Old Blues 3rd v Merton 7s
‘Friday 13th’, is never a good start to a weekend, and with player’s availability changing on a day to day basis during the week, it was tough task knowing who to select, let alone be turning up. After last week’s demolition of OW8s, tails are up and eager to get back on the pitch.
Today we are in Ham for our second league game of the season against an unpredictable Old Blues 3rd team which has had mixed results of late. Warming up pitch side and watching the oppo run through there drills, the 7s seem confident of improving on the 3 points on the board
Kieran, in goal, Josh, Martin, Dan & Steve making up the back four, Midfield welcome back Jacob on the right, with Luke M stepping into the middle with David, Andrew on the left, leaving Billy & Ryan up top.
From the start, 7s looked off the pace, the centre midfield pairing seemed to be having trouble closing down the opposite numbers and not to long into the game, Kieran is in action to swat away a fierce shot. Not learning from this mistake, OB3s are running the show from the middle and it seems like OB3s have extra players on the pitch, 2 more close calls see the defence and goalie working hard to keep the oppo at bay.
It wasn’t long before another miss placed pass is intercepted by the very quick and pacey OB3s midfield, who seemed to turn on the gas to get past the defence to unleash a neat shot that beats Kieran on the left. 1-0
Kick off and more of the same, the 7s are suffering from a complacency hangover after having such an easy ride the week before, once again the OB3s midfield boss the game and pass through balls to their forwards at will and again Kieran is unlucky to get beat after getting hands on a tough shot only to see the ball fall to the advancing striker, 2-0
Some last ditch tackles from Steve & Dan saves the 7s from going further behind and with not even 15 minutes played. Even worse, top scorer Billy seemed to have pulled up with a hamstring and hobbles off for some treatment. It just get worse!!
Vocally, only the captain can be heard trying to rally the players to up the game, Steve, Dan join in knowing that we can do better, slowly the 7s get a foot hold in the game and start to put some passes together and finally get rewarded with a few shots, and although not on target, it would seem they OB3s keeper is struggling!
Late in the first half and after an appeal for off side is waved away, the 7s finally test the keeper, it could be deemed an own goal as the shot is parred into the net. 2-1 down at the break and some tough words to be had
Finally Daban decides to turn up, and a quick shuffle sees him replace Luke in the centre and Billy recovers from the mild pull and is ready to come back on. Game starts more the same, David & Daban are making a better fist of it this time, but still doesn’t stop the OB3s from going 3-1, Steve passing to David who loses out and can only watch as the player rounds the defence and finds the net. 3-1
Straight from Kick off sees Billy released with a long ball over the top, which finds him level with the centre backs who can only watch as he beats them to the ball (even after having 10 yards or so!) and with a single touch, lobs the advancing keeper form 20 yards, 3-2
A further changed sees Luke take over from Andrew on the left, who had run his heart out chasseing there right winger, as well as getting up to support the forwards. Still, silly mistakes are getting made and now what seems a single OB3s player is tormenting the 7s defence, sees him once again skip through and curls a lovely shot beyond Kieran who can only watch as its bends in. 4-2.
From the kick off, the tackles are now flying in for both teams, the ref, who to be fair, ‘wasn’t’ having the best day (and I have chosen not to make a point about this) had to pull the captions together before it got out of hand (or turned into a poor version of WWE!).
With Dabans energy in the middle and closing down the OB3s danger player, he robs the ball with a stern challenge, turns and takes off and leaves 2 more players in his wake, Billy sensing a foot race with the OB3s defence is struggling to stay on side and screams for the through ball which Daban obliges, at first, it seemed to be over hit, but with Billy’s pace, his a clear 15 yards ahead of any player and 1v1 with the keeper, which he makes no mistake for 4-3.
However, once again, a bit of bad luck sees OB3s danger man get his 3rd as he manages to ride 3 challenges, 2 with a bit of luck sees the ball bounce off and land back in his path to unleash another shot which Kieran almost got a hand too, to make it 5-3
Back to the drawing board, Josh & Jacob begin to have more joy on the right, a long ball from the back once again sees the OB3s defence panic, Billy now playing of their shoulders and looking to pick up on any mistakes, is once again rewarded and calmly rounds the keeper to roll in his first hatrick for Merton.
The game is now toing and throwing between the 2 sides, a couple of shots from the 7s of target and a side netting from Billy straight from the corner frustrates the team, stronger tackles against the OB3s players sees them protest, this just spurs the 7s on.
Still with 15 minutes to play, and tired of this OB3s player skipping around, his brought down with a heavy challenge around 20 yards out, Kieran lines the wall up, but is beat by a low shot to his left post for 6-4. Can’t catch a f****** break !!!!!!!
Again, kick off, can’t believe the 7s are still 2 down, the last 20 minutes has been all 7s, running, tackling, shooting. Another corner, Billy sprints from one side of the pitch to the other to take it, David, having his fair share of attention form the OB3s centre mid and centre back, take up man marking defence duties as he strolls in. You just knew that Billy was lining up for a shot after hitting the side netting at his previous attempt, and this time making no mistake, curls the corner directly into the near post for his 4th, and a score of 6-5.
Less than 10 minutes and a few more dubious decisions by the ref. Notably Daban fouled some 25 yards from the 7s goal, protest for a free kick are waved away, the ball is won back and cleared up field, once again Billy is free after clearly sprinting between the two centre backs but still 30 yards out, controls the ball…. And the whistle goes… the game has been pulled back for the foul on Daban !!!!!
Last minutes, the 7s having all the play, just can’t seem to find a way through the 10 man wall. OB3s openly shut up shop and pull rank, Billy is now marked by 2 players, one which is a little keen and keeps pulling him back, which the ref turns a blind eye to (or doesn’t see it!) that almost sees an exchange of blows as the older defender goads the young forward to strike him, not rising to it, he chooses to use a few colourful words instead
Full time and a hum-dinger of a game which is a hard loss to take. The slow start cost the 7s and the inability to change formation in the second half could have prevented a goal or two. It’s all a learning curve which was discussed in length after the game (which is a positive). The 7s still missing key players know they dropped the points as opposed to losing them, which is something different from last year
With a week off due to the Vets Game, which sees a call up for the 7s management team of Martin, Steve & David, the 7s next outing is away to Old Sales 3rd on the 28th … which was a horrific 7-1 loss in the SALC. Let’s hope we can avenge the score and get back to winning ways
MOTM: Scoring 4 and still on the losing side, very unlucky to really only have 1 half against a defence that could not contain the young lad. Mention also to Daban who could have been the difference between a point or so, as to how much difference he made on the pitch when he arrived. And Josh… Mr Reliable.
DOTD: DABAN…. Turning up at half time…. What could have been if he turned up on time!
Team: Kieran, Josh, Dan, Martin, Steve, Jacob, Luke, David, Andrew, Billy, Ryan