Category: Match Reports 4s

4s vs Lloyds Warren – 25.02.17

Lloyds Warren 3s vs. Merton 4s SAL Minor Division 2 South Saturday 25th February 2017

After last weekend’s impressive display at home against Bank of England, plus the return fixture back in January where we triumphed 9-2, we knew that another three points was the only result. Knowing this, we approached the game like any other, with the mind-set that it could go against us and we could end up on the losing end.

 

The focus was there as it was still mathematically possible to stay up depending on other results. We had to ensure that we won this game for that to come to fruition however.

 

We were without our skipper Mike Todt this week as well as Michael Vogt with John Gridley also missing through injury. We did however welcome back Ryan Burchell and Mikey Elgar.

 

We started the game well and we on the front foot from the off. Frankie was like a man possessed in the middle of the park, winning each and every ball that he challenged for and doing well with it when it was in his possession. He did so well in fact that he won a free kick on the right by-line. Aaron Lotfus stepped up from more than 30 yards out to bury the ball into the back of the net, something that he predicted the night before.

 

Not long after the restart were we able to double our lead through Dom Plumridge. After a ball into the box failed to be cleared from Dom’s initial effort, he buried it to the keeper’s bottom right at the second time of asking. 2-0 and cruising.

 

Not long after doubling our lead, Dom picked up a freak injury when claiming the ball after it had gone out of play. Our job was going to be a lot tougher without our talisman but we knew we had capable replacements on the bench. Jake replaced Dom in a straight swap.

 

It remained 2-0 going into the break and it was a lead that was sell deserved.

 

The second half started with the opposition opting for a change in keeper however this did not seem to change the outcome as we increased our tally by a further two goals with Dan Gridley scoring with a free kick from the left and Frankie getting on the scoresheet for the first time this season with a high looping effort from 20 yards that the keeper could do nothing about.

 

4-0 was the final score. A second win on the bounce however was not enough to stay in the league as Civil Service won. Unless Bank of England and Old Wilsonians loss their remaining games (both whom still have Lloyds Warren to play) we will be situated in Division 3 and facing back to back relegations.

 

Our league position doesn’t justify our performances throughout the season. We have been unlucky in most of the games we have lost. Next season you will see a more determined Merton 4s with only one aim…..promotion and a league title!            

 

FINAL SCORE: Lloyds Warren 3s 0 – 4 Merton 4s SCORERS: Aaron Loftus, Dom Plumridge, Dan Gridley, Frankie Kalogirou MOTM: Frankie Kalogirou

 

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Ryan Burchell, Mikey Elgar, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow, Frankie Kalogirou, Will Harrison, Chris Outred, Sonny Kennedy, Dom Plumridge, Aaron Loftus

SUBS: Dan Gridley, Jake Hewitt

4s vs Bank of England – 18.02.17

Maybe it was just the warmth and sunshine. After all, it would seem ridiculous on the face of it that a team who’ve lost five games on the bounce – especially with the latest being a 6-0 reverse at Polytechnic – should have reason to feel confident. But then again, this was a team who’d started to play some really good football recently, and therein lay the main reason for them feeling confident as they set foot in their hallowed turf at the sadly-vandalised Hood for this clash against mid-table Bank of England.

 
Even a teensy snafu with the kit being locked inside the clubhouse – thus ruling out any chance of a meaningful warm-up – could dent the good feeling and mirth as the Merton 4s embraced each other. Eventually, the key arrived, the AC Milan-style kit was quickly donned, and the lads took to the field under clear skies and warm temperatures.
 
The game kicked off, and was almost breathless right from the off. End-to-end stuff, with both teams showing plenty of endeavour. BOE certainly had the better of the exchanges in the first 15 minutes, with a right-footed shot that went wide of the left post, and another from range which Kieran tipped wide. They might have done better from a free header at a corner later on too.
 
But to focus on that would be an injustice to Merton, who were not only far steadier at the back, but offered plenty going forward too. The midfield engine, spearheaded by Sonny and Will, provided a good base, and when the ball was played out wide, the home side looked particularly dangerous. They got themselves into good positions too, but, as has been the case over the last few weeks, their finishing wasn’t clinical.
 
In the last 10 minutes of the half, two crucial things happened though. At one end, Kieran made an outstanding reflex save when their striker looked sure to score. And then at the other end, in the dying minutes before the break, Mike Vogt sent a superb cross-field ball to Aaron. He nudged the ball down, it fell kindly, and he lashed it home with that deadly left boot from 10 yards out to make it 1-0.
 
Delirium for Merton, and what a way to go into the interval. Nothing but positive vibes were shared, but there was a determination in them to make it count. In the reverse fixture against these opponents, Merton had enjoyed the same half-time score, but shot themselves in the foot by going on the defensive.
 
