Month: November 2018

1s vs NUFC Oilers – 03.11.2018

The 1st team have had a difficult start to the season with many challenging away days, depleated squads and tough cup draws, so it was refreshing to have a week off, be back at the Hood and to look around the changing room to see a strong mix of boars regulars and marque summer signings.

 

However, the optimisium was short lived, with the opposition NUFC Oilers (off the back of two wins a draw in the league) seemly not having read from the same script. Within minutes the Oiler’s had created their first chance, breaking through the midfield, before drawing a smart near post save from the recently called up Serbs. From the resulting corner their number 14 had a free header at the back post which hit the bar twice. For the next 20 minutes this was the pattern of play. Oiler’s pressing high, Merton giving away possession, Oiler’s shoot – Sherb’s saves, Oiler’s corner – free header no14 – Sherbs save. Repeat. 

 

Sherbs having been called up from the 2’s due to an injury to our normally ‘very quiet’ regular keeper, made five or six goal saving stops in the first 20 minutes and kept the boars in the game. His performance was Hugo Loris esq (think World Cup winner not the Spursy lad).

 

A counter attack led by Rat, a driving run down the wing by attacking forward George and some fantastic no 9 hold up play from new signing Jamie led to Merton going one nil up against the run of play. George with the goal and Jamie with assist.

 

With the Boars having not only weathered the storm but also snatching a goal Clappers made the call for an early sub and Josh was introduced to anchor the midfield and disrupt their centre forwards. This didn’t pay dividends   Immediately as Oiler’s countered from a  Merton corner a pulled a cheap goal back. 1-1.

 

Before the half was over Merton had got a strong foothold in the game and just before the half time whistle some exquisite play in the centre of park from Woody released George who terrorised their left back before getting off a crossshot which was only half cleared. Jamie latched onto the defensive error and finished, in off the post, to give Merton the lead going into the break. 2-1 Merton. Jamie goal.

 

At this point Oiler’s heads were gone. A few strong boars challenges early in the second half and the Oiler’s were mouthing off. Unfortunately for them, the referee who had good game, did not like it and sent one of their whingers off for a 10 minute sin bin.

 

During this period it was time for Merton to kill the game off and what better chance than a soft penalty won by Merton’s usual penalty taker and all round nice guy Woody. Of course, nothing in football is that simple and overcame Josh to take the ball off Woody and step up to take the penalty. It was a fantastic penalty … low, hard, bottom right but I’m telling you now the Hood won’t see a better save this season! Ridiculous tip round the post from a clearly in form keeper.

 

Merton were the better team second half with H and Browner having nullified the attacking threat of Oiler’s centre forwards. Jamie, who led the line well all game, bagged his second on about the 75th minute mark when he instinctively pounced on a loose knock down in the area to finish and compete a brace.

 

Merton shut up shop and were not under much pressure until the 93rd minute when Sherb’s went from World Cup Hugo to Spurs Skipper with a soft goal kick straight to their striker who slotted. 3-2 Final Score.

 

MOTM – Jamie. Two very good goals and an assist.

DOTD – Josh. Saved penalty.

 

Boars on the march….. contenders by Christmas. Watch this space.

4s vs Polytechnic 6s – 03.11.2018

Polytechnic 6s vs. Merton 4s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 3rd November 2018

Following Poly 7s visit to Joseph Hood last week, it was the 4s turn to travel to Chiswick for a showdown with their 6s. The reverse fixture ended in a 3-3 draw following a last minute equaliser.

 

Due to traffic, Dom Plumridge and Michal Elgar arrived with the majority of the first period gone meaning we had a bare 11 at the start of the game. With Billy Lane picking up knee injury within 10 minutes, we were left with only 10 men for the rest of the first half.

 

Having lost the toss, Merton played with their back to the sun in the first half, something that would not have happened had we won the toss. Unfortunately we didn’t and the opposing skipper decided to switch sides.

 

Having lost Billy early on, our defence had to stand strong and try anything they could to prevent Poly from taking advantage of having an extra man. This was achieved however chances created were limited. Saying that, one of the few chances created resulted in a goal.

 

Callum picked the ball up on the left hand bye line and delivered a ball into the box which Nick directly into the top right hand corner with his head.

 

With Dom and Mikey (Elgar) now in attendance and changed, Mikey was brought on to strengthen the back line and Dom partners Nick up top.

