Category: Match Reports 3s

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.

3s vs Old Wilsonians – 18.11.17

Merton 3s 1 – 1 Old Wilsonians 3s

 

After a run of error-strewn outings, Merton stopped haemorrhaging goals and earnt a deserved point against a decent Wilsonians outfit. The footballing gods supplied glorious conditions for this one, with light rain and a sheen on the pitch that had Merton’s slide tackle maestros salivating. After a pulsating opening 25 seconds, the air was let out of the contest by a 5-minute stoppage as the ball was flat. A rabble of subs and onlookers tried to find a better one, only to conclude that every single spare ball was also flat. Eventually a pump was found and Merton started well, pressing high and channelling the newly inflated orb down the flanks where Glenn and Emilio probed their opposite numbers like Steven Seagal in an audition. Wilsonians weren’t exactly Under Seige but they did have the woodwork to thank after Mario’s “cross” was turned onto the crossbar by a scrambling keeper. At the other end, new Boar Sam Singer-Ripley looked rock solid behind the Usual Suspects in defence, grasping balls like Kevin Spacey in the Old Vic bar; not easy in conditions like this. In midfield, Neal delivered a thunderous slide tackle, taking ball, man, ball again and getting up to dribble away with his man left in a crumpled heap. Lovely stuff.

 

Merton took the lead when the returning Ricardo and the ageing Mustard combined with Fitz down the right. A deflected cross caught the defence flat footed and Gresty surged into the box to flick it on. Glenn got to the loose ball, waited patiently for the centre back to fall over and hacked the ball right-footed towards the corner of the net. Slowly it bobbled and trickled towards the line as the keeper looked on and several minutes later, it crossed it and Merton were one up.

 

Comedy defending has become a Boars staple of late but fortunately there was only one such incident to report this week and it didn’t result in an oppo tally. Ricardo, otherwise excellent, jumped on the kamikaze defending bandwagon when he poked a short free kick to Stoney who lost the ball on the centre circle and Wilsonians were away. In hot pursuit were Neal and Mario, and some combination of them, Sam, Vin, desperation and a bit of luck managed to keep the ball out. Phew. Merton held firm until half time but this breathless excitement was too much for young Emilio who at the age of just 19 decided he needed a bit of a sit down, and had to be replaced for the second stanza.

 

Merton started it with a series of panicked clearances, misplaced passes and a foul throw by Mario. And they should have been punished when an unmarked Wilsonians attacker could only side foot his finish into the crossbar instead of the open net from 6 yards out. Mustard and Gresty dominated the aerial battle in midfield and Dan B announced his arrival with a pair of crunching slide tackles in the centre circle. But gradually Merton were pushed back and eventually Wilsonians levelled it when a low cross from the left was turned in by the striker making a good run to get ahead of Vin at the near post. In fairness, they probably deserved it, but Merton could have won it at the death. Glenn, who had recovered from an early nutmegging to be Merton’s brightest threat, charged down the left flank and knocked a cross into the box. Arriving there at the end of a lung-busting run was Gresty, eyes lighting up at the chance to steal all three points… but instead he put the header wide and secured the DOTD honours. It’s a game of inches.

 

In the end a fair result, and an important point. This was also an important performance for a team that had looked about as stable as President Trump’s finger on the nuclear button when defending of late. At the heart of this turnaround was Sam in goal, who walked the MOM vote for his sweeper keeping, but credit is due all round for a solid performance and arresting the slide. Hopefully we’ll see more of this Dr Jekyll team than the Mr Hyde variant in the coming weeks.

 

Sam Singer-Ripley (MOM), Ricardo Inglesias Dias, Mario Del Pressoto, Vin Di Matteo, Mike Stone, Neil Davidson, Ryan Gresty (DOTD), Mike Reed (C), Dan Bumstead, Darren Fitzgerald, Glenn Pitmann (goal), Emilio Neophythou, Dan Kelly, Denys Zhurbiy

3s vs Old Parkonians – 21.10.17

Normal morning wake up call met the boars group chat this week with Mustards very burnt toast being included in his pre match prep. Also the very eagle eyed Neal spotting the absence of last weeks match report from the merton way. Guess that’s another thing that managed to slip through Dan Bridgeman’s fingers last week. I believe in ‘Karma’, what goes around, comes around…until it’s your turn for it to strike.

This weeks music theme “greatest karaoke songs” chosen by Neal, last weeks M.o.M. Looking for a good ole’ sing-along this week. 