This time though, they took the game to the oppo as soon as the whistle sounded for the resumption. Aaron was running riot on the right wing, and Merton enjoyed plenty of possession. And it stemmed almost entirely from Sonny, who was nothing short of outstanding at the heart of the midfield. His work rate was relentless, and Bank of England could hardly get a kick. Merton delivered wave after wave of attacks, and should have really scored earlier than they did.
 
In fact, they should have been given what was a stonewall penalty as well, but the ref – who it must be said was otherwise superb – seemed to bottle it on a foul that would surely have been called anywhere else on the pitch. Nevertheless, Merton were not to be denied, and eventually, after many goalmouth scrambles and missed opportunities, the second goal arrived. Aaron’s delivery was meekly parried by their keeper, and the ball bobbled around and eventually landed on the head of Dom. He had the simple task of nodding it over what was left of the defence, and the ball nestled gloriously in the net.
 
2-0. Merton had their crucial second, and Dom his first of 2017. May the floodgates now open.
 
More importantly, he’d now set Merton firmly on course for victory. He might have had another a few minutes later, as a delightful through ball had him one on one with the keeper. It wasn’t to be though, as the keeper thwarted his effort with a good block.
 
On the flip side, Bank of England did have one dangerous attack, which came from a Merton error. However, Kieran timed his charge off his line to perfection, and the combination of his presence and Will cleaning up meant that the visitors had been snuffed out.
 
Indeed, the final 10 minutes were a masterclass in game management, as Merton maintained their grip on their opponents to see out what turned into a relatively comfortable win. But it was comfortable only because the lads had worked their socks off, chasing everything down for the cause, and pulling in the same direction for each other. All 13 players who set foot on the field had played their part, and, even if long overdue, had finally patched it all together to put on a display of which we’ve known we’re capable all along.
 
Let’s use it now and finish the season strong. There’s plenty more good things to come from this team. Saturday was the proof of the pudding.
 
Goals: Loftus, D Plumridge
MOTM: Sonny Kennedy

Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Mike Todt, Joe Plumridge, John Gridley, Will Harrison, Michael Vogt, Chris Outred, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Dom Plumridge

Subs: Dan Gridley, Frankie Kaligorou

4s vs Polytechnic 6s – 11.02.17

As the snow tumbled down, 13 men who, by Saturday, don the mighty yellow, expectantly checked their phones that morning, with the text from Scholesy that the game against Poly would be called off seemingly a racing certainty.

But it never came, and an almost reluctant Merton 4s slowly gathered in the change room. The late arrival of the manager meant the kit was hurriedly put on – not that anyone really fancied a warm up anyway.

Given the adverse conditions, the pitch was in surprisingly good nick, and after some encouraging performances in recent weeks, Merton said about asserting themselves.

But the first couple of minutes were almost a perfect microcosm of the 4s season so far. For about 120 seconds from the kick off, they pinged the ball around beautifully, getting ball to feet, and building two very dangerous attacks in the process.

It didn’t yield a goal though. Well, not for Merton anyway. One hoof upfield from Poly, a mix up in defence, and the hosts gleefully poked it home. And just like that, a deflated Merton were 1-0 down.

The lads kept their heads up though, and, impressively, they kept playing football. After 15 minutes, it is fair to say Poly had barely had a kick, and yet were 1-0 up. Not only had Merton bossed the midfield, but they’d opened up their opponents down the wings a number of times too.

Yet they were always vulnerable on the counter, and that’s how Poly’s second came about. Their striker got in behind, and Kieran initially made a fine save. Unfortunately, he lost his footing a touch on the follow up, and his palmed second save could only send the ball over his head and rolling agonisingly into the net. 2-0 Poly.

And still Merton kept going, as the midfield continued to have the better of things, with Sonny and Akram doing a fine job in the middle of the park. But then came a nasty injury to Chris Outred, as he clashed heads with a Poly player as both went in for a full-blooded header. And full blooded it was, as an astonishing amount of the red stuff came from Chris’s forehead. After a few minutes of checking for concussion and performing some relatively amateur first aid bandage work, Chris was escorted from the field. We do wish him a speedy recovery.

The third and fourth goals came just after half time, although this scribe was in the clubhouse attending to the wounded at the time, so no details of how it happened are currently available.

There is no fun in getting a battering. But credit to the Yellows, they kept going, and still continued to produce some pockets of good football. That said, Poly were by now the more dominant side, and as injuries accumulated for Merton, they became very stretched.

Poly’s 5th goal came about from some good interplay down the left, although the shot which finished it was something of a worldie. It left Kieran with no price whatsoever. The same could not be said of the 6th goal though, as Merton were caught out trying to play it from the back.

