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)