Category: Match Reports 4s

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
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
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
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

4s vs City of London – 06.10.2018

Merton 4s vs. City of London 3s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 6th October 2018

Buoyed by weeks result against the 5s, the 4s were in league action again and hosted City of London at Joseph Hood.


With numbers low throughout, due to holiday and injury, we were required to call on the services of Scott Brown from the 5s and Andrew Stears from the 6s to make up the numbers. Following a couple of training sessions, Thomas Murphy was ready match fit and took a spot on the bench while another debutant, Andrew Minkevich slotted into the middle of the park.


The starting line-up consisted of Kieran Lee in goal. From right to left, Dan Gridley, Scott Brown, Joe Plumridge and Edward Plaistow (yours truly) made up the defence. The midfield three consisted of Callum Fisher, Andrew and Roman Bilivskyi with Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy and Nick Englefield up top leading the line.


The first half started as expected, Merton dominating play however when the chances came, composure was non-existent and the chances wasted. One of these chances led to a kick from the keepers hand, not anticipating the distance it would travel, it evaded the back line and with Kieran a little late to come off his line, it allowed their main man in green to capitalise and give the visitors the lead. Learning from this, we ensured that the defence dropped deeper for the remainder of the game.


Fortunately conceding first provided the kick up the arse that was needed. Passed were a little more precise with receivers approaching the pass rather than waiting for the ball to approach them. This allows triangles to be plays which opened up the opposing defence on numerous occasions.


It wasn’t long under out dominance was rewarded when Denys bagged his first of the day, Roman made it two 5 minutes later. A moment of magic from young Callum then provided us with a two goal cushion. A cheeky ‘Cruyff Turn’ allowed his the space to unleash an unstoppable right footed effort which found the top bins! 3-1 at the break.


The second half seemed to go by in a flash! All I know is that were able to add to our tally convincingly. Andrew Minkevich made it four, Denys converted twice more to complete his hat trick and Andrew Stears, on for Denys just about scored from a penalty having been taken down.      


The final whistle went with the score 7-1.


Next week we travel to Old Wilsonians hoping to continue our unbeaten streak in the league.


FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 7 – 1 City f London 3s
SCORER(S): Denys Zhurbiy (3), Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher and Andrew Stears (pen)
Callum Fisher – Another solid performance capped off with a goal of the season contender.

DOTD: Kieran Lee – Harsh to be awarded it however the mix-up for the goal conceded was all it came down to. Solid performance after that.

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Dan Gridley, Scott Brown (Thomas Murphy), Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher, Nick Englefield (Andrew Stears), Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge 

4s vs Merton 5s – 29.10.2018

Merton 4s 2 v 0 Merton 5s (from the 4s perspective)
Following last week’s disappointing exit in the AFA Cup, it was back to League action for the 4s. This week however wasn’t just any league fixture, it pinned the 5s against the 4s. Not only three points up for grabs but bragging rights too.
Numbers were scarce in respect of the 4s, with only 11 players available. The 5s however arrived with 13. One of whom was approached to switch sides for the day. An offer that was declined without hesitation. In order to ensure that we had back uponthe pitch, Luke Newman, the 5s Manager, agreed to get kitted up and come on if required.
Due to the personnel available to us, we lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Kieran Lee taken his usual slot between the sticks. The back four from right to left consisted of John Gridley, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge and myself. In the middle of the pack, again from right to left was, Marcus Perkins, Roman Bilivitskiy, Mo Chouikhi and Callum Fisher. Leading the line was Dom Plumridge and Denys Zhurbiy.
There was nothing to separate either side in the first 20 minutes. It was after 20 minutes that the 4s, wearing all yellow, wereable to get a foothold on the game and overpower the 5s, wearing blue shirts and shorts with pink socks, in all areas of the field.
It was also around this time that Luke had to unfortunately get kitted up in yellow to replace Marcus. I have to commend the professionalism Luke showed. You wouldn’t blame him for coming on and making a few ‘mistakes’ to give the 5s an advantage, given that he is the Manager, however this was not the case. He put the effort in that was asked of him and stood out as one of the best performers on the day.
Getting a foothold in the game allowed us to play the passing game we knew that we were capable off. Our dominance paid off when Dom managed to score from with an overhead kick albeit from a standing position. Denys awarded the assist with a header from Johns throw in.
The talk at half time as a positive one, we just had to go back out there and put the same effort in as we did in the first half.
From the first whistle to initiate the start of the second period, the 4s were in control as the 5s were getting frustrated thata few decisions (offsides and handballs in particular) were going against them.

