Category: Match Reports 5s

5s vs Norseman 6s – 11.11.17

Mighty 5s 4 – 1 Old Norsemen 6s

It is fair to say that this season hasn’t quite gone to plan so far. At this point last season we were winning games, not conceding many and top of the league. We have been quite far off the standards we set ourselves the first half of last year and therefore it was important to put in a performance and get back to winning ways in this cup game – and boy did we.

This Norseman team had won 7 out of 7 games this season so we knew it would be a tough game. We started on the front foot and looked the more likely. For the first 20 minutes or so we were not very incisive in the final third; however we took the first real chance we created. The ball was played to Josh on the left who powered past the opposition right back to get to the by-line. He looked up and picked out Aaron who had made a good run towards the front post. The cross was firm and all Aaron had to do was direct the ball into the far corner to take a deserved lead. They then came at us a bit, and Sam was forced into a decent stop from their striker at the near post from a tight angle. A long ball into our box evaded Sam; however Darren was there on the line to clear away. Their good spell lasted about 10 minutes, however the defence then reasserted its dominance in order to see us through to half time 1 – 0 up.

In a desperate attempt to find some constructive criticism, Darren asked Lenners for his input, to which the response was “I have no complaints”. We were all stunned – and we remain stunned to this day.

We knew that one goal might not be enough as they had some tricky players going forward, so we would need another one. We started the second half strongly and kept them largely at bay. We manufactured a couple of half chances; however our second goal was a little fortuitous. Delman picked the ball up from 20 yards out and hit a powerful cross-shot [I believe that’s what they call it when you don’t have a clue which it was meant to be]. It went quite central, however the goalkeeper somehow managed to push it down, under his legs and bounce up into the roof of the net for a 2 goal cushion. Delman looked as surprised as anyone but it all counts – and congrats on Del for his first goal for Merton!

The opposition then reintroduced themselves to the game as they had been quiet since the second half began. They manufactured a couple of half-chances, especially from distance, however Sam would have covered them with relative ease. They were playing it out wide and getting crosses in early, and one of these did actually pay off. A cross from deep came into the box at foot height, but Darren had already committed to the header. As he swooped down his arm came out, and you can guess the rest. Although not in an unnatural position, he certainly had enough time to see it so it was probably a fair call. There was plenty of power in the penalty which left Sam rooted to the spot, making it 2-1 and now a very interesting game.

It did not take the 5s long after that blow to reassert dominance on the game. Visibly frustrated, their midfielder would not stop protesting at a decision and annoyed the referee enough to “sin-bin” him. At first glance it looked like it was a bit harsh, but in retrospect it is up to the referee’s discretion and perhaps a sign that refs will not be taking any abuse this season. The 10 mins elapsed with the mighty 5s having a lot of the ball, but not quite getting the final ball right in search of the third killer goal. Again visibly frustrated with the referee, another player got himself sin-binned for protesting a decision and this time we made them pay.

Chris on the left spotted Aaron B in the centre and played it to his feet. He turned, burst away from the defender and shot. He scuffed it which took the power out of the shot, however the accuracy was superb and the ball nestled in the far corner to put the mighty 5s 3-1 ahead.

This deflated them and from the kick off we won the ball back almost immediately. We broke with real pace and Dwayne, in an unfamiliar central role, slotted the ball through to Aaron B who had made a good run. Aaron’s touch took him away from the defenders and one on one with the keeper. He cooly slotted it past the despairing leg of the keeper to make it 4-1 and cap a fine performance up front with a hat trick.

We managed to see the game out for what was a terrific victory. The performance was really good; I’d suggest our best yet this season, but doing it against good opposition felt very rewarding. You can tell they were used to winning their games down to their frustration as we successfully stifled them. It was a cup game but if we can replicate this performance in our league, we will certainly start picking up a lot more points.

Despite a moment where he got confused in the box and thought he was playing volleyball, Darren had a good game and he and Phil kept their striker at bay throughout the game. Chris got a good assist and Delman’s started his journey on becoming a goal machine. Me and Tigsy held the space well providing the balance to our midfield which saw Josh, Dwayne and Ackers cause their defense havoc, with Dwayne and Josh both showing class in the final third to get good assists. Endy offered something different when he came on and held the ball extremely well on the right, giving us a respite when they were trying to get back into the game. MOM goes to Aaron Byrne; he keeps telling us he can play up top and given his chance, he certainly took it with three very well taken goals taking his tally up to a very respectable 6. Good performance all round and this is the level we need to perform at for the rest of the season.



5s vs Merton 6s – 04.11.17

Merton 5s 3 – 3 Merton 6s

This game was as bizarre, eventful and action-packed as a low-budget Arnold Schwarzenegger film so I apologise for playing fast and loose with some of the detail!

The fixture man certainly enjoyed the first game because we’re not even half way through the season and found ourselves playing our sixth team once again. These are horrible games to play as a higher team, and being 6 points behind the sixes at the start of the day this was not one we could afford to lose.