Music rings around the changing room. Fitz walks in, being asked by the very inquisitive Mustard. “What time do you call this?” Fitz late, Glenn later and ‘where’s Darcy?’ Sounded out around the changing room. Ah yes! Late again. With yet another shit excuse. 

Out onto the pitch we went…goals carried out, warm up complete, match tactics discussed. A strong boars squad this week along with the new addition to the boars Milo. 3-5-2 was the set up. Fitz in goal. Vin, lofty and stone made up the back 3. Glenn and Neal held the wingback positions. Mustard, Dan and Mario in the middle. Benham and Denys up top. ‘Solid’ was the cries. 

Kickoff. As the ball broke down our left. Lofty cleared the ball via what seemed a deflection, or so we thought. The ref decided otherwise. The OPK’s throw was taken neatly, which couldn’t be said for his counterpart on the other wing, who had clearly been attending the same foul throw in classes in Fairlop as Mustard, yet none were penalised. Ball broke through kindly for OPK’s. A neat cut back and tap in into the roof of the net. 0-1. 

Merton started to find some good passes and what seemed like a heavy touch from Mustard led to a quick bit of thinking by Mario, playing it back to Mustard, who drove a shot towards goal. Keeper parried, but only for Tom to pounce and slot home the rebound. 1-1. 

From what seemed like a hopeless ball forward. Vin found himself chasing down the ball and being chased himself. “See it out” the cry. Nah I’ll pass it back to the keeper even though it was practically out for a throw in anyway. Fitz dealt with it somewhat initially, you’d have thought so anyway. A good first touch by their number 8 as he then unleashed a volley a good 30 odd yards out which looped over Fitz. 1-2. 

Once again Merton were putting together some good passages of play. Space was starting to be found. Stone see Glenn out left and found him with a quick switch of play. Glenn took on his man down the line and whipped in a peach of a cross to the back sticks. Dan opted for the volley and rightly so. Bottom bins. 2-2. 

Boars we’re starting to find their feet. A corner being won from yet more good play. However a wayward header sent OPK’s away on the counter. As the ball was sent over the top. Offside seemed to be in the wings after some good line keeping from lofty. However out of nowhere came their number 10. It’s now 2v1 on Fitz. Not quite the way he’d expect to be against one of those scenarios. A cracking shot into the top right corner. 2-3. Half time. 

Team talk began with a barrow of comments. Fitz, mustard and lofty attempting to change the line up for the 2nd half. Denys injured from the 1st half, Jamie already being introduced. A chance for Darcy (who was Dropped from the original starting 11 for being ridiculously late due to yet again, another wardrobe malfunction) and Emilio to also be thrown into the fold. Boars now lining up in a 4-3-3 formation. Neal, Stone, Vin and Glenn the back 4. Mustard, Mario and Darcy. Emilio, Tom and Jamie up top. 

The boars started the 2nd half brightly and looked dangerous down the left hand side, with Glenn and Milo offering the legs and pace to threaten most right backs. OPK’s pressured early on and won a corner, which was whipped in towards the back post. As the attacker was climbing all over the back of Stone. No free kick. It ricocheted and dropped kindly to Number 8 who hit the bar with a header before following up to poke the ball past Fitz. 2-4. 

In typical fashion, the boars dug deep and carried on playing some good football, sometimes overplaying it too much. Ball was sent long over the top, Neal covering, got the call from Fitz, who was coming to collect. Except the ball was never making it back. Neal had to  head it on back and spinned off. Looking for what should have been a simple roll out. Fitz carried on the curse, and probably for the one and only time this season seemed to be ahead of play and was too close to Neal. Fitz fumbled it and somehow nutmegged himself. Tap in for OPK’s. Funny thing was. I had no idea what had just happened but I remember mumbling Meg-nuts to myself. 2-5. 

Some good play in the middle, along with a good run from Milo followed up with the determination to set Tom away to finish neatly led to the boars 3rd and final goal. Tom’s 2nd. 3-5. 

OPK’s were piling on the pressure and were breaking in numbers as the boars tried to claw back the cup tie. A 3 on 2 attack led to a good left handed save from Fitz down sharply. “How did he save that?” Was the cry from the shooter. I’m not too sure I knew either, after the 1st blunder that led to the last goal. 

With the boars seemingly getting another foothold in the game came the biggest howler of them all. A quick break from OPK’s and what seemed like a tame and comfortable shot to take. Come a move straight from Army camp. The throw as you roll. Fitz caught the ball but only to spin it into his own net on impact onto the floor. 

I thought I’d get away with the first howler but I knew that I wasn’t escaping the match report duty this week. Even with time to make another smart save down to the right this time and despite only picking up my first ever D.o.D nomination last week. Let’s just blame Vin. Who seemed far from happy receiving his nominations for not clearing his lines leading to their 2nd goal. 