With 20 minutes to go, Denys doubled our advantage. His effort beating, assisted by Dom, beating Chappell at the near post.
As the clocked ticked down, the 5s had a sniff of goal when Dulanie was played through for a one-on-one. His tame shot however was comfortably held by Kieran.
This was a massive win and one that hopefully kick-starts our league campaign. Four points after two games is a decent return.
Next week we welcome City of London Reserves to Joseph Hood. We need to ensure that we go into the game as we finished this one. If we do, another three points are surely guaranteed!
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy
MOTM: Mo Chouikhi
DOTD: Kieran Lee
LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Marcus Perkins (Luke Newman), Mo Chouikhi, Roman Bilivitskiy, Callum Fisher, Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge

4s vs Old Sedcopians – 22.09.2018

Old Sedcopians 3s vs. Merton 4s
AFA Minor Cup, Preliminary Round
Saturday 22nd September 2018

In order to ensure our passage to the First Round of the AFA Minor Cup, we were tasked with taking on Old Sedcopians 3s of the Amateur Football Combination in New Eltham. The travel distance to New Eltham wasn’t that far however the roads you had to take to get there, unless you select the M25 route, made it seem that way.


As a result of the travel time, the first challenge was ensuring that we had enough players in attendance at the time of kick off. Fortunately out of our squad of thirteen, only Lewis Riches and Adam Lynch were running late. The former arriving fifteen minutes after kick off with the latter arriving as the half time whistle sounded.


Due to Adam’s late arrival, Denys Zhurbiy temporarily sat alongside Joe Plumridge at centre back, John Gridley took his usual right back spot and I slotted into my usual position at left back.


In the middle of the park we had Roman Bilivitskiy and Tyrone Fuller with Callum Fisher and Mo Chouikhi supporting them on the flanks with Mario Del Prestito playing just behind Nick Englefield up top.


The match started with high intensity from both sides however it was the hosts that were carving out the better opportunities. One attempt in particular striking the bar early on. Old Sedcopians started to overpower our midfield 20 minutes in and it was around this time that they took the lead. How? I hear you ask….I can’t remember fortunately. What I can remember though is that one soon became two and we were staring defeat in the eyes even before the half had come to an end. We did create one chance that should have been converted, Lewis, who has come on to replace Mo, used his pace to get behind the left back but his effort from Callum’s cross was blazed high and wide. 2- 0 to the host at the break.


We knew that if we were to get back in the game in the second half that we had to strengthen up the midfield. In order to do so, Adam can on in place of Tyrone to partner Joe at the back, Mario dropped back into the middle of the park alongside Roman and Denys partnered Nick up front.


These changes seemed to spark us into gear, it wasn’t long before we were bossing possession and creating chances that with a little more composure would have probably found the back of the net. I can’t decide whether we created more chances than there were balls that were lost over the fence and we created quite a few chances! I think the balls over the fence clinch it though.


The effort we were putting in was finally rewarded when Callum’s cut back, following a Messiesque run, was converted by Roman. Our opposition were clinging on to their lead and they knew that they had to switch back on.


The momentum however remained with yellow shirts outnumbering purple ones at every attack we had. One of these said attacks resulted in a corner from the left. Mario’s out swinging delivery connecting to Denys’s forehead to bring the game level. The momentum had definitely remained with Merton and our hosts were nervous! However they had nothing to be nervous about in the end…..we were able to add to our tally and they were able to grab the winner 10 minutes from time. A square ball across the six yard box tapped in at the back post.


Cue to final whistle and a cheer of relief from Old Sedcopians.


Once against, each and every player that pulled on that yellow shirt left everything out on the pitch. If we continue like this, results will come and we will be a force to be reckoned with.


Next week it’s a Merton Derby when we take on the 5s hoping to leapfrog them in the table.


FINAL SCORE: Old Sedcopians 3 – 2 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Jonas Cabrera
Callum Fisher – A solid performance once again. Doesn’t look out of place.

DOTD: Adam Lynch – Nobody deserves it however if it has to be awarded to somebody it goes to the person who turned up nearly 2 hours late.

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Mohamed Chouikhi (Lewis Riches), Roman Bilivitskiy, Tyrone Fisher (Adam Lynch), Callum Fisher, Mario Del Prestito, Nick Englefield 

4s vs Polytechnic 6s – 08.09.2018

Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 6s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 8th September 2018

The first game of the 2018/19 season say Merton 4s host Polytechnic 6s.

With squads yet to be settled following an exodus 4th team regulars from last season, there were more new faces than old with only myself, Kieran Lee, John Gridley and Dom Plumridge surviving.