The beginning of the game was quite finely balanced, with the 5s having the best of the early chances. Most notable was Dulanjie being played through 1 on 1 with the keeper, however uncharacteristically not able to slot it away. We pressurised them, winning free kicks and corners and this ultimately bore fruit for the first goal. A good run onto a direct corner by Phil Truman saw him unmarked right in front of goal. He seemed to almost “dab” it, heading the ball onto the top of his shoulder and into the net. A good start for the 5s never usually bodes well.

This balanced the game even more, and the 6s got right into it through good runs from their pacey forwards. They found themselves in some fairly promising positions, however were unable to capitalise. The game was see-sawing and on our attack midway through the half, Dulanjie was played through again. He did not get there and the keeper cleared, however it landed at the feet of our remarkably elegant, handsome dream of a left back. He took a touch, the ball sat up nicely and he wellied it from 40 yards lobbing the keeper and putting the 5s 2-0 ahead.

Two things the 6s do well is press quickly from the front and break with pace. They employed both on this occasion to pull one back. Delman was either waiting for movement [he might still be on the pitch waiting] or daydreaming about impending cuddles with Dwayne, but either way, the ball was pinched and played into their central midfielder. Allowed the run, he took it 10 yards forward and played a nice chip over Sam and in for 2-1.

Just before half time we just about notched a third goal to restore our 2 goal cushion. The ball was crossed in and landed at the feet of Josh, who slotted it home for 3-1.

There were 4 goals in the half however it didn’t feel like a half that should have been high scoring. The millions of fans watching at home must have wondered, “How could this game get any more interesting”? The second half certainly answered that question.

The 5s team talk concluded along the lines of not sitting back and trying to score more, as we’d likely concede if we played a bit more defensively. Having beautifully ignored that advice, we immediately started the half on the back foot and it looked as if it could be a long half. They prodded and probed, creating some decent chances and really stretching our back line.  It was not much of a surprise when, after spurring a couple of chances, they pulled one back, however the manner in which they did was surprising indeed.

The ball came in for a corner and a group of players competed for it. Everyone missed it and the ball bounced in the box and hit Josh’s hand from two yards away from the group. He didn’t have much time to react and it was rather unfortunate, however whenever the ball hits a hand in the box there is always the risk. The real issue of contention was yet to come. The 6s took the penalty and hit the post, and with players rushing to block/clear any rebound the whistle went. All players didn’t know what was going on, and the referee ordered a retake to our bemusement! Yes, we did have a player or two in the box however they certainly did too and therefore it never should have been retaken. A different player stepped up for the retake and hit it hard and low. Sam did well to get a hand on it however the pace was just a little too much, and the 6s closed the deficit to just the single goal.

We reacted well and, for the first time in the half, started putting some pressure on with the final ball just lacking. The one time it did find its mark, we were very unfortunate to be denied. The cross from a free kick found Phil Truman in acres of space, who headed home. To our surprise the whistle went as the linesman flagged offside – a decision that can only be described as “dubious”. The score remained at 3-2.

Our good spell only lasted 10 minutes before the 6s got on top as they chased the game. It was there turn for some misfortune as Phil tripped chasing the ball. Their player ran onto it and was one on one with the keeper; however the whistle went for a free kick to us. There didn’t look to be much in it so we were fortunate.

For all their good play in the half, their third and final goal was scrappy and wholly avoidable. The free kick came in and got muddled up between our defenders. We failed to clear the ball and it landed straight at the feet of their player, who easily slotted home from 6 yards.

There was not long left of the game; however they had some very good chances and could have won it. There was one shot very well saved by Sam, who tipped it onto the post, one clearance off the line and a couple of good chances spurned. The game ended 3-3 in what was a highly entertaining match for the neutral.

Man of the match was shared out between a good half of the team, which was great. Despite three goals conceded each player in the back 4 received a man of the match nomination. Tiggsy and Stormzy were busy in the middle of the park, Dwayne Aaron and Josh were a constant threat and Dulanjie up top was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet right at the start of the game. If there’s one criticism from this performance it is that we need to keep the ball better and be a bit more incisive in the final third, however we can take a lot of heart from the way we battled, especially in the first half.

Now that we do not have to play the 6s again this season, we wish them all the best for the rest of the season and we certainly hope and expect to be up there with you at the end of the season. A 1st and 2nd finish on the cards perhaps?

5s vs Old Wilsonians 5s – 28.10.17

Old Wilsonians Fifth 3 – 3 Mighty 5s

Bromley is fast becoming last season’s Chiswick – a home from home, a place where we spend more time than the Hood. Shame because it’s so bloody difficult to get to – self-driving flying cars could not come sooner. And yet again, we were denied the good pitches by the “top teams” – do they not know who we are!?

We arrived typically far too early for the game, and typically didn’t do a lot with the time we had. We started the game as if we had all only just got out of bed, and Wilsonians created the best chances in the early exchanges. We gave them too much space in key areas of the pitch, and this was demonstrated by their centre forward given acres of room 20 yards from goal. He curled a decent shot that Keiran in goal did very well to get to and slap it away like he does to any sense of soberness or dignity on a night out. Then from a cross from the left, their striker pulled off and connected from 12 yards out. Despite a large bounce and running in the opposite direction, Keiran stuck out a leg to flick the ball out of danger. They hit the post twice, the latter time Delman manoeuvred his feet majestically to clear the ball away despite rushing at it at 1,000,000 miles per hour. Not a great start.

