Category: Adult News

Merton FC World Cup Tournament – 13.05.17


After a build-up which included a live draw, vast over-catering for a barbecue, an almighty palaver setting up goals, and a frantic search around London for an air horn, the inaugural Merton 6-a-side World Cup finally dawned under some rather dull skies.

A mixture of excitement, curiosity and tardiness was in the air, as the players just about assembled on time for the mandatory briefing. There were precious few no shows on the day in fact, although the few that did all seemed to be from the unfortunate Team Italy, which led to a last-minute transfer for Mick Elgar to assist the Azzurri. Martin Quinlan too was a late substitute, filling in for Team Spain, who were rather lacking in (fit) goalkeepers.

Nevertheless, following an inspiring rules briefing from Clappers, and the sound of said elusive air horn (or Klaxon – a word I’d never heard of – as it became known for the rest of the day) sounded, and play began.

Team Brazil were the early movers and shakers in Group 1, with Chaz Martin pummelling four goals past an unfortunate England in a 6-2 win. On the other pitch in Group 2, Spain snuck home 4-3 against Cameroon, despite a Clappers thunderbolt.

The games came thick and fast thereafter, with the 6-strong squad of Team Italy beating France 4-2, and Germany and Argentina playing out a tense 1-1 draw next door. The next round saw the Germans topple the Spaniards 2-0, Cameroon pick up their first win over Argentina (4-1), Italy thrash England (5-1) and France pull off a 2-1 victory against Brazil, thanks to a last-minute, stonewall/controversial penalty.

Cameroon then booked their place in the semis, as they pipped Germany by the odd goal in their final group game. It wasn’t without controversy though, with Anam cruelly being denied a would-be equaliser at the death. Dwayne was the unfortunate whistleblower, and copped his share of stick afterwards for the misjudgement.

Back in Group 1, Brazil simultaneously pulled off what seemed like a vital victory in a 5-4 thriller with Italy. Chaz banked another four-fer, including an audacious, breathtaking overhead bicycle kick. Chappell in goal also made an extraordinary save at the death. But their heroics proved to be in vain, as Team France, needing to win by five clear goals, marched into the playoffs with a resounding 8-2 win over England in the final group game.

The drama was far from over in Group 2 though, as Argentina looked well on course for the semi finals as they led 3-0 over Spain. But the (very belated) introduction of U/15 star Jamie Esteban turned the game on its head, as he smashed a hat trick to seal a remarkable 4-3 win for the men in red.

And so to the semi finals then, with Italy taking on Spain, and Cameroon squaring off against France. The latter was a somewhat comfortable affair for the Africans, as they romped home 4-1 – Ed Plaistow scoring a brace at long odds.

The other semi was a tenser affair, but Spain proved too good in the end, eventually trouncing a spirited Italian outfit 5-3.

And then there were two – Spain and Cameroon. The crowd watched on as a tense game of few chances appeared to be heading for a stalemate. Darren Fitz ignited things though, with a well-taken goal to put Spain on the cusp of glory.

But they missed clear chances to put the game beyond doubt, while Kieran made some barnstorming saves. It prompted Rat on the sideline to declare that the stage was set for Clappers to turn things around. Not one minute later, the 52-year old stepped up and thumped the equaliser into the corner from the halfway line. Cue wild celebrations, and concern for Neal Davison, who was now contemplating having to pay Chappell out for his bet on Cameroon.

It felt written in the stars by now though, and 0.5 seconds before the final whistle – er, Klaxon – sounded, Dom Plumridge stroked home the winner to crown Cameroon the world champions in dramatic fashion.

Full credit to their experienced combination for pulling off the win, and hats off to Spain for their brave effort too. Many thanks to all those who helped organise a very enjoyable day, with bigger thanks to Darren Avey and assistant Joe Squire for producing an endless conveyor belt of treats from the BBQ. Look forward to doing it all again next year, and knocking Cameroon off their perch!

