Despite a string of poor recent results – enthusiasm ran high for Merton’s 3’s. Vincenzo’s inspirational group chat message of “I hate carshalton, let’s f*** them up” was enough Friday motivation to prepare us for the frostbitten soviet Saturday against Carshalton’s 3’s.
With newly signed goalkeeper Sam along with the likes of 7’s Ryan and newboys Callum and George, Merton looked full of energy at the start of the match – dominating the match with great passing ability. The forwards pressed on including a brilliant early run from Milo who was taken down on the edge of the box . Club trickster, Glenn stepped up to ball and curled a shot into the top right corner that was unfortunately clawed out by Carshalton’s goalkeeper. Yet Merton pressed on and carried on begging for goals and got the deserved opener. A DK won free kick near the corner flag was nicely curled in by Dan B onto the Merton head of Ryan Gresty who slotted the ball home to give Merton the lead 15 minutes in. 1-0.
By the half an hour point play stagnated for a while as the energy slowly plateaued in both teams. A long throw-on missed by Merton heads led to a headed to headed goal from a couple of yards away and Carshalton’s had equalized the match. 1-1.
Despite spartan bravery from 3’s newby to endure the bloody blisters tearing into his skin for the first half an hour of the match, Milo decided that the pain from his newly purchased football boots was too enough, and the recovered Iain was substituted on in his replacement.
And a worthy replacement it seemed. Merton held up well in midfield. George persisted to tease Carshalton’s right back with searching runs, and an Ian through ball led to Dan Kelley having a sniff at goal with a saved shot.
Following a blur in memory, Carshalton win a long free kick which diagonally drifts over everyone and is turned into the back post. 2-1 Carshalton and Merton seem disheartened. Yet, merton’s lionhearted defence do their best to keep morale high throughout the team. Half time approached and Merton regrouped their heads in the changing room.
The second half hit and Merton came back out with high pressure, strong sliding tackles from the back and great play led to a Merton freekick. The long freekick was swung into the Carshalton 22 and Gresty converted a header even more beautiful than the last, as he headed back across goal and inside the far post. 2-2. Merton were back in the game.
The 60th minute hit and a fresh pair of legs by the name of Fitz came on the pitch in replacement for Callum. The formation was re-evaluated and Merton looked stronger. Glenn and George made darting runs upfront supported by Fitz. Dan Kelley bombed down the wing, fizzing a ball into the ducking Fitz which fell at the back post to Glenn. One touch for control and the ball slotted into the corner. 3-2 Merton.
Fast forward to the 80th minute and Merton begin looking weary. An overly strong midfield and defence led to a Carshalton halfway line freekick, which was converted in the bottom right corner led to a Carshalton comeback as they celebrated their third goal. 3-3
Merton and Carshalton carried on battling it out for the winner. A 3’s attack led to a Carshalton counter attack and a cross cleared by Iain and Neal fell to a Carshalton substitute who volleyed the ball home with minutes to go. 4-3 Carshalton.
The whistle blew leaving despair on Merton faces. Merton headed to the changing room – angrily attempting to rationalise their loss to themselves. Sam’s childish revelation that winning is enjoyable seemed to cheer the team up slightly. All in all, a shitty match.
MOTM – George – Fast runs and trickery led to many chances being created upfront
DOTD – Self-nominated Milo for prematurely coming off. Sorry lads.
Team: Sam (GK), Callum, Vincenzo, Neal, Ryan, Glenn, Darcy, Gresty, Milo, George, DK
Subs: Iain, Fitz.