It took those two occasions for us to get going, however a good move down the right saw Josh pick the ball up, glide past two of their players and hit a fierce shot that went just past the post. Unfortunate. We were stringing a fair few passes together however only manufactured half chances, and our finishing was summed up by a free kick that was chipped straight into the keeper’s arms towards half time. 0 – 0, but we had finished strongly going into the break.

The team talk was positive, and we even commended each other for talking on the pitch which I think is a first for the Mighty 5s! It was mentioned that it would be helpful if what was said was useful, but one baby step at a time.

The early exchanges were quite tentative in the first half; however they took the lead from a long throw. In honesty we were all quite bunched in the middle, leaving a couple of their players at the back post. It became a scramble in the middle of the box, with the ball falling to their player on our right. From 6 yards out he couldn’t missed, and placed it past Keiran to make it 1 – 0.

It didn’t take us long to draw level either. The ball was picked up on the left by Dwayne who took one touch and delivered an inch-perfect cross towards Dulanjie. He met it force and the keeper made a good save. The rebound went back to him, and he slotted it home to draw us level.

And very shortly after that, it was our turn to benefit from a throw in. We took it fast and their defence was unprepared. The ball made its way to the other end of the box, and Aaron Byrne found himself in acres of space. He took a touch, seemed to take as much time possible to line up the shot, and then cheekily chipped the ball into the far corner. How cheeky? Just think Pirlo v England – very cheeky! Good thing it worked out.

The game really opened up from there, and both teams were having chances. In truth we were playing the better, more attractive football, however their more direct style was causing us problems. This bore fruit for them when they took a speculative shot from outside the area. Keiran got down to palm it away, however their onrushing winger made it first to tuck home the rebound.

Again almost immediately, we hit back with a rather scrappy goal. The corner went into the box, and a few players challenged for the header. It seemed to get stuck in between the players, however emerged at the feet of Phil from 3 yards out. You could see the look of “where am I” sprawled across his face and he attempted the clearance. Luckily, he was so close to the goal that it nestled in the top corner, putting the mighty 5s 3-2 up.

Boy did we have the chances to win it, with the most notable falling to Dulanjie. It wasn’t to be, and we were holding on well under intense pressure. Within the dying embers of the game, they won a throw in deep into our own half. As the ball went in, Darren jumped with their big centre forward. He won the header, yet the ball went backwards, lobbing Keiran to agonisingly give them the equaliser.

The post-game analysis is always entertaining; it made as much sense as Alan Shearer would if he was presenting Match Of The Day whilst on the lash in Newcastle. One thing is painfully clear however, and that is that we have to defend set pieces better if we are to win games. But this was a good performance in a strange league, and something to build on for next time.

Keiran made a couple of top saves in the first half that proved vital. Our defence, despite conceding three goals, received a good amount of nominations for Man Of The Match with Phil, Darren and Delman really limiting their chances from open play – with Tiggsy and Stormzy certainly contributing towards that end. That allowed our attacking players to go forward, and Dwayne, Aaron, Josh and Dulanjie should probably have had more votes for Man Of The Match in hindsight for what was a very good forward display – 3 goals should really win a game after all. There were plenty of positives to take into the next game and let’s hope we can keep improving.

5s vs City of London – 21.10.17

2 weeks on from our last outing – a sobering defeat to the very determined and organised 6’s – we were focused on setting the record straight. This season has started poorly with 3 feats from 4 games, so this is a must win game to get our footing back in the league.
Shockingly most of the team were on time and looking sharp, although with white socks and flip flops Dwayne clearly still gets dressed in the dark. Soon enough Darren’s filthy baselines blared out in the clubhouse as we were getting pumped for redemption on home turf.
Another week and another new defensive line, we looked set for another leaky sieve defence, however strong possession play and far more composure on the ball lead to dangerous moves on the other end of the field, Josh and Dwayne combining well only to find the square heads of Gibbo and Dulanie only coming close with their efforts.
Dogged displays in midfield and dominant defending lead to a complete shut out for City of London, who looked short of ideas to break us down and couldn’t match us for strength or skill. Somehow through missed opportunities City made it to half time without dirtying their sheet, but Merton were knocking on the door enough to be confident a goal was imminent.
As the second half began it looked like City were going to try and take the game to Merton a little more, as they looked to transfer from defence to attack quicker, but any loose pass was easily mopped up and helped to open up the game for us, and our front three looked more and more likely to score, Aaron eventually popping up at the back post to nod home the inevitable opener, and from his celebration you could see what it meant to us.
The commotion of scoring distracted Sam in goal from his sudoku as he probably hadn’t had to make a save for about half an hour, and since the goal through a series of sloppy play we somehow managed to keep Sam far busier, almost wasting the lead at the death.
The final whistle blew and we had done enough, more room for improvement but a clean sheet for the 5’s is not something I expected today from yet another changed backline.On the day we made life hard enough for what was in truth a fairly poor opposition, and against stronger side we need to be far more clinical with our chances on goal if we are to challenge for promotion later in the season.