 

Thinking that having the same number of men as the hosts, we would go on to add to our goal tally should we put in the same amount of effort as we did in the first half. This was not the case.

 

We were now playing into the sun and with us not evening being able to see what was in front of us with the ball at our feet, balls in the air were harder to judge. The opposition picked up on this.

 

Balls over the top opened our defence up numerous times which results in us conceding 4 goals in the second half.

 

This was a game that we need to get out of our system quick.

 

Another downer on top of the result was the unfortunate sending off of Dom Plumridge. Having been wound up by an opposing player, Dom confronted said player and the motion of his head was assumed as a headbutt.

 

We have a break from action next week before we welcome West Wickham to Joseph Hood.      

 

FINAL SCORE: Polytechnic 6s 4 – 1 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Nick Englefield
MOTM:
Nathan Harris

DOTD: Dom Plumridge

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), John Gridley, Denys Zhurbiy, Thomas Murphy, Billy Lane (Dom Plumridge), Roman Bilivitskiy (Michael Elgar), Andrew Minkevich, Nathan Harris, Callum Fisher, Nick Englefield 

4s vs Polytechnic 7s – 27.10.2018

Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 7s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 27th October 2018

After last week’s penalty shoot-out win, it was back to league action for the 4s.

 

The visitors to Joseph Hood this week were Polytechnic 7s, our opposition in the quarter-finals of the SAL Cup.

 

Sam Speirs was once again in the squad which a boost was given his performance in last weeks’ SAL Cup fixture. We also welcomes Billy Lane who was ‘loaned’ to us from the 3s.

 

There wasn’t a piece of action that stood out in the first period that was worthy of mentioning in this report however the yellow card that Joe Plumridge picked up for a professional foal turned out to have consequences….more on that later.

 

The second period however was a little more exciting.

 

Firstly Michael Elgar, on his first start since re-joining Merton, latched onto a delivery from Dom to put the 4s into the lead.

 

This lead however was short lived as the visitors equalised 15 minutes towards to end.

 

Things could have got worse had Joe Plumridge not pulled back the Poly striker with 5 minutes to go. It was a foul that had to be committed otherwise it left a one-on-one situation. As a result, Joe received his second yellow and his marching orders. A fine save from Kieran from the resulting free-kick kept the scores level.

   

FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 1 – 1 Polytechnic 7s
SCORER(S): Michael Elgar
MOTM:
Michael Elgar

DOTD: Joe Plumridge

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Michael Elgar, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Roman Bilivitskiy, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher, Thomas Murphy, Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge SUBS: Billy Lane, Sam Speirs 

4s vs Old Blues 3s – 10.10.2018

Old Blues 3s vs. Merton 4s
ISEH Intermediate Novets Cup, Round 2
Saturday 10th October 2018

With this match report being drafted nearly two weeks late, I apologise in advance for lack of detail.

 

The apology is justified as bullet points are all I can muster up to provide an outline of how the game went.

 

  • Our opposition in Round 2 of the SAL Cup hailed from Richmond and were in the form of Old Blues, a team situated in the league below us however having a decent start to the season having played 3, winning twice and losing once.

 

  • Old Blues went ahead through only for Dom Plumridge to equalised half way through the first half. Old Blues retained the league going into the break.

 

  • Old Blues increased their margin by two. It was at this point that we introduced Andrew Stears into the game which proved to be a game changer.

 

  • With 10 minutes to go Merton were awarded a penalty after a handball decision went against the hosts. Up stepped Dom to convert from the spot to make it a very interesting conclusion to the game.

 

  • Merton skipper receives a yellow card for persistent fouling. A sign of frustration.

 

  • Merton hard work pays off when Andrew Minkevich unleashes a first footed half-volley that hit the bag of the onion bag with only a couple of minutes to go taking the game into extra time.

 

  • Nothing happened in extra time which meant penalties.

 

  • Merton won the toss and selection Old Blues to kick first.

 

  • Old Blues 1st Penalty – Scored!

 

  • Merton 1st Penalty (Dom Plumridge) – Saved!

 

  • Old Blue 2nd Penalty – Saved by Kieran!

 

  • Merton 2nd Penalty (Denys Zhurbiy) – Scored!

 

  • Old Blues 3rd Penalty – Scored!

 

  • Merton 3rd Penalty (Roman Bilivskyi) – Scored! JUST!

 

  • Old Blues 4th Penalty – Scored!