At the other end, Ryan Burchell made a good run that almost yielded a goal, while Danny Gridley also made a fine surge upfield, which led to a decent chance.

But it wasn’t to be, and the final whistle mercifully sounded to end a bitterly disappointing day. After a result like that, the acid test was going to be just how acidic the recriminations were in the change room. Yet nothing of the sort ensued. Instead, the lads shared frustration, but took pride in the quality of football they produced. True, the sloppy goals they continue to give away, and their profligacy in front of goal are a big concern. Yet in amongst all that is also some very, very good football. It’s time to convert that into a result against Bank of England next week.

 
MOTM: Sonny Kennedy

Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Joe Plumridge, John Gridley, Dan Rist, Dan Gridley, Akram Choudhary, Chris Outred, Frankie Kaligorou, Sonny Kennedy, Dom Plumridge

Subs: Clive Corrigan, Ryan Burchell, Mike Todt

4s vs Old Wilsonians – 04.02.17

Merton 0-3 Old Wilsonians
 

After a heartening performance against Carshalton the week before, the Merton 4s had every reason to feel positive going into this relegation 6 pointer at Old Wilsonians. Despite the dire weather predictions, the game went ahead under sunny skies.

 
There were a couple of absentees, with Mike pulling out due to a ‘back’ problem, while Kieran Lee’s non arrival was almost half expected, given his birthday celebrations the night before. But all in all, a pretty strong squad took to the field, and they began the game well, despite being into the sun and up the slope. Aaron, as ever, was very incisive on the wing, while Will Harrison did what he does best in midfield – the ideal screen for any defence.
 
Unfortunately, the breakthrough came at the other end, and somewhat against the run of play. Merton might have done better to clear their lines, which allowed the Wilsonians left winger time and space. He got in behind the defence, and ended up one on one with stand-in keeper Chris Outred. His finish was clinical, and with that, the hosts led 1-0.
 
It knocked the wind out of Merton’s sails, and they were fairly poor the next 15 minutes. Wilsonians’ second was deserved, albeit a worldie from 30 yards out.
 
At 2-0 down, Merton came back into the contest though, with the wings bearing fruit. The flashpoint came a few minutes later, as Frankie was played in. He took the ball well, beating one defender in the box, before being savagely smashed in the face. It was a blatant penalty and a red, but that was almost beside the point. Frankie was writhing in agony, and somehow the ref waved play on! Wilsonians nearly scored at the other end before sanity eventually prevailed and play was halted.
 
Frankie gingerly made his way off the pitch, and in some pain too. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.
 
It was all Merton at this point, but with five minutes to go until half time, another worldie from outside the box made it 3-0. Chris had no chance, as their little forward turned into space and shot in a flash from 25 yards. Incredible goal, but at 3-0 down, it was now a long way back.
 
Credit to Merton, they put in an excellent second half display, pretty much in keeping with the performance against Carshalton. But, like the week before, the Yellows were guilty of flagrance in front of goal, and they spurned a number of golden opportunities to haul themselves back into the game.
 
They gave as good as they got right to the end, but were unable to get on the scoresheet. A real shame, and the final result all but condemns them to a second relegation in succession. But this is a team starting to play some good football, and there is now a great opportunity for them to string some results together and build the confidence that’s just lacking a bit. This team will be back, you can bet your bottom dollar on that.
 
MOTM: Aaron Loftus

Team: Chris Outred (GK), Ed Plaistow, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge, John Gridley, Will Harrison, Michael Vogt, Frankie Kaligorou, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Dom Plumridge

Subs: Mikey Elgar, Lee Lenihan

4s vs Carshalton – 28.01.17

Merton 1-2 Carshalton

For a somewhat beleaguered 4s outfit, who’d won just once in their last 6 games, the prospect of table-topping Carshalton seemed a grim one – particularly after last week’s poor defeat to relegation rivals Old Wilsonians.

Nevertheless, a strong-looking squad diligently did their warm ups, waiting patiently for the men in green to arrive. And they waited. And they waited some more. Eventually they sauntered up the King George’s ‘turf’ 20 minutes late, protesting that they’d been sent the wrong venue by Merton’s fixtures secretary. Apparently the ref had seen evidence of this misleading email too. Merton were dubious (justifiably so in the end, as Mark Chappell later confirmed in the clubhouse). But it meant, at the time, that the Yellows had to let things be, and start the game at Carshalton’s leisure.

Perhaps that added extra inspiration though, because Merton started the game with a bang. With the sun and the wind at their backs, the hosts were simply all over the oppo. On a pretty poor surface, they were playing it on the deck, using the wings and barely letting Carshalton get a kick. Will’s return was hugely notable, and his impact was profound. And upfront, Mike Vogt was simply excellent, making incisive runs and putting in plenty of delightful through balls.