5s vs Actonians – 16.09.17

Merton FC 3 Actonians 4

The game started off as bad as it possibly could. Right from the kick-off they scored. It wasn’t long after that after a good string of passing and possession and clawing back into the game that they struck again. This time, it was through a contentious penalty decision that the ref gave based on ‘how guilty we looked’. If decisions were made this way we should simply smile and laugh when players go down in the box – food for thought for the next time we have this ref. Despite Sam’s best efforts, their striker put it away at the bottom left corner of the goal. It was about to get worse. Again, after clawing back and picking ourselves up they struck again. This time it was from a through ball from lost possession in the midfield. And then another right after that that is too painful to recall. We were on the ropes and half-time couldn’t have come sooner. The boys were distraught. There was so much hope and chat before the game about how well we can play and how we should come out firing but the exact opposite happened. We gave the ball away far too often and they were clinical in putting their chances away – plain and simple.
The half-time talk wasn’t bleak, it was one of uplift. We’re a better team than this, we’re better individually and there is a huge belief in each other and how well we can play if we just do the hard work, run for each other, stay calm and believe in ourselves. Games like this will happen but what happened next far outweighed what I thought was possible. Everyone was fired up and we came out swinging. Lenners moves into CB and Josh moved from LB to CM. Lenners barking precise orders at us gave us stability and direction whilst Josh gave us some much needed confidence in the middle of the park. One, two, three passes were strung together and switches of play ensured to an unmarked Dwayne ‘Forrest’ Bedford out on the right wing. Something he had been screaming for the whole game. We gained more confidence. More possession gave us more confidence as the wingers stayed wide and the midfield stayed compact. We finally managed our breakthrough goal from a great through ball from A-aron to Gibbo who finished with extreme patience and composure. Then our second arrived. It appeared scrappy, but a miracle ball from Dwayne found Gibbo in the the 6-yard box who showed his composure once again to bring the ball down and pass it to A-aron who finished and brought a huge roar from the capacity crowd (Bambi, Chris, Butters and Tiago). The third was a replica of the second. A beautiful ball from A-aron unleashed an unstoppable Gibbo. What the team felt then was pride. We came back from 4-0 down to going close to pinching a draw when the game seemed destined for a cricket score. There’s only one message this result sends to our team and it’s we’ll never give up.

MOTM: Aaron ‘my haircut will be right one day I swear’ Byrne. Every time he touched the ball and ran at the opposition it gave the team a renewed sense of confidence. His assists and goals were perfect but it was his drive and confidence that gave us the lift we needed. Special mentions: Lenners. Amazing performance as a CB nearly MOTM worthy that helped resurrect us from the brink of a drubbing to a proud performance. Delman or Duracell. He just keeps running. I think I counted twice when he sprinted back to thwart their attack singlehandedly and one (or two!) off the line clearances. Great performances by these two.


5s vs HSBC – 23.09.17

Saturday 23rd September 2017 14:00

Having had a great second half performance last week against Old Actonians confidence was high in the Merton camp.  As usual the meet time set by gaffer Clive was well in advance of the kick-off.  Some might say he doesn’t have much faith in the team’s time keeping capabilities.  Luckily this time wasn’t wasted and we managed to catch the start of the early game in the bar which Lenners asks “Is it ok to have a beer?”

Once changed we were out on the pitch with plenty of time to warm up, however most of the time was spent kicking balls into the carpark and retrieving them.  With about 20 minutes before kick-off Clive took us through the usual routine of running, jumping and skipping and some stretches.  The game plan was to keep the ball as much as possible and try to play football on probably the best and biggest pitch we will play on all season.  Dwayne “Forrest” Bedford was named captain for the day which he offered the advice of “When taking a throw in, let’s work the line as much as possible, do not throw it into the middle of the pitch, it’s massive and we will probably lose it!”

Straight from kick-off the ball breaks down out left hand side, Stormzy, playing left full back today holds the pacey winger off, looks up while facing goal, and shapes up to pass back to Sam.  Cue shouts of “NOOOOOO!!!!” but the shouts are too late and Stormzy rolls the ball back towards goal, the forward reads exactly what is going to happen and intercepts the pass, he rounds Sam and fires his shot……. off target.  What a let off!  Maybe today will be our day.

HSBC continue to press and about 10 mins into the first half, Lee lands badly after clearing the ball and is forced off.  Chris comes on in place at centre back.    A bit later on we get a throw in near the halfway line.  Stormzy, must have forgotten what Dwayne said before the start of the game, shapes to throw it up the line and then calls “Clive” and throws it into the middle of the pitch.  This is promptly intercepted and again the HSBC forwards are off target. 

Having been under pressure from the start, Tiago who has been running around like a crazed dingo with rabies is forced to take a break and is replaced by Aaron A.  During this opening half hour we looked second best.

We did create a couple of changes, Dulanie pulled off the same trick rolling the ball sideways three times and created enough space to take a shot which was off target.  HSBC’s clearance was weak and fell to Clive who was about 25-30 yards out and unfortunately hit his shot high and wide.