Back into the changing room for the boars and the playlist back on to lighten the mood. ‘We are the champions’ was quite the ironic mood changer we weren’t looking for. 

Still the day had time to turn its attention to the topic of anal in the group chat. I knew then that today was my day (Ha Ha.) All be it for the wrong reasons and on that bum note. Time to get back to business in the league. Away to City of London up next. 

Line up: Fitz, Vin, Lofty, Stone, Neal, Mustard, Dan, Mario, Glenn, Denys, Tom. 

Subs: Milo, Jamie, Darcy. 

D.o.D – Fitz

M.o.M – Glenn a.k.a Party Boy. 

 

3s vs Nottborough – 30.09.17

Second match away for the boars against an unbeaten Nottsborough 4th, top of the league after 2 matches.

 
Positive start already with the home team not getting 11 men on the pitch but matches must be won during the 90 minutes and not on statistics or on paper.
This is what Merton attitude was put on the pitch from the first second on the match with a great solid 11’s, top concentration and the intention to play every single ball on the floor.
First 10 minutes great possession with defenders and midfielders, with the last to set great balls for the wings (DK and Tom) both being a real pain for the opponent defence.
At the third attempt just before 15’ Tom scored the first, Lofty assist with a lovely ball over the top after we worked the ball nicely from a throw in deep in our half. Tom with a nice lobbed finish that went over the keeper and in off the far post.
This didn’t stop the boar plying nice football with completely supremacy over the home team and after few minutes superb second goal, Gresty assist with a superb defence splitting ball through the heart of their defence following some great pressing. DK curved his run to stay onside and hit it early as the keeper tried to rush out, passed into the bottom corner.
To be noticed that till the 30’ we didn’t conceded a single opportunity showing a very solid permanence.
Shame for Dennis who got injured during a sprint (probably up hamstring due the old age..!!! Just joking) great effort till then. Mustard in without warm up but straight into the match with few successful runs putting the opponent team in serious danger like in the early years of the millennium..!! This is 17’ season for him..!!
Home team back on 11 on the pitch with a sub as well.
Carrying out our solid performance, Gresty to stop every single attempt of the opponent in the midfield just in front of the defence, holding really well and having Mike marking number 10 throughout the match basically shadowing him all over the pitch (that was brilliant tactical call from Darren). Making the right foul to stop them Iain first and Neal after spent their booking in the cleverest way.
To highlight, only opportunity the home team had, showed Darren’s super skill in goal with a top save at down left corner. Great chance to be in goal for next few matches.!!!
Just before half time, really unlikely, after few bouncing their score. 1-2 and straight into half time.
Same 11’s on the pitch with Mario on the side  who couldn’t wait to get involved in the battle in the middle of the pitch.
First 15’ the home team tried to squeeze the boars into their half but a very tight and solid Merton didn’t allowed them to get into the box and create no danger at all.
Half an hour to go and last sub for Merton, Mario in for Lofty.
Pretty much same story, home team trying to get closer to box with decent football taking nearly 8-9 men into Merton half but excellent communication and effort all over the place, boars could get the ball back and trying few counter attacks where we nearly scored the thirds goal with DK.
Top experience from Mustard who showed Neal and Iain how to tackle with controlled force, stopping the opposition in their tracks, by winning the ball fairly and leaving the demolished Nottsborough player in a pulverised heap on the floor.
Solid performance across 90 minutes brought first 3 points for Merton hopefully starting a long strip of result.
 
MOTM Gresty

DOTD Mario (arriving late and leaving straight after the match)

 