The breakthrough was fortunate, but no more than Merton deserved. A tame ball appeared to have been safely gathered by their keeper. But with barely anyone watching – other than a prowling Sonny – he coughed it up out of nowhere. A gleeful Sonny pounced, and slammed it home into an empty net. 1-0, delight for Merton.

The next 20 minutes were a contrast of high quality and frustration. Merton didn’t just carve out chances. They carved out great chances. Sonny later found himself one on one with the keeper on the edge of the box, but blazed over. Frankie, in a similar position, then forced an incredible save from their keeper. And then later Frankie found himself with a free header at the far post, but unfortunately steered it wide from point blank.

There were some other decent chances too, and on another day, Merton would have been out of sight. But failing to take your chances often can come back to haunt you, and it did so here just before the break – albeit in desperately unfortunate circumstances. An incoming ball was missed by both attacker and defender. Kieran, who initially took a knock, bravely got up and hacked away what seemed like a decent clearance. Sadly, it struck Will in the mid section, and ricocheted into the path of the Carshalton striker, handing them an equaliser on a silver platter. Outrageously unjust, no one to blame, but whichever way you cut it, the score was 1-1.

A disbelieving Merton trundled off for the half time interval, incandescent that their best performance in recent memory had yielded so little fruit. But now was the time to make it count. With the wind now in their faces, could they do it?

From the get go, the intensity never dropped. Yes, Carshalton grew into the game, began to enjoy the lion’s share of possession and spent the greater amount of time in the Merton half. But so solid was Merton’s shape, and so relentless was their work rate, that this scribe barely remembers Kieran having a save to make.

Yes, he had some good interventions with the occasional parry here and there, came off his line well; while Carshalton also skewed a few long range shots. But the best chance of all actually came at the other end.

Merton won a free kick. The delivery caused havoc in the area, with Mike eventually flicking it on to Dan Gridley, who was just a few yards out. Unfortunately with the rising ball on the bounce, his shot just cleared the cross bar, and it stayed 1-1.

And with about 10 minutes to go, the sucker punch came. A throw in was flicked on to a Carshalton player, but it seemed fairly harmless with the lad a good few yards outside the area. Alas, he lashed it home into the bottom left corner, leaving Kieran no chance at all. 2-1 Carshalton, and absolutely cruel on Merton.

But in keeping with their performance, they never gave up. With 5 minutes to go, a stricken Dom came on for Mike, as they threw everyone forward. And in the dying seconds, a through ball scuttled it’s way through to Sonny. He carried it forward into the box and was one on one with the keeper. Surely….

No. It just wasn’t to be. Sonny did everything by the book, sending it low and to the keeper’s right. But somehow, with perhaps the power of some Deity looking down, the keeper thwarted it.

And that was it. The final seconds ticked by, the final whistle went, and Merton had to leave the field digesting one of the most unjust defeats you’ll probably ever see. But they also did so with their heads held high. It dawned on them that they’d just outplayed a team who are running away with the league. This is how the Merton 4s know they can play. So can they do it in the rematch against Wilsonians next week? If they do, then three points will almost be guaranteed.

 
Goals: Sonny Kennedy
MOTM: Will Harrison

Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Mike Todt, Chris Outred, John Gridley, Will Harrison, Akram Choudhary, Michael Vogt, Frankie Kaligorou, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus

Subs:  Joe Plumridge, Dom Plumridge, Dan Gridley 

4s vs Old Wilsonians – 21.01.17

Merton 2 – 4 Old Wilsonians

The first game of 2017 for the 4s finally came to pass, albeit with a bit of pitch shuffling required. Ambitiously scheduled to play at the Hood, the fixture against fellow relegation rivals Old Wilsonians was then moved to the delightful Wimbledon Common Extensions. However, upon arrival, the designated pitch was truly awful. Fortunately, there were an array to choose from, and after various inspections, play was declared possible on the furthest one, which was bathed in sunlight.

Onto the game then, and the Merton squad looked a good one, with only a couple of notable absentees. The formation was a sort of 4-5-1, albeit with a few nuances to it. Anyway, with the sun at their backs, sporting an AC Milan-style kit (with very ‘snug’ shorts), Merton faced the kick off in a confident mood, and immediately had the ascendancy in the game. Despite the poor surface, there was some good passing on the deck, and Aaron and Mike Vogt were providing excellent outlets on either side.

Chances and half chances came thick and fast, and Merton deservedly took the lead about 15 minutes in, with some good buildup in the midfield, and then a fine through ball sending Mike Vogt on his way. He still had plenty to do, but his finish in the top right corner of the net was pinpoint. 1-0 to Merton, and no more than they deserved.