 

  • Merton 4th Penalty (John Gridley) – Scored!

 

  • Old Blues 5th Penalty – Scored!

 

  • Merton 5th Penalty (Edward Plaistow) – Scored!

 

  • Sudden Death!

 

  • Old Blues 6th Penalty – Scored!

 

  • Merton 6th Penalty (Andrew Stears) – Scored!

 

  • Old Blues 7th Penalty – Missed! Blazed over the bar.

 

  • Merton 7th Penalty (Andrew Minkevich) – Scored!

 

  • Having won the shootout 6-5, it was Merton that progress to the Quarter-Finals where Polytechnic 7s lie in wait.

 

  • If we switch off like we did in the first half of this game, the cup run will surely end in the next round.

 

FINAL SCORE: Old Blues 3s 3 – 3 Merton 4s – Merton win 6-5 on penalties.
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Andrew Minkevich

MOTM: Dom Plumridge – A solid performance once again. Tom Johnson was a close shout along with Andree Stears.

DOTD: Edward Plaistow – Picked up a yellow card and committed a foul throw

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Tom Johnson, John Gridley, Thomas Murphy, Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivitskiy (Andrew Stears), Andrew Minkevich, Sam Spiers, Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy 

4s vs Old Wilsonians 5s – 13.10.2018

Old Wilsonians 5s vs. Merton 4s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 13th October 2018

Having continued our decent form in the League by defeating City of London 2s at Joseph Hood last week, it was our turn to travel. Fortunately for us, we didn’t have to travel far as the fixture this week pitted us against Old Wilsonians 5s. They hadn’t had the best starts to the season having lost their first game of the season at home to West Wickham however that didn’t mean that we could be complacent and assume this would be an easy win.

 

Had Kieran managed to have a sensible Friday night, we would have lined up with possibly our strongest eleven. Unfortunately he didn’t which meant that there was a last minute panic to source a goalkeeper. Luckily for us, Michael Gubby hadn’t been selected and stepped in last minute. Life saver!

 

We lined up in our preferred formation which consisted of myself (Ed Plaistow), Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge and Thomas Murphy at the back from right to left. The midfield was made up of Callum Fisher, Andrew Minkevich and Roman Bilivskyi with Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy and Nick Englefield the driving force up top.

 

From the first whistle, both teams were passing the ball around with confidence. It was Merton however than managed to take control on the game and as a result take the lead. Dom finishing with a smart left footed finish under the keeper having been played through by Denys (I think!).

 

That’s how it remained for the rest of the first half.

 

Come the second half, we allowed Old Wilsonians back in the game and in turn allowed them to find the equaliser. A ball was played into the box where there striker was about to lash a ball past Gubby.

 

Sorry for the minute detail however with this report being written over a week late, most of the action has since been forgotten.

 

Next week were are in SAL Cup action when we visit Old Blues. If we are to have a decent cup run we need to ensure that performance like the once we gave in this game are left in the past.   

 

FINAL SCORE: Old Wilsonians 5s 1 – 1 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge
MOTM:
Michael Gubby

DOTD: Thomas Murphy

STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Gubby (GK), Thomas Murphy, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher, Nick Englefield, Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge Subs: Andrew Stears, John Gridley

6s vs Old Wilsonians 9s – 03.11.2018

Match Report

 Old Wilson 9s v Merton 6s

You can’t help but be optimistic when you’re coming up against a team with a similar start to the season as yourselves, Merton 6s have a single point from the opening 3 fixtures, OW9s have none. After shipping 7 goals last week, 6 being in the 2nd half alone, the feeling was more hope that the tide would turn sooner rather than later. With decent numbers throughout the club, the 6s welcome Phil T on loan deal worth a packet of posh biscuits and a milky tea, and Lewes R, who fortunately lived nearby and was allowed out to play by the missy!

A great day for a game of football, apart from the low blinding sun behind the goal and the pitch being situated on such a slope, that someone’s ‘fitbit ‘registered the cross pitch warm up as a flight of stairs, and also to mention the divots, we almost lost MQ in the warm up when he disappeared into a crater shouting ‘fix bayonets’…!    

The oppo seem up for it, openly discussing their chances of a win… this just galvanised the 6s and with the OW9s kicking off, it did not take long before the midfield of Phil and Ricky, imposed themselves on their opposite numbers, harassing every move or attack.