3s vs Old Finchleians – 23.09.17

The day started off with everyone getting there on time, if not early for our game (apart from DK and Lofty) which could only look like a sign of us meaning business to have a good cup run! We headed in to get changed, have a chat and listen to our chosen playlist of 80’s music chosen by last weeks MOM Carlos (Mario). The boys headed out to switch on and warm up. After a while we started to ask the question of ‘where are our oppo!?’ We asked the ref about the situation and he responded with ’15 they said they’d be 15 minutes’ with the time already being 2 minutes past the kick off time. They eventually arrived and changed at the side of the pitch, GAME ON! Boars started brightly with some early chances that were not taken, and some good strong early tackles to let them know we were here for the win, even if one of those tackles was Grestey taking out Mario and the ref awarding the oppo a free kick from it? The first goal came…..for them, when a corner got whipped in and their attacker won the header which was blocked by Grestey’s arm from inches away, appeals for handball were listened too as a penalty was awarded to our confusion because of the distance between the players. The pressure was on Fitz who stepped up to go in goal, the attacker converted, 1-0 down totally against the run of play. The boars kept up the good play neat triangles down the centre and the wings lead to more wasted chances! A boar move broke in the centre circle, the oppo midfielder picked it up drove for 10 yards and unleashed a shot that had some behind it which Fitz couldn’t stop busting the bottom corner of the net. 2 down at half time and we were in trouble. The half time chat was still a positive one as we knew one goal for us would put us back in the game. We headed out same as the first half raring to go! The boars got a corner that Iain swung in and the tallest man on the pitch, lofty, got on the end of it and made it 2-1! Not long for them to stick a free kick into the top bins and make it 3-1, the heads didn’t drop because the game was still there, another corner swung in by Iain saw the same outcome but this time it was DK who used his eye to eyeball it home to make it 3-2, and the game was looking great for the neutral. The score line didn’t last long as the oppo left mid went on a run that left 4 players in his rear view mirror, rounded Fitz with ease to slot him for 4-2. The boars were once again in trouble with time not on our side, Vin turned into the hulk when he was caught so late by a tackle (almost as late as them turning up) he threw words out that some may say see you next Tuesday, but not Vin, no sir! We were handed a lifeline as DK dribbled into the box but was then taken down by a sniper as he was upright one minute and on the floor the next, penalty of our own to convert…. Glenn was handed with the job to stick it away, which he failed to do as the keeper saved a poor penalty but the rebound broke out to Glenn which he went to stick away but with the keeper rushing out he made another save which came at a cost of having an extra face as Glenn’s knee caught the Kepler under his eye and was left on the floor for a solid 10 minutes. While their team were seeing to their brace keeper the ref asked if we had a first aid, cue Fitz’s dry sense on humour ‘they don’t have anyone to deliver first aid!? F**k them, not my problem’ with the keeper off, outfielder in goal the game carried on, the boars had their tails up as they knew the oppo had no subs and Fitz was rotating our 3 subs well, we had the legs. The oppo broke forward 1on1 but Fitz remembered the late tackle on Vin and came out like Bruce lee, both legs straight ahead, arms out to the side, best combination of collecting the ball and getting your own back on the player as he delivered a Vinny Jones like tackle, with him rolling around in pain, Fitz again with his humour ‘I didn’t touch him, he’s fine, he’ll live, get on with it, the f**king fairy!” the game caries on and again DK broke into the box and the sniper made sure he got him this time and he collapsed to the floor, ANOTHER PENALTY!!! Denys this time stepped up, again the keeper saved it but Denys stuck the rebound away, something Glenn couldn’t do. 4-3 and this was turning into a game of basketball, you attack, we attack. The boars broke into the box, fired a shot the keeper parried it to Tom B which he put away, 4-4 and we were back in the game! Regulation time done, we needed more time to find a winner, with a quick word from Fitz saying same again we headed out. First attack saw Glenn slide DK in on goal with a through ball, DK’s shot was blocked on the line but luckily Denys was there to follow up and we finally had the lead for the first time in the game! 5-4! The lead didn’t last long as they got one back from a free kick into the top bins to make it 5-5, Fitz no chance. Second half of ET saw the lead look like a distant memory as Vin played a hospital pass to Iain which never reached him but only the striker of the oppo, who ran through to make it 6-5 and the game look all but over. That was until good Merton pressure saw the ball get hit well in the air out to the left which Glenn picked out with ease as if it was the 17th minute of the game not the 117th, beat the defender and whipped in a ball that Denys out in the bottom corner, a Denys hat trick and 6-6, you couldn’t make this up! 120 minutes wasn’t enough time to find a winner so to penalties it went. Merton went first, Mario stepped up to take the first one, Italians never miss penalties,(unless your Baggio or Simone Zaza) 1-0 to us surely? Wrong, the post was to deny Mario. The oppo stuck their pen away 0-1. The reliable Neal stepped up next, wrong again as his penalty was saved, no problem for them as Fitz was sent the wrong way to make it 0-2, just before Glenn went for the long walk Mike Stone asked ‘you good?’ He replied with ‘yeah just want to stick this one away’ he spotted the ball down, ran up and……SAVED! A repeat of his pen in the game, same way, same outcome, so it came down to Fitz to keep us in the shootout, the oppo sent him the wrong way and they ran out 0-3 winners, a great game to watch but not to be a part of if you’re on the losing side like we were. At least we have the league to focus on now, loads of positives to take, like scoring 6 goals but negatives too, such as letting in 6 goals and missing 5 penalties, we know what we are doing at training next. Heads up and go again next week boars! 