The lads continued to work hard, but a cruel blow was struck soon after. Wilsonians hit a ball down the left-hand touchline which went out by a good few yards, before curling back in. Merton understandably stopped, in expectation of the throw. But the ref, who hadn’t seen it, waved play on. A brief shambles in the box ensued, before a blocked clearance landed at the feet of the fortuitous Wilsonians striker, and he swept it home from point blank.

1-1. An entirely underserved equaliser, but unfortunately it changed the flow of the game. The visitors were suddenly dominant, and Merton, sans an injured Miley Elgar, were under the cosh. There was an air of inevitability about the second, although, credit to Wilsonians, it was an excellent team goal, finished off clinically between their two strikers, who shared an impressive exchange of passes.

2-1, and the worry was that the floodgates may open. But with a little over five minutes to go in the half, Merton were handed a lifeline out of nowhere. Having been under a lot of pressure, they produced an excellent team move, and after a series of Barcelona-esque passes, Aaron was put through on goal, and dabbed home in clinical fashion. 2-2; a fine goal to boot, and it gave Merton a wave of confidence as they finished the half strongly.

The chat was positive at half time – something that wasn’t necessarily the case during the game itself – and there was genuine belief that this game was there for the taking. Rightly so, because once play got underway, Merton made a number of chances for themselves: Ed with a good run down the byline put in a dangerous ball, but no one could finish. Frankie put a powerful header just over the bar. And while Aaron’s deliveries were superb, it was an attempted direct free kick which nearly found its way in at the near post.

But for all their chances, Merton weren’t necessarily dominant, and Wilsonians were very much in the game too. And unfortunately it was they who made it count, as, midway through the half, Merton were unable to clear their lines after an oppo counter attack, and Wilsonians lashed home a resultant shot that bounded into the net, despite Kieran getting a good hand on it.

3-2 it was, and it’s fair to say the heads dropped somewhat. That said, Merton kept going, and a couple of good chances, and many more half chances, continued to accrue. Merton gave as good as they got. With a little under 10 minutes to go, the hosts then had little choice but to go for broke, eventually going with three at the back. Initially, it gave them good forward thrust, but it left them open at the back, and the killer blow arrived a few minutes later. With a massive overlap, the Merton defenders initially did well to close their opponents down. But the interception fell kindly to a Wilsonians players, and he put it away into the bottom corner.

4-2, and that’s how things stayed, with the game petering out, and no clear cut opportunities thereafter. As the final whistle went, there was a clear sense of disappointment in the ranks. This was a relegation 6 pointer, and Merton had come off on the wrong end of it. More than that, it was a day where, despite a woeful pitch, they had actually played some decent football at times. Thus all the more frustrating to not get a result. Hopefully though, the good things get taken into next week. They’ll need to, because Carshalton lie in wait!

 
Goals: Mike Vogt, Aaron Loftus 
MOTM: Mike Vogt

Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Mike Todt, Joe Plumridge, John Gridley, Mikey Elgar, Chris Outred, Michael Vogt, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Dom Plumridge

Subs: Frankie Kaligorou, Joe Vaughan, Bill

4s vs Lloyds Warren 10.12.16

Merton 9-2 Lloyds Warren
 
Normally writing match reports for a victory is a pleasure, particularly in a season dominated by losses. But when it’s a mess of messy of goals, it can be a bit of a headache! But here goes…
At the behest of the Merton skipper, throwing his weight around for entirely selfish reasons, the 4s game had been moved to King George’s for an early kick off at 1pm. It appeared as though Lloyds Warren hadn’t got the memo, with no sign of them for much of the buildup. 