The opening third of the game yielded many chances, the young Lewis being the folly from the old captain up front, testing the keeper early. Lewis feeding a square ball to David, whose first-time firm low shot in to the bottom left corner was somehow kept out by the agile keeper, from the resulting corner, Ricky finds the captain who lost his marker only to see his first-time volley skim the crossbar.

M6s bossing the game have further chances, instrumental play from Phil, who seems to be having all the time in the world to ghost pass the oppo at will and pick out damaging passes, OW9s keeper is by far the busiest and does well with the heavy attack imposed by the 6s

A rare attack is contained by the 6s back four, Steve H picks out David G with a curling cross which drops in behind the left back, controlling the ball with a single touch, DG releases Lewis with a cutting reverse pass to send the speedy forward 1v1 with the keeper and in his stride slots the ball past the advancing number one for a well-deserved 0-1

With all the play, it’s hard to believe the games only 0-1, not deterred, OW9s spark in to life and start to have some luck going forward, 6s back four hold firm and when needed, MQ is there to follow up, still on top, the 6s go into the break with the lead, and finally look like playing like a team.

Preying the second half doesn’t present the normal capitulation of previous weeks, the half time pep talk is short and sweet… don’t f*** up!

With the second half on the way, it’s the 6s that start as they finished the previous half… well on top. Once again, Phil and Ricky, now with a great understanding, toy with the oppo and even take it turns attacking and defending. The opportunities come thick and fast

From another corner, Steve B curls a ball into the danger area, the resulting shot is palmed away from the OW9s keeper.

Great work from Daban once again results in the OW9s keeper tipping the resulting shot around the post

Good work down the right from Andrew and the ball is worked into the centre, once again David is on hand to power a solid shot across the keeper in the bottom right corner, only to see the wrong-footed keeper somehow get back across the goal and flick the ball round the post!

From the corner, the ball drops into a melee of players, Phil comes out on top and places his shot, this takes a deflection off Lewis (who knows nothing about this) and somehow wrong foots the keeper and bonces between knee and glove to extend the lead to 0-2

Relentless, the 6s keep pressing, with still 20 minutes on the clock, more goals are needed… no, wanted. Lewis once again is set free with a 1v1, but with all the time in the world, fluffed his lines and tamely passes the ball away instead of shooting.

Another corner from Steve B finds David with his back to goal, drops the shoulder, swivels and this time sends a powerful shot top corner, but once again…. The OW9s keeper is equal to the shot and somehow manages to tip the ball round for yet another corner. Steve B, now almost camping at the corner flag, cheekily tries a shot that almost deceives the keeper who fumbles before gathering.

Final 10 minutes and Phil picks the ball up and goes on another merry little run, the ball seems stuck to the laces as he skips tackle after tackle, spots Lewis and with a cumming through ball, Lewis makes no mistake as he powers his shot past the keeper for the match ball and worthy 0-3 win for the 6s.

In fairness, the 6s today was far too good for the host, if they can keep this sort of form up, over the coming weeks, point will be gained, and the impossible top four target could be a reality, next week the 6s are back and being hosted by the OW8s, hopefully and similar score line can be achieved

 

MOTM:

Mentions go out to MQ for his first clean sheet since the last one!

Kevin had an outstanding game at left back and even got lost at one point, finding himself in the oppo 6-yard box after collecting the ball well in his own half!

Ricky, done the hard work well,

Lewis who bagged a hattrick, but could have had so much more,

But the outstanding player was Phil, who just looked like he was having a world of fun every time he had the ball

DOTD: First win of the season was a great team effort, and none could be selected, however, the oppos goalkeeper turned out to be a ‘of a higher standard’ than the squad he was playing in… so he gets my vote!!

 

Team: Martin Q, Kevin L, Tom J, Steve B, Steve H, Daban B, Phill T, Rick I, Andrew D, David G © Lewis

Under 10 s vs Raynes Park Vale Blues – 04.11.2018

Merton Under 10s vs Raynes Park Vale FC

4TH – November 2018 – Under 10s report

There were clouds in the sky but the temperature was milder than you would expect for a November Sunday morning at Joseph Hood Rec. Ideal conditions for football. Today’s opponents were Raynes Park Vale FC making this a local derby. A lot of the players were known to each other because of school and Saturday teams. As well as the points, local bragging rights were at stake. Maxwell was playing against the team he played for last year.