Team: Fitz, Neal, Stone, Vin, Iain, Grestey, Mario, Danny, Glenn, Denys, DK

Subs: Jamie, Tom, Lofty

MOM: Iain.                       DOD: Glenn

3s vs Kew Association – 16.09.17

Merton 3s v Kew Reserves:  2-5

The first challenge of this match report is to improve on the match report from the previous game.  I’ll start with a joke ‘How do you make toast in the jungle??  Under the gorilla.’  Challenge achieved and exceeded.  I could leave it there, but I won’t!  Onto the main event….

Last season Kew were playing in the same division as our 2s but had lost their first game of the season 2-0, therefore we weren’t sure what level of opposition we expected to face.  The Boars lined up in a 4-5-1 formation, although with an influx of players throughout the club, the squads are still in the process of settling down, as illustrated by the use of 6 (players whose natural position is) central midfielders, 3 strikers and 1 defender in the starting 11. 

Within 15 minutes, the opposition had scored 3 times, in pretty much the same fashion each time.  The first goal came from a free kick deep from the right, with the ball swung in and Merton looking like they’d clear it away, however two players appeared to call for the ball and resultantly the ball flicked off Ryan Gresty’s head to the opposition player who chested it down and struck a very precise shot past Dan Bridgeman in goal, whom had no chance.  The second goal was similar in that the ball was played in deep from the right, near the halfway line, the ball was allowed to bounce and this meant that it found its way to a Kew player, who again, struck a very good shot past Dan. The third came from the left hand side this time, after the ball was lost in midfield, a quick ball was played in over the top and a first time finish was dispatched past Dan.  3 shots, 3 goals.  Between the first of these goals and half time, Merton, despite the score line, had the better of the possession and also had 4 very good chances to score.  Fitz hit the bar with a great effort, Dan K, when through one on one, unusually didn’t hit the target, Ryan received the ball six yards out, couldn’t quite get it out of his feet and ended up hitting a rather limp shot towards the goal and finally Mustard, after a lung busting run from left back and having been cleverly played in by a very nimble Denys, flashed an absolutely incredible effort, just over the bar.  In and around these chances, Merton played some decent football and kept possession well, with some good incisive play going forward. 

It was a strange feeling at half time to be going in 3-0 down as it didn’t feel like a 3-0 game (other than the goals) and confidence was high that if we continued to play as we had, chances would surely come.  Alas, we didn’t continue to play that way and for the first twenty minutes of the second half, we did what when Boar described as ‘farming’.  I didn’t see many tractors, rakes or hoes but I guess he meant that we were just churning up the turf.  It was only when we went 4-0 down, did we throw caution to the wind, with Mario, who despite the score was having a decent debut for The Boars, taking the initiative and moved from centre back to midfield.  This created a bit more cut and thrust and the chances started to come again.  Finally, a goal was scored, the first of the season (Crystal Palace fans can only dream of such a feeling).  It was a well crafted goal, with another debutant, Luke Mora, playing the ball back to our rampaging right back, Iain Evans, who played a great diagonal ball into the box for the slightly built Denys to cower at the sight of a ball (I could be describing DK, both he and Denys are like two peas in a pod) about to hit him and it ricocheted off his swollen eye socket to trickle in at a pace that even could have exceeded.  Shortly after this, Dan Bumstead notched his first goal for Merton with a well-taken close range finish on the volley.  With the score having moved from a thrashing to on the verge of being a respectable defeat and the Boars continuing to push up, Kew almost immediately score their fifth and final goal of the game, 5-2.

In summary a strange game, where we played some decent football, could have scored 7 goals but clearly need to do better at defending diagonal balls and were unlucky with the extent of quality finishing displayed by our opposition.  Big improvement on the week before but still further improvements to be made.  Fitness being one, as more tracking of our men, will reduce the time our opponents have to score, which was a central issue in a number of goals we conceded.  This game shows that if we take the initiative we can make things happen, it’s a pity we waited until 20 minutes to go to do this, rather than starting the second half this way.  If we had, who knows what might have happened?

Dick of the day, no obvious candidates this week, which meant a spread of votes for things such as “wearing white boots”, “getting booked” “not doing enough for the 4th goal” but the ‘winner’ was Mustard for a throw in (surprisingly, not a foul throw this time) that was described as a parachute throw.  Disgraceful decision to receive DOTD for, as it was clearly a legitimate throw within the rules of the game.  There was no doubt whatsoever as to who the Man of the match was, well there was some doubt actually, in Joe Squire’s mind, who presumably couldn’t understand why some guy called Mario was getting all the votes, when he was very confident that it should be Carlos who was the MOTM.  It transpired that Carlos and Mario are the same person, not too clear where the confusion over his name had come from given that each name originates from two different nationalities.  Maybe if he’d put Luigi, we could have understand but Carlos…. No idea!  If only the DOTD could be recast!