Clive not being able to see what’s going wrong with the game plan decides to make a change.  New boy, and Aaron B’s mate (I’m sure he’s bringing someone new each week just so he can get reduced subs) Endy Bisong into centre midfield.  Just as well we have rolling subs as in under 35 mins we have made three changes.  Endy made a positive impact, having seen Dulanie get away with the same trick three times in a row he copied and the defence fell for it as well.  Instead of shooting he rolled a pass to Stormzy who was storming up the pitch but the shot, like many of our warm up shots, ended up in the car park.

Close to 40 mins into the half HSBC make a good passing move leaving us exposed at the back and finally the forward gets a shot on target and they take the lead.

We go in at half time, feeling a bit flat, but knowing we can do better.  After last week scoring three in one half we know we can get at least one here.  We come out from the kick off with purpose and the ball breaks to Aaron A just inside our half.  He looks up and places a great ball in the left hand channel.  Josh and Dulanie are both gunning for it, Josh gets there first and it looks as if Dulanie might tackle him for it, but eases off.  Josh takes the ball forward and smashes it past the keeper into the roof of the net.  Screams of “YEAH, COME ON!!! TWO GOALS THIS SEASON!!!” from Josh.

Confidence is now high and we start making use of the flat pitch and get the ball into good areas.  It’s now our turn to put the pressure on.  The pressure leads to a set piece and the ball is played in dangerously towards Dulanie and Dwayne at the back post, a shout for “Pull it back” from Darren is heard and Dwayne knocks the ball between the 6 yard box and penalty spot.  It bounces at a perfect height for a diving header, connection is made, it’s powerful, it’s goal ward bound, beats the keeper and is cleared off the line by a defender.

We keep up the good football and make a few changes to keep everyone fresh.  The ball is sent down into the channels again, similar to the first goal, Dulanie runs onto it and smashes it past the keeper into the bottom corner, 2-1 Merton.

We keep up the good play and create a great change for Endy to score on his debut, but shot is easily swept up by the HSBC keeper.  HSBC also make a few tactical changes and we start to sit a bit deeper.  The winger broke down our right, got his pass to the forward who managed to get a shot away and luckily for us it hits the post and bounces to safety.  We managed to soak up the pressure and Aaron B makes a breakaway move, is one on one with the keeper, ready to put the nail in the coffin, and he gently rolls the ball back to him to collect.  Is that something we might live to regret?

HSBC keep on pushing and the forward breaks through the middle, rounds Sam and shoots low and hard towards the bottom left hand corner, Chris Outred makes a fantastic sliding goal line clearance to put the ball out for a thrown.  Points saved?  Hopefully, there’s still another 10 to go.

We defend close to six corners in the last ten minutes, most were low, hard, in-swinging which were difficult to defend.  Sam stayed strong in his goal, punching and screaming when the ball came near.  The mantra of “What would Lenners do?” is finally sinking in.

With two minutes to go a player who was on the bench at the time, had a disagreement with the ref.  This led to a card being shown.  We grind out the last minute of the game with long clearances.  The final whistle goes, with us picking up the first 3 points of the season.

MOTM: Josh Fitzgerald-Smith – great goal and all round performance.

DOTD: Lee Lenihan – Maybe the mantra of “What would Lenners do?” isn’t always appropriate.