In the first half, Merton were kicking right to left. The game got off to a scrappy start, possession was turned over by both teams fairly cheaply in the early exchanges. Merton had a couple of shots in the first few minutes but nothing to write home about. When the game settled into a pattern, Merton began to dominate possession. Dave was particularly effective in this period, on one run down the left he skipped passed a couple of challenges and put in a powerful cross to the Raynes Park penalty area. Their keeper could only parry the cross. The ball landed at the feet of Maxwell who smashed it into the roof of the net from close distance. Eleven minutes gone.

1 nil to Merton

Merton were in control and created quite a few chances that should have led to more goals. On another run, Dave dribbled around 3 players had a shot that was saved by the Raynes Park’s keeper. Maxwell went close with another shot, Louis did too. The second goal eluded Merton. At the other end, Harry Lake ( For Raynes Park) forced Max into a fine save and reminded Merton that they would not have everything their own way.

With 16 minutes gone, Merton wasted a couple of opportunities to clear their lines which allowed Sonny ( For Raynes Park) to break through from midfield and bare down on Merton’s goal. He struck his shot to the bottom right hand corner. It went in.

1 all. Game on!

Raynes Park’s goal lifted them and they were now getting more opportunities in front of goal. Merton were also creating chances and had goal attempts during the 21st, 23rd and 24th minutes of the first half. Raynes Park also went close with a shot that was just over the bar after good chest control and an improvised volley from Harry Dean. The score remained 1 all and the referee blew for half- time.  

For the second half, Merton were kicking left to right and uphill. Merton definitely like kicking uphill at Joseph Hood and long may that continue. Within 2 minutes of the re-start Maxwell dispossessed a Raynes Park player and then launched an exquisite lob over Raynes Park’s keeper. For a split second, there was silence as players and spectators tracked the flight of the ball. It came down in the bottom right of the goal. An excellent finish!

2-1 to Merton

This was a good period of the match for Merton as they showed that they can play exciting pass and move football. This was exactly how the third goal came about, Merton played out from the back. Ollie found Faris, Faris found Louis. Louis beat a defender and whipped in a cross to the back post, Maxwell met the cross on the volley and tapped in. 4 minutes of the second half gone.

3-1 to Merton

Merton continued to create chances, a Faris backheel set up Maxwell who passed on the overlap and crossed from the left wing for Louis who was arriving at the right-hand post. Louis slid in and narrowly missed adding to Merton’s goal tally.

Raynes Park were not finished yet and could sense that they still had chance to get something out of the game. After a couple of failed clearances, the ball fell to Harry Dean (for Raynes Park). He shot to the bottom left of Merton’s goal. It went in! 13 minutes of the second half played.

3-2 to Merton

Merton had to put in a strong performance defensively to hold off Raynes Park. Ollie, Joe and Harry were great in this period. Harry put in crunching tackle that stopped an attack and also the momentum that Raynes Park had. With 18 minutes gone, Percy tackled well and went on a run the length of the pitch leaving defenders in his wake. His shot was saved. With a minute left to play, Rio went on a run that took him to the Raynes Park goal. He rounded the keeper but unfortunately put his shot over the bar.

Soon after the referee blew the whistle for the end of the game.  Another good win for Merton!

Maxwell was awarded the Man of the Match.

Well done again, boys!  

Let’s keep it going for Match Day 8.       

Author: Mike Pitt

3s vs Old Salesians – 03.11.2018

Merton 3s v Old Salesians:  1-3

 

Fresh from a scintillating performance and 5 goals in the previous game, confidence was high that The Boars could record a second win in a row against local rivals Old Salesians.  There were two debutants in the squad, Scott McGowan (or Fraser, according to Iain) and Jake Davies (fresh from impressing in last week’s interclub game, by nutmegging Woody 3 times).  Additionally, Mustard and Ryan returned after their temporary promotions to the twos and Adam Lynch made his awaited return from injury (so fit, that he was playing his second game in less than 24 hours).

 

The pre-match playlist of “Bands you wish you could be in”, garnered some classics from greats such as The Prodigy, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bon Jovi to some absolute shockers from Busted, *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys.  We live in a country where demoncracy and diversity is rightly celebrated but the downside is that can result in selections that could make your ears bleed.  Maybe this is why some opt for lateness, they increase the likelihood of avoiding Iain’s phenomenally bad taste in music….

