tallest getting a strong head on it and despite the keeper palming it away Entri knocked in the rebound making it 2-1 to Merton. It was still a precarious position and Merton looked for another goal to kill off the game. With 5 minutes to go Justin got hold of the ball on the right, cut in with delicate skill passing two opposition defenders and hitting a low bouncing shot which the goalkeeper could only palm into the net. This effectively killed off the game and Merton’s defence held strong as Barnes Eagles attacked in waves for the remainder of the match.

 

This was one of Merton’s best performances in weeks with every player battling hard. McKenzie put in an excellent performance with marauding runs from wingback, but Theo takes man of the match for his assists, general linkup play and desire.

 

 

 

1s vs Old Finchleians 18.11.17

1s Match Report – 18th Nov 2017 – Away vs Old Fincheians FC

Another away game in very north London. There are always a few complaints about the 1.5 hr travel time, but I’m pretty sure that in reality no one has anything better to do. And it allows the potential for a multi-stop stop drinking tour on the way back down the Northern Line if a win eschews, so its hardly all bad. A strong incentive to get a victory if ever I heard one.

After 20 minutes of Arsenal vs Spurs in the host’s bar, we headed to get ready. In an oddly coloured light-pink dressing room, Clapper’s decided an old-fashioned 4-4-2 was the way to go on a narrow, long pitch. Chaz got his wish to start up-front as part of a heavy weight combination with Charlie, but one that has more pace than you would expect looking at them. Rather than try to match the strength of their big, blond lad in central midfield, the decision was taken to back the agility and dancing skills of the sub-6 foot duo of Big-Hat Jimbo and Usher (yeah, yeah). They would have to cover the ground of the usual 3 men between them.

We spent the team talk reminding ourselves of how to play 4-4-2, a formation that has nose-dived out of fashion to a similar level as Clapper’s wardrobe. I was a little sceptical about the plan. But in fairness, it worked very nicely indeed in the first half. Their centre backs, maybe used to marking one upfront most of the season, could not handle our front two. They were able to receive balls to feet/ chest, turn and slot through balls into either one another or the wingers. At the other end, the old man defence (average age 34, even with mid-twenties cube-head that is Harrison it in) was holding out well enough, aided by Jordan playing more like a left wing back at times and covering an awful lot of very wet ground in the process.

An early one on one chance was spurned by Charlie after an excellent Chaz turn and through ball, but we eventually got our deserved lead. A hard, low cross from the right by someone was met by a sliding threesome (and it was an excellent day for a slide) of Charlie, Jordan and one of their defenders. Jordan is honest enough to admit it was not him that got on the end of it, Charlie is not, but I think we all know that it was the defender that actually applied the tidy finish. About ten minutes later and we were two up: a splendid free kick delivery to the far post from Big-Hat Jimbo was pulled back by a sliding Chaz to arrive at Clappers feet who duly slotted it away.

Half time was spent reminding ourselves that we had put in a similarly good first half the previous week and ended up losing. Perhaps as a result, we scored a third shortly after the break when Jordan put away another good right wing cross. But we had only delayed the on-set of complacency and in a 15 mins period we went from comfortably coasting at 3-0 up to nervously hanging on at 3-2. The first of their goals came from a quick-ish-ly taken corner that arrived at a completely unmarked Finchleian. Siri did well to keep out the initial header but could do nothing about the rebound. No one was eager to admit the lapse of marking, so lets just blame it on Van – it was probably his fault somehow.

Their second was also poor defensively. A high ball should have been cleared, but ended up with their left winger who bore down on goal. Everyone was expecting Rat to throw in a tackle at some point, but it never came – apparently a Shakira standard hip sway from the winger was the cause. The finish into the far post left Siri with little chance.

While it was a bit nervy after that point, we did manage to pull out of the tailspin and actually had the better chances for the rest of the game. With just about the last kick of the ball, a goal shaped cherry was put on top of the cake. Someone did a very good job of closing down the keeper, the attempted clearance rebounded off him and into Charlie’s path, who cooly slotted home. More finishes like that would be appreciated for the rest of the season.

Credit goes to Old Finchleians’ hospitality. The club house does not look up to much. But it has very good hot showers that were thankfully received on a cold, dark, wet day and it serves an excellent tea (sausages, beans, hash browns – a double helping for Chaz, obv). A good start to the multi-stop celebratory drinking tour that duly took place. Pit-stops were taken at Kentish Town and Waterloo before arriving at Earlsfield.

Coming out worse from the drinking games were probably Harrison (who is only slowly getting better at them) and Chaz (not EJ’ing an 8 pint jug early in an evening is really school boy). Someone anointed them as Merton’s Bebop and Rocksteady, and I doubt that duo were very good at drinking games either. Marks also go to (i) Clappers for starting a game of categories with “Numbers under 20, to my right, starting with 20” (Doh!), and (ii) Jordan’s attempted ‘disguise’ so his TfL employers don’t recognise him during the shinangans on the Tube.

Drinking continued with the help of Todt’s birthday celebrations. One of those post-win sessions that ends with everyone slurring how much they love everyone else (or was that just me). Sore heads the next day, but worth it. There is a high quality spirit in the squad at the moment and it feels like this win could be the start of a push up the league as long as the right people keep on making themselves available. So watch this space.

MoM: Chaz. Faced by his towering performance, their centre backs didn’t really know what to do. Could this be the start of a great Merton centre-forward career? A nod goes to Clapper’s two-up front call and to the centre mids for making it work. Jimbo managed to pull out a cracking game after one of the worst training session performances I have seen earlier in the week.

DoD: Browner. 3 votes were enough as no obvious candidates were available. Two votes were harshly given for a foul throw. One much more justifiably for a ludicrous attempted 30 yard full-back to full-back cross-field ball that was beautifully visualised but not so beautifully executed. Don’t think I have ever tried one of those before in a 10+ year Merton career, and I might leave it in the locker for a while after this. But at least you benefit from a semi-literate match report rather than Van struggling to do it again.