Line up

5s vs Old Wilsonians – 09.09.17

So we started the season about as fast as it takes a fat person to run away from cake.
We arrived at Wilsonians’ main ground 2 hours before kick-off, with Stormzy visibly impressed by the state
of the pitches. “Are we playing on there?” asked a young, naïve rapper from the fiery depths of Croydon. No,
Stormzy, we are the 5s – we will never be playing there.
Once we managed to drag Stormzy away, we arrived at the hilly, slopey pitch. It was as if we had all climbed
a beanstalk and ended up in a field of giants.
We started quite well, fashioning some decent chances in the opening exchanges. A good run from Gibbo,
who picked the ball up wide, came inside and hit a ferocious shot from 20 yards or so which went narrowly
over the bar. Likewise, a good ball released Forrest [Dwayne] on the right wing. He ran into the box, cut
inside the defender and it momentarily opened up for him. He pulled the trigger with his left foot, and the
ball went narrowly wide of the right hand post. Throughout the first 30-40 minutes, we were pressing without
conceding many chances, in part due to the excellent sweeper-keepering of Sam in goal. We won more
corners, free kicks in promising positions and played the ball around neatly around the edge of the box
throughout the first half, however we lacked a cutting edge to create a clear-cut chance. It seemed almost
an inevitability that they would score against the run of play. They hit us on the counter, outnumbering us
on the break. As they shifted the ball out wide to their winger, it looked like we had it contained and managed
to get the numbers back. However from 25 yards, their winger clipped in a cross-shot that conveniently
floated over Sam to put the home team 1 – 0 ahead.
The goal changed the game, and just before and just after the half time whistle we went on the back foot.
They utilised their height up front, got a few flick-ons causing our defence some issues. We dealt with it
fairly well, including pressure asserted through a series of corners. Unlike our pressure though, their breakthrough
finally came in the 65th minute or so. We gave the ball away around 35-40 yards away from goal –
a rather non-precarious situation. Their winger hit a speculative effort that looped over Sam and it was
2 – 0 to Wilsonians. Very soon after, they had the opportunity to put the game beyond us. A cross was
tipped away by Sam, unfortunately to the feet of their winger. Luckily, he misjudged the bounce and
spurned their best chance of the game.
11 I Match Report
Dulanjie’s arrival paid off and in around the 75 – 80th minute he levelled. Through a crowd of bodies in the
box, Dulanjie played a composed finish past the keeper. A desperate attempt from the defender was not
enough, with the deflection hitting the underside of the bar and going in. We were 2 – 1 down with only a
short period of time to go.
We put in a lot of pressure and created quite a few half chances. More corners and free kicks went amiss,
however we had one very good chance towards the end. Stormzy played a good ball through to set Dulanjie
off on an intelligent run. He took a touch to set himself, however the goalkeeper was out fast to narrow
the angle. As Dulanjie hit a stinging shot, the keeper spread himself well and pulled off an impressive save.
The game was to end 2 – 1, and we find ourselves in need of a good result in the next game.
Although we didn’t play too badly, and although we dominated for parts of the game, we were beaten
by their physicality and by giving the ball away a lot more than we would like to. I think everyone has it in
themselves to do a bit better than we did on Saturday, and we will need that to come sooner rather than
That being said, none of us had a terrible game. Apart from the goals, which were both decent strikes, and
one clear chance they did not create much at all, with our defence relatively solid. Delman had a good
game defensively, not doing a lot wrong, and if we can unlock him more going forward then that will help
us be more of a threat as we did successfully in pre-season. Our midfield was strong and the balance with
Clive and Stormzy skilfully marshalling and breaking up play made the balance just about right. Dwayne
had a good, energetic game going forward on the right and could have had a goal & assist on the day – it
will surely come if he keeps making the intelligent runs he did on the day. Chris had a good game at left
mid and was solid when moved back to his natural left back, and Ackers always looked completely comfortable
& a calming influence when getting on the ball. Gibbo was strong up front and could have scored
a couple from long range, and Dulanjie did superbly to come on and score one with only a good save
denying him a second. Man of the match went to Sam in goal for a good performance, coming out for the
ball and collecting in very dangerous situations as well as sweeper-keepering to prevent some of their best
Take home message: we know we are capable of more, and we must improve for the next game.

5th Team 2017 – 18

5s vs Polytechnic 9s – 08.04.17

Mighty 5s 1 – 2 Poly 9s

Saturday 8th April, 2017 will long live in the memory of the Mighty 5s players who attended this game[s] – probably not quite as much for the football, but we will get to that bit later.

If I may, I would like to take a few lines to be serious for a change. There are two ways of looking at this season; one is of sheer disappointment that promotion was well within our grasp, and yet we did an Arsenal and threw it away at the last minute, clinging to 4th as I write this report. But the way I think of it is a season where we were greatly improved from last season. We looked strong, played some good football and remained competitive in pretty much all the games we played. There are some good positives to build on to mount a serious drive for the title next year – so well done to the team for the improvement shown and the only way is up from here!

So, without further ado – the match report. With our promotion chances more or less null, and Poly already having won the league, this game was a “dead rubber” – as pointless as giving D a condom for his birthday, and as dead a rubber as Tigs’s ankle after the first 30 minutes. But still, as professionals we were still going all out to win.

The game was quite balanced at the start, with them perhaps shading possession and stroking it around with the confidence of a side that had already won the league. We were, however, dealing with their threat quite well. That’s until Stevey B momentarily forgot where he was. Clearly thinking that he was in the opposition’s box, he stuck out an instinctive knee towards the ball, and the ball flew into the back of the net from 12 yards out. Terrific finish – if that was Lionel Messi people would be talking about it for years. Unfortunately, 10 minutes later he realised that it was indeed his own goal, that he was still 2 away from Ryan’s goal tally this season, and that we were one down at half time.

The second goal was equally as calamitous. A ball into the box resulted in a scramble, and with the 5s unable to clear, their midfielder strolled in and rolled the ball into an empty net. We went into the half time break 2-0 down and 2 players down – Tigs with the heart of a lion but a body made of glass going off for an unfortunate turn of the ankle, and our hot stuff on the left burning out on his first game back from injury. The signs were not looking good.

But lo and behold, we got it together after half time for a strong push. We were dominant, with their only chances coming from crosses which were expertly held by Sam – a part of his game that seems to have got even better as the season has gone on. We were stroking the ball around confidently, pressing and creating good, clear chances. Our breakthrough came when a good, searching ball found Steve Harvey on the right. He pulled it back for Ackers, who controlled his powerful strike into the bottom corner. 2-1, and the game was on.

The 5s pressed for an equaliser, and had some good chances to go level. But in the end, it just wasn’t to be. We had the chances but came up just short – the story of our season unfortunately. But we must look towards next season now and build upon an impressive turnaround from last season.

Every player for us has had a good season – I do not think we would have come as close to promotion otherwise. Everyone should be proud of themselves, and the awards night will be a great celebration of a great step forward for the 5s.

So that’s that for this season – no Naked Lee Time on this occasion. But what we did get was a night of long sausages, big beers in a smashing German establishment, a “better out then in” approach from our very own birthday boy and a calm, peaceful and pleasant night out. We have some great club events coming up including Long Good Friday this Friday, Merton’s World Cup and our awards night which I would expect will be well represented by the 5s. Until then keep it real, stay safe and I am sure we will all look forward to winning the league next season.