 
Eventually, having gone to the wrong ground, 10 of them turned up about 15 minutes before kick off. Merton did their best to have a decent warm-up, but coming up against an already-struggling team, who were walking onto the pitch cold, and with a man short of a full team, fending off complacency was going to be the challenge.
And it appeared to be a challenge too great, as Merton started the game stuck in first gear. Lloyds Warren were making all the early running, and frustration quickly set in among the Yellows as they struggled to get any kind of rhythm. It must have made for a pretty poor spectacle from the sidelines, but credit to the visitors for making a go of it.
As such, Merton were very fortunate to take the lead. Mike Vogt found himself in space down the left, and, one on one with the keeper, just about bundled it home to make it 1-0.
But Lloyds Warren righted the injustice almost straight away, as they sauntered through Merton’s non-existent midfield, struck the post from range, crossed from the rebound and nodded home from point blank to make it 1-1.
Merton were seething. They knew they had been poor thus far, and were grateful to have their lead restored almost immediately after. Mikey Elgar, a welcome returnee from his travels, and carrying considerably more facial hair than when last seen on these shores, got in the mix in a goalmouth scramble, and directed the ball goalwards before their woeful keeper did the rest. Harsh on Mikey, but the goals panel decided it was an own goal. Still, 2-1, and Merton were back in front.
Now, full disclosure… accurate reporting of the remaining goals will be beyond this scribe, as it all happened thick and fast. But the 3rd and 4th goals came courtesy of Dom Plumridge and Ryan Burchell, the latter of whom wasn’t done for the day. It meant that Merton went into the break in a commanding 4-1 lead, but, rightly so, the chat wasn’t necessarily all positive. 
True, it isn’t easy to get up for a game you effectively know you’re going to win, but Merton had been well below their best, and if Lloyds had had a half-decent keeper, the score would likely have been 1-1.
The Yellows upped the ante a little bit when the second half began, and it didn’t take long before the scoreline was added to. Among them was Ryan’s second goal – a Divock Origi-esque finish from a tight angle. Undoubtedly an attempted cross, but he’ll take it. Mike Vogt added his second of the day too, and Aaron, who had been by far Merton’s best player, also forced a goal, although the goals panel once again ruthlessly decided that it was an OG. 
7-1 it was, but the moment of the day was yet to come. Having already hit the post earlier – on that occasion, Dom very generously having left the ball for him – Ryan completed his hat trick to make it 8-1. A thumping left-foot finish did the business, and he celebrated like it was 1999 (was he even born then?). Full credit to a true team player, and he richly deserved it on the day.
There was still time for more goals though. Lloyds Warren’s big skipper picked up a rebound off the post, and saw the ball fall kindly to him after his initial shot was blocked. He slotted home to make it 8-2.
But it was Merton who had the final say, as Mike Vogt charged up the pitch and applied the finish to complete a hat trick of his own, and add to the rout to make it 9-2. The final whistle went soon after, and Merton revelled in a goal glut, a pair of hat tricks, and, most importantly, three points.
It certainly wasn’t a vintage display, but heaven knows, the 4s have put in some gallant and excellent performances this season and still lost. No doubt about it – this one felt much better.
 
Goals: Mike Vogt (3), Dom Plumridge, Ryan Burchell (3) and Own Goals (2)
MOTM: Ryan – but special mention to Aaron, who was very impressive
DOTD: Mike, for engineering an early kick off for selfish reasons

Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Mike Todt, Joe Plumridge, John Gridley, Mikey Elgar, Dan Gridley, Chris Outred, Ryan Burchell, Sonny Kennedy, Dom Plumridge

Subs: Mike Vogt, Aaron Loftus

4s vs Carshlaton – 03.12.16

Carshalton 3-1 Merton
 

Carshalton. A game where the only guarantees are niggle and bad blood. But for the 4s, who’d come off the back of a number of narrow defeats, it looked a tough assignment against second from top of the league – especially with a depleted squad. No Dan Gridley or Joe Plumridge, and Sonny went into the game carrying a significant injury.

 
Nevertheless, the game got underway, and Merton perhaps surprised themselves at how comfortable they were. Not only was their shape rock solid, giving Carshalton short shrift in attack, but the Yellows were passing it around on the deck. Despite being into a noticeable breeze, they arguably had the best of things.
 
Central to it all was Will, who was immense, and won just about every challenge – both in the air and on the floor. Ryan, too, was an absolute rock at right back. But further up the pitch, Gubby and Mike Vogt were providing good outlets for attack, and Dom was getting ball to feet. The moment critique came around midway through the half, as Dom forced the keeper (aka utter mentalist) into an incredible reflex save.
 
In fairness, Carshalton had a couple of chances too, with Kieran making a fine one-on-one save with their striker, while Chris made a great clearance off the line to thwart another goal-bound shout. But the hosts were by no means bossing things, which is what made the opening goal all the more disappointing to concede.
 
For once, Will wasn’t quite able to clear his lines with a header, and the wind cruelly brought the ball back towards the danger area. A bit of a scramble ensued, but the goal itself was technically offside, as the man who tapped in the ball that was squared to him had only Chris in front of him, with Kieran a few yards off his line. But despite the protests, the goal stood, and it was 1-0 to Carshalton.
 
In truth, the goal rocked Merton somewhat, and they were under the cosh in the last five minutes of the half. But they just about hung on, and with the wind at their backs for the second period, they fancied their chances. The difficulty was that Sonny had already hobbled off, while Mike Vogt had picked up an injury too. That left the Yellows with the bare 11, and that soon became 10 as Frankie was forced off with a toe injury.
 
