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