 

A 4-4-2 line up saw a new CB pairing of Adam and Scott, replacing the stricken Lofty and Stoner, with Mustard and Ryan replacing Nathan and Glenn.  The rest of the team from the previous victorious game deservedly retaining their places.  The 5s (adopting the “first come, first served principle” – due to their early kick off) had laid claim to The Boars traditional pitch, which left them having to play on the, affectionately titled, “sh1t pitch”.  A bit of cross wind and low sun were present and this would play its part (more on that later).  Credit to the ref, for doubling the attendance figures by bringing his girlfriend.  She was a welcome addition to Aaron’s dad (whom of course, is always welcome too, in fact, actively encouraged), to put the official attendance at 2.  If this carries on, planning permission at The Hood, may be required to build a stand.

 

A really promising start was made by The Boars, with a dominating first 15 minutes.  The ball was retained well with short passing and play that stretched the opposition and good defending from the front by Aaron and Fitz, in terms of hold up play and harassing the defence.  Merton’s defence looked assured, with Adam and Scott quickly showing real promise as a pairing, both strong, good in the air and on the ball.  Whilst there was a lot of good play, there wasn’t a great deal of goal-mouth action and neither keeper was particularly tested.   Salesians’ first real attack resulted in a goal, with a breakaway down the right resulting in a cross being lofted in – the wind gave it a bit more distance which resulted in the ball finding the back post without a Merton player being able to win a header, with the unfortunate Mustard also blinded by the sun (a song by The Seahorses, I believe), which left their forward to head past a despairing Phil Mitchell in goal.

 

A slip immediately from kick off nearly let Salesians in for a second but Iain made a great save.  After this wobble, Merton started to return to the play that they’d started the game with and improved their performance, again without particularly threatening the goal.  One moment of particular note to Mike Stone on the sidelines, was an incredible lung busting 90 yard run from Mustard (clocked at 27.9 km/h), which involved a one two with Aaron and the deftest of touches to put it past the defender and run around the other side of him.  The cross was ultimately cleared but the run very much excited Mike Stone, so much so that in the bar he was talking about “mould your own” again – a favoured conversation between Mike Stone and Mustard.  Adam also made a great last-ditch tackle to put off their striker when through one on one.

At half time, the team-talk focused on what we could do to improve but recognising that we’d had good spells.  It had the desired effect as within 10 seconds, Merton were level.  Full credit to Aaron for winning the ball from their defence, breaking through, looking like he’d taken it a little too wide but then firing a quick low shot in at the near post from about 10 yards.  Great finish and it was good to get clarity from Aaron during his celebration that “that’s what I’m talking about!”.  This goal gave Merton confidence and the game was very even for the next 15-20 minutes.  However as the game wore on, Salesians started to get the upper hand as Merton’s shape become stretched.  Special mention to Adam for a crunching tackle that “in my day” would never have been a foul  as the ball was clearly won first but it looks like the rules are changing.  Neal got booked for some standard dirt.  There was good play on the left between Ryan and Barry (and this is something we need to try and make more use of), which caused threatening moments.

 

With about ten minutes to go, Vin was replaced by Mike Stone and Scott was moved into midfield – this decision inexplicably resulted in Vin getting a DOTD nomination but as evidenced this week, farcical nominations can and do happen.  Very shortly after this change, a Salesians breakaway down the right was played into the middle and their striker finished from close range.  With a couple of minutes to go, a corner was swung in from the right and their central midfielder lost his marker and executed an acrobatic scissor kick, that defied what looked possible, given his rather stocky stature.  There were a couple of late half chances for Merton at the end, but it was too little too late.  The game finished 3-1.

In truth, the second half performance didn’t justify any other result.  The ability to win is definitely within this team and in spells in the game this was evidenced, but as Barry and Neal said between them, we need to play the game to suit our strengths and show more grit / desire to win.  We’ve got to earn the right to win by fighting for every first and second ball.  Our best play comes when we play football and defend from the front / close as a unit.  When this breaks down, the gaps across the pitch are too big.  

 

We go again next week, against a team we’re capable of beating.  Let’s turn the learning experience into an improved performance and a victory.

 

Team: Iain Evans, Mustard (captain), Scott McGowan, Adam Lynch, Barry Hughes, Sam Slater, Neal Davison, Vincenzo Di Matteo, Ryan Burchell, Aaron Byrne, Darren Fitzgerald.  Subs:  Mike Stone, Jake Davies.

 

Goal: Aaron Byrne

MOTM:  Aaron Byrne

DOTD: Mustard (double denim)