5s line up vs Polytechnic 9s

5s vs Kew Assoc – 25.03.17

Merton 5s’ season looks set to wind down to a disappointing close after losing the promotion clash against Kew Associations. It marks a bad second-half of the season for the 5s having won only 3 out of their 9 matches after Christmas. However, despite going from hip to boing so quickly, it should be seen as a successful season in parts for the 5s. 

That’s mostly due to the fine stewardship of manager Clive Corrigan who on the pitch, is a terrier-like ball-winning midfielder, and off the pitch, can be described as somewhat like a less corrupt version of Sepp Blatter (except for when he forces Anam to pay half the fee for playing less than 20 minutes a game). Because he’s single-handedly improved the racial quota of Merton Football Club, whilst also fostering a team spirit akin to the Crazy Gang – and they’ve played some good football in the process too. 
Having said that, he’s been ably assisted by Andy Bitmead, who also coaches some of the players on Wednesdays, and Darren Avery, a centre-back bruiser by day, and, by day as well, is also the unofficial team administrator. There’s a great sense of collective accountability and that’s summed up by Clive designating a different captain on each match. On Saturday, that responsibility fell into the hands of, or rather, was wrapped around the biceps of Tiago Carvalho (no, not that one). He wore the captain’s armband with the kind of glee and misguided pride that only an Aussie can have. He led this ragtag rabble of misfits and castoffs, a convict (Lenners), and whateverthehell Andy is doing here (because he’s clearly too good for the 5s), onto Kew Associations reserve pitch. 
It was a tad small and that probably contributed to a slow start for Merton 5s because they couldn’t get the strikers to run in behind. Clive opted once again to stick with the 3-5-2 albeit with some personnel changes. He played at centre-back alongside New Mike (borrowed from the 2s) and Steve Burchell. Delman and Chris Outred started at wing-back, whilst Ackers, Aaron B and Tiago made the midfield three. Dulaine and Rich Gibbo completed the line-up as strikers.
Unfortunately, 5s were behind quickly when a corner-kick was allowed to bounce its way across the six-yard box and was converted by a non-descript Kew player. They later made it 2-0 when a shot from another non-descript Kew seemed to be heading into the safe hands of Sam. But as he dived for the ball, he seemed to freeze for a split-second, and the ball squirmed agonisingly under his body. Whatever went through his mind – flat-chested girls, or failing to swipe left last night, or the sudden realisation that maybe the pyramids were not mysteriously crafted five-thousand years ago by generations and generations of men who died in order to perfect it, but by aliens thousands of years before as transporting devices that teleported them to other worlds – it was soft goal to concede, and a cruel blow to 5s title changing aspirations. 
Chasing the game, they were then stuck with that age-old dilemma of whether to press high up and force their opponents into making a mistake; or consolidate, though run the risk of inviting more pressure on them. In the end they did neither, with Steve and Clive being forced to make some hasty clearances at the back, but even so, the team was still unlucky to remain without a goal. Aaron B had one good effort when he curled wide with his left foot, whilst Rich Gibbo went excruciatingly close to connecting to a couple of passes from Dulaine.
In the end, the team was just a bit below par, especially in midfield where Kew looked just the more comfortable. Tiago couldn’t inspire the team in the same way that he usually does. Nevertheless, it’s been a great 6 months for him since being introduced to the team, monopolysing the Man-of-the-Match awards like Rupert Murdoch. He has reinvented himself as a sweeper in front of the defence, always alert to clean up any loose passes like an expat bar staff, with a strange aversion to the forward pass. Aaron Byrne has also been remodeled, playing now as a free-spirited midfield wanderer, having dropped the bombshell to Clive that he doesn’t want to play on the wing. It’s like Kieron Dyer and Bobby Robson all over again.
In the second-half, Merton changed the formation to a 4-4-2 which was more a 4-2-4 anyway, with Dwayne coming on on the right, Andy replacing Ackers in the centre and Aaron B moving back wide to the left. If there was an improvement, it an wasn’t obvious one because 5s were just unable to settle. Tiago went off for cramp for Anam midway through the half and that’s where the game really fell apart. After some good early touches, his next one was suicidal as he poked the ball back towards his own goal, and New Mike, chasing the non-descript Kew striker, bundled him to the ground. Penalty and 3-0 to Kew. It soon became 4-0 when the right-back was able to skip through the centre of the field unmarked due to bad defensive work from the forward players and chip the ball over he defence. 
Merton did get a consolation five minutes from time when Dulaine, as he did against Poly 8s, leaped majestically above his marker like a silverbacked salmon to head in at the far post. The goal was in stark contrast to his other contributions in the game, which was namely to crouch near the centre circle panting, which is frankly, a waste of his considerable talents. It might be perverse to say the team could expect more from him even despite relying heavily on his goals this season. 
When the final whistle blew, it might have been considered something of a mercy, but believe me, the team desperately wanted to remain on the pitch for longer to put things to right. That’s how much the regret of a promising season gone to shit stung. There is one more game left this campaign, against champions Poly 9s, the chance maybe for some sweet justice.
Man of the Match: I don’t believe there was a vote, instead the time spent deciding was felt best roasting each other in the club bar and eating sub-par macaroni and cheese. So I think I (Anam) will chose Clive for leading with example and playing with the passion of a jilted lover. Dulaine should get special mention for his goal, it was awesome, and Delman, generally for the season he had.
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5s line up vs Kew Assoc – 25.03.17



5s vs Polytechnic 8 – 18.03.17


                                                         2               –              2

D,   GIBBO                                                                       LUCKY BAR STEWARD

                                                                                          TOE PUNT PETE

It was big game day down at the Hood many of the players needed Sat-Navs and maps to actually find our home ground mistakenly thinking only water polo was played at the Hood.