There was still time in the bar for Denys to tell Mustard that his girlfriend said that Mustard is ugly.  Denys couldn’t let this bombshell sit for too long and then stated that Mustard is a very handsome man.  We all know the mantra ‘never trust Denys’, so it was all taken with a pinch of salt.  The depths of the evening wore on with 4-5 Boars staying to watch the football and eat lots of packets of crisps. The tone was very much lowered though by the arrival of Darren Avey, who started producing some entertainment that may even have crossed Glenn Pitman’s imaginary line.   Delete, delete, delete.

 Team: Dan Bridgeman, Iain Evans, Vincenzo Di Matteo, Carlos, Mustard (captain), Darren Fitzgerald, Neil Davison, Dan Bumstead, Ryan Gresty, Dan Kelly, Denys Zhurbiy.  Subs: Joe Squire, Luke Mora.

Goals: Denys Zhurbiy, Dan Bumstead

MOTM:  Carlos (AKA Mario Del Prestito)

DOTD: Mustard (for a throw in that wasn’t a foul throw)

3s vs Polytechnic – 09.09.17

MERTON FC 0
POLYTECHNIC FC 6

1st game of the season, the excitement of what could be, brewing, the group chat as dirty as ever.
New kit, new and returning faces, experience and youth, what could possibly go wrong?
A somewhat depleted squad due to absences further up the club meant that some of our key players
were unavailable for our opening game. A lot of players had to play out of position but none
the less everyone was ready to give it their all.
The performance as well as the end result could not have been further from what we imagined,
whether that was down to Poly playing well or us being way off the pace, we were totally outplayed.
The on the day absences did however, allow for a shining light in Ryan Burchill stepping up from
the 4th team to put in a man of the match worthy performance at left back.
A lot to learn and a lot more to forget from this performance. Onto next week to really get the season
going!

3s vs Wandsworth Borough – 15.04.17

Merton 3s v Wandsworth Borough 3s – 1:2

 

The last game of the 3s season produced the, all too familiar, standard fare for the 3s, a one goal defeat, for only the ninth time this season. A multitude of platitudes could be used to describe the events of the 90 minutes, such as we had the better of the game, we didn’t take our chances and we didn’t mark correctly at set pieces.  All true, again….

 

The Dick of the Day nomination was secured even before the scheduled meet time, as Mustard, despite having compiled the ‘90s music’ playlist and ensuring the speakers were fully charged, failed to then bring the said speakers. This resulted in the rather limp alternative of “name the songs in the playlist from listening to the first few seconds” via the speaker of an iPhone 7.  This really got the changing room buzzing.   The 3s welcomed 3 players into the squad, whom have not featured this season; Kieran Lee, Will Wilgoss and Jon Cox.  Thanks to Walshy for bringing Jon down to the club, new additions are always welcome.

 

The warm up was completed, the team was announced and without a doubt, the whole team were internally contemplating just one question ‘Can we?’. It’s a question that lingered throughout and despite some determined probing from Will Willgoss in the changing room at the end of the game, we’re still not sure that we know the answer, which no doubt will mean that Darcy in particular will still be seeking the answer to that question over the summer months.  Darcy, when you find out, please let us know.

 

To the game itself, Merton started pretty well but after 15 minutes or so and against the run of play. A rather innocuous through ball managed to find its way through the midfield and defence, to leave Wandsworth Borough’s striker through on goal, he elected to quickly loft the ball over Kieran, whom had no chance of stopping it.  Our play was gelling at times and not at others, with our greatest levels of productivity arriving through playing our football simple, rather than looking for over elaborate passes, which invariably meant we lost possession.   Our set pieces were a threat, in particular Glenn’s corners, for both the opposition, and us thankfully their breakaway opportunities come to nothing though.  Glenn was put through from a great through ball from Will(go) and raced through on goal, he had the option to shoot or square the ball to DQ.  From having been present at DQ’s last appearance for the 3s, no doubt Glenn made a statistical assessment that DQs shot to goal’s ratio is 16.6% and felt that shooting rather than passing was more likely to produce the goods.  Alas, this was not the case as the keeper made a good save and put the ball behind for a corner.