The first half was one of few chances for Merton however for the visitors, they hit the bar and had a ball cleared off the line courtesy of Matt Nightingale. For an individual of his stature, it was probably the best goal line clearance I have witness during my 14 years at Merton. 0 – 0 at the break.

Where the first half was a period that was easy to forget, the second was one full of action.

Following a push in the back, Polytechnic were awarded a free-kick from about 25 yards out. From the resulting set piece we found ourselves a goal down when a composed header found the back of the net. 1-0.

1-0 soon became 2-0 when a spot kick was harshly awarded. John Gridley unable to move his arm out of the way in time when the ball was ‘pelted’ at him from 2 yards all. Regardless of the appeals, the penalty stood and was converted into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

For a team that had not played together before, not even in pre-season, everyone was grafting and working for each other. This was evident when Dom managed to pull a goal back. Merton were back in the game!

This however was short lived! Less than 5 minutes from the restart, the visitors managed to restore their 2-goal advantage through a goal reminiscent the Luke Shaw/Marcus Rashford linkup against Spain a few hours later.

Disappointment was showing having worked so hard to get back into the game however we continued to press and was creating chances. Finally, one of these paid off. Denys delivered a delicate ball into the box which Dom again managed to latch onto to reduce the deficit once again. 

With less than 5 minutes to go, it was gung-ho. With every offensive opportunity we committed men forward, never giving up.

Our resilience was rewarded. A free-kick was award to Merton just inside the oppositions half. With Andy Bitmead on the ball and Kieran Lee in the mix, Andy’s delivery was cleared however only as far as John Gridley on the edge of box. His ball back in could only be parried by the keeper which allowed Jonas Cabrera to unleash a right footed volley (might have been half-volley!) into an empty net. Jubilations!

This was a draw which felt more like a win! Each and every player gave it their all and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

We keep up this hunger, who know what we could achieve this season.

Next week would have seen us travel to Chiswick to face off against IBIS Eagles however this match has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 3 Polytechnic 6s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Jonas Cabrera
Chris Outred – A solid performance having been called up from the 5s.

DOTD: Kieran Lee – A sliced clearance that could have been VERY embarrassing had he not recovered.

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Chris Outred, Jonas Cabrera, Callum Fisher, Matt Nightingale (Mohamed Chouikhi, Denys Zhurbiy, Roman Bilivitskiy, Andy Bitmead, Dom Plumridge 

4s vs Polytechnic 7s – 17.02.18

Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 7s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 17th February 2018

Following last weekend’s exit from the SAL Cup, we were back in league action this week with Polytechnic 7s making the trip to Wimbledon Common Extensions. This was a game we needed to win in order to continue in our quest for promotion, if not the title.


Again, our squad was weakened with Sonny Kennedy, Akram Choudhury, Dan Gridley and Michael Elgar unavailable. We did however managed to piece a squad together with Darcy Yates, Ryan Burchell and Adrian Thompson (a Sunday League teammate of Frankie’s) being drafted in to help out. Jack Dethridge was also a new face within the mix. We would have been able to name two subs had Ricardo turned up however this did not materialise.


Having the right personnel we were able to line up in our usual 3-5-2 formation which has served us well throughout the season.


Although the playing surface wasn’t the best, we were on the front foot from the start. The wingbacks in myself and Ryan supporting the midfield three to cause the visitors all sorts of problems. Within the first ten minutes we got the breakthrough that we deserved. A slick move, which started from the back line, was completed when Ryan found himself in the box to fire a square ball from Dom into the roof of the net.


One soon became two and did so with one of the best goals witnessed since my time at Merton. A ball was played out of the back to Dom up top. With his back to goal, from 25 yards out, he teed up Jack, using a combination of his shoulder and chest, who unleashed a left footed volley into the back on the onion bag! 2-0 and cruising.


Twenty minutes before the break Jack bagged his second and Merton’s third after the keeper failed to keep out his long range effort. This however was as good as it got!


Joe Plumridge had to leave the field of play for ten minutes having picked up a booking for dissent, meaning he was the latest to participate in the sin bin trial. Fortunately we were able hold on without conceding during his absence which is how it stayed until the break.


The team talk at the break was a positive, which was expected taking into account the score line. Fast-forward to the team talk at the final whistle and it was far from positive, and this is the reason why….


Polytechnic reduced the deficit with a ‘worldy’ from the left which even had Gubby saying “What a goal” as it hit the back of the net. Polytechnic then reduced the deficit further when Gubby could only parry a long range effort into the side netting. The equaliser came shortly courtesy of a near post header from a corner. From 3-0 up at half time the score was now 3-3 with ten minutes to go. Then came the sucker punch!