Some people adhered to the two hour prior to kick off meet time and by the time the sensible ones arrived the others looked at little jaded form the warm up which may be why one half of the team did a warm up and the other half chatted about important topics like Sam’s virginity and Arsenal losing 3-1 to WBA oh happy days! Come on you SPURS!

With the same formation as last week and a starting line-up of Shagger Sam in goal, Lightning Delman and Chris “the slice” Outred as wing backs, Dodgy Dazza, Senior Steve and Lenners as a back three, (h)ansom Aaron, Trembling Tiago and Bambi centre mids and the attacking force of D every fat birds nightmare and Gibbo every sheeps nightmare.  The bench was Calamity Clive, Ian or Iain and Anam the Cadbury king we kicked off with second place a real possibility and the arguments about sectional strength and Poly nines still ongoing.

Poly 8’s were a similar line up and quite frankly should be the lower tem as Poly nines are much better!

We started brightly and with Lee screaming like a banshee marshalling the defence the early game plan was working well.

D and Gibbo looked aggressive and determined up front and the midfield solid my only wish would be that we talk more on the pitch for a team that can manage 250 Whatsapp messages in an hour about Sams sex life a topic that should take 2 minutes or Lenners plans to abduct and kill a carpark attendant again a two minute job despite the fact I have confiscated his weaponry! We are still too quiet.

It looked like the game, as the previous encounters have been, would be tighter than Clive in front of the bar (I know Sam owes a jug but picked on him too much already) .

The ref was as he told me later retiring from refereeing after this game to be fair I think he retired at the start of the game because he was about as close to play as Scotland are to independence.

Disaster struck when with a speculative long shot a lot of wind assisted luck the ball flew into the net from 25 yards shock horror we were 1-0 down.

Last year (I did not play) the fives would have crumbled like a card pyramid in the face of a strong fart but we have a new found resilience and a battling will to win and we should have been back in when a lovely passing move and a through ball to D who would have been through in goal but no offside WTF never!

Then a controversial moment in the game as the Poly forward ran the ball over the by-line and crossed the forward scored and turned away celebrating appeals from Merton seemed to fall on deaf ears Tiago shouting at the player “tell him the ball was out” did not work but the sight of a frothing seething mad eyed Lenners in his  face seemed to make the ref see sense and a goal kick was given a let off and maybe justice for the offside. Aaron was replaced by Ian Iain and Clive came on for Bambi half time came.

After a right good seeing to at half time by Clive (first time he’s managed a right good seeing to think he been on the receiving end as I mentioned WBA won).

We started the second half and were back in the game when a great move saw D’s shot going in the bottom corner Gibbo made sure and buried it from a yard apparently screaming “you’ll never be club top goalscorer”

D could have had another shortly after when from a corner his shot was goal bound and in a moment of madness Dazza forgot he had gone up for a corner and with the best defensive move of the day headed the ball clear! Memories of Clive’s headed miss from 2 inches!

We should have had a penalty, we could have given away a penalty, it was tight very very tight that’s nice if your with a lady but it ain’t no good in a football game!

Then Poly’s left back ran the length of the pitch and mesmerised everyone to the extent that when he pulled the ball back everyone admired it except the striker who buried the ball passed Sam 2-1.

We should have replied almost immediately with a goal mouth scramble but for some reason Gibbo, Delman D all seemed to do a mannequin challenge and did not move when all the ball needed was a little nudge.

We drew level when D buried a header from a corner fantastic goal 2-2.

With the game now in the dying minutes we pushed hard unfortunately the next chance fell to steve normally one to strike without thinking (and miss) he weighed up his options took a touch and pulled the trigger oh dear the ball did well to reach the keeper nice gentle back pass.

The game ended 2-2 honours even and probably a fair result. To pour petrol on the fire of the debate I still wonder how Poly 9’s can destroy teams including us and their 8’s be so much poorer?

Still we need 6 points two cup games left and hopefully runners up will be ours.

On an emotional note it was great to see the team fight back stay focused and not give up!

Man of the match was Tiago (I voted for him) and Ian Iain joint winner he had a great game.

Dick of the day. The parking attendant who stopped Lee getting his car.  That guy’s going to be in the boot of that car soon.

Oh and Tiago got naked Lee and Steve double teamed and by the little rise in his pants either shit himself or quite enjoyed it!

I apologise if you did not get a mention but I can’t insult everyone all the time!

5s line up vs Polytechic 18.03.17