 

Whilst we came in 1-0 down at half time, optimism was high that a comeback could be achieved due to Neal and Vin marshaling things at the back (which included guiding Walshy in the same way that Jose Mourinho does with Luke Shaw), their threat was pretty much neutralised, and that we were showing that we had the potential to create chances.

 

The second half continued in the same vein as the first, with a few chances coming and going, Iain in particular having a volley well saved at the near post and Glenn having a good individual effort tipped onto the woodwork by the keeper. Not long after this though, Merton scored the equalizer and it came through, (photographer for the day) Max’s new best friend (judging by the amount of photos of him on the club facebook account), Glenn.  Darcy, played a (surprisingly), non-sh*t ball from the right, over the top of the defence to Glenn on the left, who finished well at the far post.  This goal did two things – 1. Cemented Glenn’s position as top scorer for the 3s in his debut season, with seven goals and 2. Gave Darcy a potential answer to the “can we?’ question but it comes down to what the question actually is, as to whether it is actually an answer (As I recall this, I can imagine Will Willgoss fuming right now at the audacity of such a question, I also wonder what new boy Jon Cox made of it all, no doubt Walshy will help it all make sense for him).

 

With the scores level, optimism was high that Merton could go onto get another and finish the season with a win. Can we?  We definitely thought so!  That is until we faced a corner, which came as a result of a great save from Kieran.  Carrying on the theme from the week before, it looked like we didn’t fancy marking a number of the opposition at a set piece, which resulted in an unchallenged player scoring for the opposition.  Mustard was starting to feel really guilty again as he knew inside that his failure to carry out his one job of bringing the speakers, was probably the real reason for this goal being conceded.  Darcy emphatically emphasised this point after the game.  Never again, will he forget to bring the speakers.

 

Some other stuff would have happened in the game but nothing that springs to mind. Therefore it can’t have been memorable enough to justify an inclusion in the match report.  Hang on, there was something…. Kieran demonstrated that Monica Seles (for those not versed in female tennis players from a bygone era, she was a grunter) was onto something and launched a kick with an almighty grunt, which Chris Pap realised very quickly he had no chance of running onto, as it was effectively a shot.  Kieran mentioned afterwards that he was thinking (dreaming?) of Paul Robinson, whatever floats your boat, Kieran.  Oh, and Mustard attempted to demonstrate his tactical nous (akin to Mourinho’s plan v Chelsea on 16/4/17) by informing Iain that he planned to change the formation to a 3-5-2 to push for a goal, as there was only seven minutes remaining, Iain’s calm and measured response was “you’d better hurry up then”.  He then did it, but it was too little, too late.

 

The game finished 2-1, a one goal defeat, an unfortunate trademark to what has been a disappointing season in terms of results but a positive one in terms of team spirit and competitiveness. The expectation is that the 3s will now return to the league that they shouldn’t have been promoted from and will build on the experiences of this season to produce an improved set of results.

 

Post match drinking ensued with pizza, crisps, wine and Neal doing his traditional struggle with downing a pint. A solid number of players stayed until 8pm, which was good to see, although Walshy left earlier than planned, despite having a ‘green card’ as we were too boring for him (didn’t know that him having a permit allowing him to live and work in the US, entitled him to a greater level of excitement than the rest of us, but things must be different in the world of Walshy).

3s season over.  On to the MFC World Cup on 13 May and the Awards night on 27 May.  Over and out.

 

Team: Kieran Lee, Walshy, Neil Davison (captain), Vincenzo Di Matteo, Jon Cox, Iain Evans, Darcy Yates, Graham (Will) Willgoss, Glenn Pittman, Darren Fitzgerald, David Quainton. Subs:  Chris Papastanasiou, Conor Murphy, Mustard.

 

 

Goal: Glenn Pittman

MOTM:  Neal Davision

DOTD: Mustard (for failing at the ‘one job’ he had – bringing the speakers).

3s vs Civil service 4s (Spring Cup) – 08.04.17

A glorious sunny day greeted the first match of our spring cup campaign (technically the second) and took us to take on Civil Service 4th’s.
With the knowledge that we had had three previously tight games against said opposition we traveled to Chiswick hoping for a positive result to keep our interest in the competition alive.
We started the game well and in the first 15 – 20 minutes produced some decent football and had a couple of very presentable chances that had they been taken would have set us on the road to the win we required I’m sure.

That however was as good as it got for us in terms of being competitive in the game.

What followed during the remainder of the half reminded me of the red wedding episode in game of thrones, in short we got murdered.

Through a mixture of poor positional play, non existent communication, ball watching, and an own goal we went in at the break four nil down.

