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).