Still, Merton gamely battled on, and stayed right in the contest. The flashpoint came about 15 minutes into the half as Dom, who was causing their defence all sorts of problems, was bitten in the face by their disgraceful goalkeeper after chasing a ball down. Suarez-esque, and absolutely extraordinary. The keeper didn’t even deny it during the inquest that followed, but the referee hadn’t seen it, and thus couldn’t give it.
 
Unfortunately, the hammer blow came soon after, as the home side managed to get a bit of an overlap on the outskirts of the Merton penalty area, and somehow eked out a low shot which nestled in the bottom left corner of the net. 2-0, and it now looked a long way back.
 
Frankie had managed to get himself back on the park, but he wasn’t fully fit. Carl too, was also struggling, and with John Gridley still in the latter stages of his recovery from a calf problem, the 4s effectively only had eight players at 100%. Yet still they continued to show remarkable fight, and even managed to carve out some very decent attacks.
 
But the nail in the coffin came with about 10 minutes to go, as their striker made a good run down the right, and fired an absolute tracer bullet from a tight angle, which went in off the under side of the bar. It really was a thumping, unstoppable effort, and a deflated Merton outfit were now 3-0 down.
 
They gave it their all for the last few, determined not to let the scoreboard spiral out of control, and unjustly reflect on what was actually a good performance. Chris, who himself had been superb at centre back, took a brutal knock for his efforts, as their striker sent a high boot flush onto his nose. The subsequent blood and bruise was a fairly apt way to sum up Merton’s day. 
 
But the reward for their continued endeavour came at the death. They won a corner, which Frankie expertly drifted into the box. The excellent Will rose highest, and hammered home his header to make it 3-1. A fine finish indeed.
 
The whistle went soon after, and the warrior 4s just about hobbled off the park with their heads held high. Perhaps it can get tiresome to consistently commend losing performances. But the biggest possible compliment and vindication came later in the change rooms, as the Carshalton captain said that it was the toughest game they had had all season, and that he was astonished that we were second from bottom.
 
Says all you need to know. Now to turn that into three points against fellow bottom dwellers Lloyds Warren next week.
 
Goal: Will Harrison
MOTM: Will Harrison (special mention to Ryan Burchell for a great game too)

Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Mike Todt, Chris Outred, Ryan Burchell, Will Harrison, Michael Gubby, Michael Vogt, Sonny Kennedy, Frankie Kaligorou, Dom Plumridge

Subs: Carl Kewley, John Gridley

4s vs Actonians Assoc. – 26.11.16

Actonians 2-1 Merton

After an unfortunate result the week before, the Merton 4s looked to get back on the wagon on Saturday to regain some of the confidence that had been built up over the weeks before. With the 3s having no fixture, the 4s got a boost courtesy of some really good players such as Dan Rist, Joe Squire, Darcy Yates, Mike Gubby and also young Emmanuel Amoakoh.

A good thing too, because the opposition on the day were the table-topping Actonians, who have been in rampant form. Their main pitch provided a lovely setting, and with a solid-looking 4-4-2 formation in place, Merton were at the ready to put in a good performance.
But as has been the case quite often this season, they failed to get going in the early exchanges, and the first 10 or 15 minutes were all Actonians. Although clear-cut chance were few and far between, there was sustained pressure, and Merton were lucky to come out of it unscathed.
But the Yellows slowly began to gain a foothold in the game, and had some dangerous-looking attacks of their own. The midfield began to click into gear, and it was for this very reason that the opening goal came as a bit of a surprise. The ball was lost in the middle of the pitch, but the counter attack from the home side was brutally quick. Kieran came out towards him, but he was rounded, and the finish – from a very tight angle – was pinpoint. 1-0 Actonians.
It was a hammer blow, but Merton showed their mettle, and really dug in. In fact, they did more than that: they played some decent football, used the width of the pitch particularly well, and really looked a goal threat. And it was to pay dividends soon after, albeit in fortuitous circumstances.
Frankie eased his way into the box and got ‘clattered’ from behind. By his own admission, it was soft to say the least, but the ref blew his whistle, and, after some angry words from an incandescent home side, he pointed to the spot. Dom stepped up, with 14 sets of eyes praying he would slot it home. He didn’t! The keeper pulled off a good save to his right. But, ever aware, Dom was there for the rebound and poked it home to make it 1-1.
Merton were determined to make it count, and the heads went straight back on. And once again, they arguably looked the more likely of the two sides. Defensively they were solid, and each time the ball went down the flanks, Actonians looked unsure.
But once again, Merton fell foul to the pace of the oppo’s devastatingly quick strikers. This time Joe wasn’t quite able to get to a long ball, and their striker got in behind. A superb through ball put their striker one on one with Kieran, and the finish was clinical. 2-1 Actonians, and it was cruel on Merton just before the break.
But if the first half was a decent showing, the second half was arguably the 4s best period of play in the season to date. Certainly given the strength of the oppo anyway. From the get-go, they were getting stuck in, and with Emmanuel’s pace upfront and Dom as a constant threat, Actonians looked rattled. Numerous free kicks were won in their half, with Dom going very close, while Mike scrambled to get to a delivery that just didn’t quite fall for him.
The subs did a great job too, with Joe and Mike Gubby having a positive impact, while Ryan was as solid as ever, albeit in a left-back role as the manager took a breather. Merton were pinging passes around, and putting on a display that was even quietly described as ‘tika-taka’ by some. It really was good to see.
In a half that Merton dominated, Actonians had the best chance courtesy of a highly dubious penalty – Frankie was judged to have handled the ball, despite there being barely any appeals from the oppo. But their striker who stepped up to take the spot kick never looked confident, and Kieran did brilliantly to palm his strike clear. 2-1, it stayed. Could Merton snaffle an equaliser?
Unfortunately not. They threw men forward, and had a number of half chances. But the ball just never quite fell for them when they needed it to, and eventually the ref called time on what had been a tremendous game.
Narrow defeats have sadly become a bit of a feature of this league campaign. But none were as courageous as this one, and the lads walked off the park with their heads held high. If this sort of performance can be replicated against other teams, the points will fly in thick and fast.
Goal: Dom Plumridge
MOTM: Dan Rist
DOTD: N/A
Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Mike Todt, Joe Plumridge, Dan Rist, Will Harrison, Darcy Yates, Chris Outred, Emmanuel Amoakoh, Frankie Kaligorou, Dom Plumridge