The referee awarded a penalty to Polytechnic after Adrian raised his hands to protect his face. A harsh decision considering the distance travelled from foot to hand by we probably would have claimed had it been us.


For the third game in a row we have blown a three goal lead to lose. This result is a further blow to our promotion/title push but all we can do is keep going in the hope that other results go our way.


Next week we host the other Polytechnic side in our league which, on paper, should be an easier game if the reverse fixture is anything to go by as we won that 8-1. Unfortunaly football isn’t played on paper so we need to give all we can.



FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 4 Polytechnic 7s
SCORER(S): Jack Dethridge (2), Ryan Burchell

MOTM: Will Toms

DOTD: Joe Plumridge – Sin binned.


STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Gubby (GK), Joe Plumridge, Will Toms, John Gridley, Ryan Burchell (Adrian Thompson), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Will Harrison, Darcy Yates, Jack Dethridge, Aaron Loftus, Dom Plumridge

4s vs Actonians 7s – 10.02.18

Merton 4s vs. Actonians Association 7s
ISEH Intermediate Novets Cup, Quarter Final
Saturday 10th February 2018
by Edward Plaistow

If there was any week in which you wanted a postponement, this was the one. With only seven regulars available, there was no other option but to seek help from elsewhere with Aaron Byrne, Luke Newman, Chris Outred and Phil Truman from the 5s stepping up to help following their postponement. Denyz Zhurbiy was also part of the squad. We were further strengthened when Matt Bosher, who had turned up at Joseph Hood for the non-existent 1s game, became our 14th man. When asked if he wanted to help out, it was pleasing that his response was ‘Well it’s better than going home’,

The playing surface at WCE was more like a swamp than a football pitch. In all honestly I wouldn’t have been surprised if the referee had called the game off due to the amount of standing water visible but with him and the opposition having “travelled a long way” the game went ahead.

Having not played the visitors before, we didn’t know what to expect. Their results in the league were nothing to go by having only played a fraction of the games we had. Although we had a shift in personnel, we were able to line up in our usual 3-5-2 formation. Michael Elgar replaced Gubby in goal with the latter unavailable with Chris Outred coming into the back three alongside Dan Gridley and Will Toms. The only other change saw Aaron Byrne partner Denyz up top in the absence of Dom Plumridge with Aaron Loftus dropping into a number ten role.

It was a slow start with the playing surface not helping. We were unable to string a succession of passes together which resulted in Actonians having a lot of the ball early on. Their number 4 in the middle of the park being the catalyst for everything they were creating. It wasn’t long until their dominance in possession paid off when Mikey was unable to keep out a low drive from 20 yards.

Conceding kicked us into gear. We were getting a foothold in the game creating opportunities. Denyz was holding the ball up well with Aaron Byrne causing all sorts of problems on the right hand side. On the half hour mark we found ourselves level courtesy of Aaron Loftus and that left foot of his. We were now on the front foot and we soon found ourselves in the lead with Sonny converting following a layoff by Aaron Loftus. We kept our composure for the remainder of the half.

We were playing some good football, as a result, the team talk at half time was possible. In order to freshen this up changes were made. John Gridley took the place of Mikey in goal as he was unable to continue following a collision in the first half. Luke came onto replace him taking Johns spot at RWB. Phil replaced Chris at the back and Matt came on in place of Aaron Byrne.

The second period started better than we ever could have imagined when two minutes in, Aaron Loftus gambled on a mistake by the keeper to fire a left footed shot into the bottom right of the net. This however was the trigger where things went downhill.

Within 10 minutes of increasing our lead, the game was level with Actonians bossing possession. Legs were tiring which were made worse when Sonny was sin binned for dissent. During his ten minute absence, which seemed liked a lifetime, the visitors used the extra man to their advantage. The extra man combined with some poor defending (the guys would agree!) the game finished 6-3 to Actonians meaning they were travelling back to Acton with a spot in the semi-finals.

This is a game to forget but hopefully we will have our revenge in the league fixtures.

With our cup run over until next season, we look forward to hosting Polytechnic at Joseph Hood next week hoping to continue our fine form in the league.

Merton 4s 3 – 6 Actonians Association 7s
SCORERS: Aaron Loftus (2), Sonny Kennedy
Aaron Loftus
DOTD: Sonny Kennedy

STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Elgar (GK) (Luke Newman), Will Toms, Dan Gridley, Chris Outred (Phil Truman), Edward Plaistow, John Gridley, Akram Choudhury, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Denyz Zhurbiy, Aaron Byrne (Matt Bosher)