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.