Subs: Joe Squire, Michael Gubby, Ryan Burchell

4s vs Old Salesians – 19.11.16

Merton 4s vs. Old Salesians 2s
ISEH Senior Novets Cup, Second Round
Saturday 19th November 2016
by Edward Plaistow

After our convincing win in the first round away to Winchmore Hill, this fixture was meant to send us on our travels again only for the opposition request a switch in venue due to unavailability of a pitch.

With a few regulars unavailable through injury (John Gridley), work (Ryan Burchell), getting called up (Mike Todt) and choosing a cricket social over football! (Will Harrison) we welcome a few new faces into the fold. Sonny brought along a couple of mates in Michael Vogt and Aaron Loftus who both made their Merton debuts and will now hopefully join the club, Steve Burchell game us some experience at the back and Akram Choudhury was also part of the squad for what would turn out to be his Merton debut too.

Not for the first time this season, Kieran seemed to vanish off the face of the earth as nobody could get hold of his. Had it not been for Malcolm Kandulu who drove to Banstead and knocked on his door to revive him from his alcohol induced coma, we would have been without our regular keeper. As he didn’t arrive in time for KO we had to settle for Chris Outred deputising between the sticks.

In all honestly we struggled to get a foothold in the game as the visitors seemed to be pinging the ball around with ease. With our midfield a little to open for my liking, and a few others for that matter, it wasn’t long before Old Salesians took the lead. Not long after conceding the first did we find ourselves two behind…..then three in the blink of an eye. Following the third going in, Kieran replaced Chris in goal so he could take his place in his usual left wing position with Carl making way.

We seemed to compose ourselves a little before going into the break but were unable to find a consolation. We did however manage to pick up a yellow card. Joe Plumridge the culprit.

The team talk was a sombre one. It was clear we was missing the presence of our captain at the back and Will in the middle of the pack.

The second half started the same as the first in the sense that we conceded an early goal. Joe got dismissed harshly for a second yellow which was not deserved. We did manage to fit the back of the net via a penalty. Aaron played a long cross field ball to Michael on the left who took it down with ease, while taking the ball into the box the right back went to ground attempting to connect with the ball however failed in the process taking Michael down. Dom stepped up and converted into the bottom left.

From the restart the visitors went on the attached again and scored their sixth. Little too late but we the last twenty minutes were actually carved out chances, good ones at that, but Sonny and Dom couldn’t find the back of the next.

Next week we travel to Acton for a tough test against Actonians Association. With seven defeats in eight league games it is a must win. With regulars back we will be going into the game with a positive mentality.

Let’s put this one behind us and concentrate on our league campaign. Come on the 4s!!!!   

FINAL SCORE:
Merton 4s 1 – 6 Old Salesians
SCORERS: Dom Plumridge (pen)
MOTM:
Nobody

STARTING LINE-UP: Chris Outred (GK), Chris Dodd, Joe Plumridge, Steve Burchell, Edward Plaistow, Aaron Loftus, Danny Gridley, Carl Kewley, Michael Vogt, Sonny Kennedy, Dom Plumridge

SUBS: Kieran Lee (GK), Akram Choudhury