We have lost more than a few this season as I’m sure your all aware but other than when we lost in the cup to a team two divisions below us that we’re bottom of the league this was the worst performance of the season by a margin.

With nothing but pride and perhaps a flickering dream of an unlikely comeback the second half got underway.

We produced a more solid performance in the second half and credit should go to man of the match Lofty who put in a performance full of composure, commitment and no little skill that was an example for the rest of the squad.

Again we created two or three good chances after the break that could have produced a consolation goal but in truth we were never really in any sort of control of the game and as the match drifted towards its inevitable conclusion civil service took advantage our weary legs and added a fifth with about ten minutes left on the clock.

A day best forgotten.

Team: Bridgeman, Rist, Di Matteo, Pearce, Welch, Iglesias, Evans, Mustard, Pitman, Fitzgerald, Zhurbiy, White, Benham, Chris (apologies Chris I’ve no idea what your second name is)

3s vs Old Parkonians – 18.02.17

Merton III XI    vs  Old Parkonians IV XI      Sat  18th Feb

The Great Escape…..???

A beautiful spring afternoon presented itself to Merton’s 3’s at the Hood. After the sheer stupidity of the vandals earlier in the week, Merton wanted to bring back some pride to the fortress that was the Hood.

Old Skool Rhythm and Blues was playlist of choice, and the music came flowing out of the (pointlessly smashed) dressing room windows.

Merton were in good spirits following the successful 2 wins on the bounce, unheard of this season!

The opposition was a much changed team of Old Parkonians with only 1 or 2 familiar faces from the team we played previously. Also the average size of these players was a little concern, but this didn’t put off Merton, who were focused on getting the all important 3points needed, to keep their fears of relegation at bay.

Pleasantries exchanged, the game kicked off. Old Parkonians had the better first 10min, but then Merton found their stride. A lovely interchange between Darcy and Glen saw Fitz clean through. 1-0 and Merton hadn’t even broken a sweat.

Merton continued to dominate for the rest of the half, with countless chances created and some even captured on film by the eagle eyed Mr Noble. However, Merton were unable to convert any, which has been the story of the season. On the positive though, as the great ‘Wayne Shaw’ once said, (whilst eating a pie) “Shooting off target is the start of something great… once you know your off target, you are half way there to shooting on target, which is a real game changer”.

Not much else happened in the first half of note, Mustard decided to take a throw in from the wrong pitch and wondered why he could only throw 2m in distance. Mr Happy continued to shout words of encouragement to the rest of his team mates and Ricki’s dog watched on from the sidelines, basking in the sunshine, dreaming of hotdogs.

Half time came and went with all the classic cliches that you have all read a million times before! Big push in the first 10min, Next goal is vital etc.

The 2nd half started much like the first, with Old Parkonians starting stronger and Dan making a number of good saves. Merton finally found their passing boots again and began to knock the ball around nicely. A few more missed opportunities came and went, before Fitz was maliciously brought down by the oppo keeper. Clear pen.

After much debate, the clubs leading penalty taker set the ball down. A whistle went, boom… goal…. cue celebration. However, it was a whistle from the other game. The ref made Darcy take the penalty again…. boom. Goal. Neatly slotted into the same corner as the previous penalty. “Nerves of steal”, some were heard saying on the side line.

Meton now had a 2-0 advantage and it stayed this way until the 83min.

As mentioned, the Old Parkonians had a significant height advantage, with every player being 6’2″ plus. On the other hand, Merton’s tallest player was probably Glen or Neal who are an impressive 5’7″ at best. I’m not sure why it took the oppo so long to work this out, but when they did, Merton were in trouble.

After 8 consecutive corners, with Merton unable to clear their lines, an oppo player broke free and whipped in another cross, which was nodded into the goal. 2-1.

Oppo now had the wind in their sails… 88min went past, 89, 90min and another set of 4 corners came Merton’s way. An exact replica of the first goal made it 2-2.

Heart break for the boars who’s defence had been solid until the 83min.

The game was restated with only seconds left on the clock… tick tock… 5mins later,  oppo broke down the left, crossed the ball into the back post, which was promptly put back into the mixer for the striker to score another header. 2-3.

Merton looked by far the better team for 83mins, however like the majority of the other games this season, they found a way to mess it up and lose it.

Some harsh, but fair, words were exchanged in the dressing room, which left each player looking at his own commitment and fitness levels for next season.

Everyone returned to the bar for a beverage and to let off some steam.

Last game of the season Sat… Can Merton 3’s turn over a new leaf this side of Spring?

Goals: Fitz, Darcy

MoM: Dan
DoD: Darcy