Winners: Cameroon
Runner Up: Spain
Golden Boot: Chaz with 9, Jamie second with 7
Top-scoring team: Italy (16)
Golden Gloves: Lenners, who conceded just 2 goals
Player of the Tournament: Kieran

Merton player stats 2016- 2017 season

The end of season player/team stats are in,

Player Appearance Table 2016 – 2017
Club Top Goal Scorers 2016 – 2017
Golden Gloves 2016 – 2017
1s Top Goal Scorers
2s Top Goal Scorers
3s Top Goal Scorers
4s Top Goal Scorers
5s Top Goal Scorers
6s Top Goal Scorers
7s Top Goal Scorers

Long Good Friday – 14.04.17

Match(es) report: Long Good Friday

Good Friday isn’t renowned for generating a hive of activity, but sitting idle is not befitting of the Merton Way. As such, our annual Long Good Friday event rolled back into town, and with a full complement of football, mirth, agility and hot cross buns under relatively gloomy skies.

Kicking things off for the day was the Vets game against the venerable Old Westminster Citz; members of both teams impressively managing to assemble and commence the game by the alleged 11am KO time. As ever, it made for an entertaining game; Merton donning the Yellow, and with a good mix of old and older within their ranks. Welchy took the whistle for the first half and didn’t have too many decisions to make. Merton made a shaky start, and Westminster took a fairly early lead with a good finish. But the Yellows were very much in the game, with Ede and Pete O looking particularly threatening upfront; the latter seeing a near worldie slam against the crossbar from 35 yards. Westminster doubled their lead just before the break with another well-taken goal, and although the Yellows used their subs well in the second half and gave as good as they got until the very end, the visitors were deserving of their 2-0 win in what was a brilliant game played in predictably fine spirits.

Simultaneously on the pitch next door, the U13s played out a humdinger of a game against Raynes Park Vale, sadly squandering an early lead to eventually go down 3-2. Although once again, a lovely game of football on display, played in the right spirit by some very impressive young men. A testament once again to the great work Steve has done this year.

The 1pm games saw the U9s in action, who also played out a hugely entertaining contest with Carshalton Athletic, eventually going down 6-2. Both they and the U13s games underscored just how bright the future of the club is.

On the other pitch, a composite Merton ‘XI’ (more like 25) faced off against the Wimbledon Commoners for the first time; oppo arranged by our resident BBQ extraordinaire Darren Avey. It was great to see all Merton teams represented across the starting lineup, although that didn’t necessarily make for world-class cohesion and understanding. After being much the better side for the first 15 minutes, it was the Commoners who deservedly took the lead.

But after frantic substitutions abated from the Merton manager, the team began to settle into a decent rhythm and play some football. Darren was a rock in defence, Vanny was pulling the strings in midfield, and DQ was an ever-present threat (and astonishingly pacy) upfront. Kearnsy was also a menace down the left, although he did miss a clear-cut opportunity when one on one with the keeper by a rather astonishing distance.

It stayed 1-0 until the break, and the half time chat was more a case of herding cattle than tactical analysis or inspirational speeches. Nevertheless, having rung the changes, Merton once again seized the ascendancy and carved out numerous chances. Woody held the ball up with aplomb and delivered many a threatening ball which just couldn’t quite see the requisite finish applied. Other chances flew over the crossbar too until, eventually, the best opportunity of all came about as Merton were on the receiving end of a clear-cut foul in the box.

The pen was duly awarded, and up stepped, wait, who? Was that Luke Newman barging his way to the penalty spot? Indeed it was, and after the cameramen positioned themselves for the moment critique, he decisively slotted past the keeper to make it 1-1. Cue the celebrations.

Smelling blood, Merton threw bodies forward in a bid for victory. But, with minutes remaining, the sucker punch came at the other end. A goalmouth scramble saw Anam initially do well to block the shot on the line. However, his next touch was an unfortunate one, which nurdled the ball over the line. 2-1 to the Commoners, and that was how it stayed until the death knell of the final whistle. Once again though, a very enjoyable game – if lacking a bit of quality – against oppo who competed very much within the spirit of things, and who are welcome back any time.

It also quickly became abundantly clear how immaterial the results were afterwards, with the Hood atmosphere at its very best. Leading the way were Old Westminster Citz and some epic games of spoof. Fighting the Merton corner in the pub were none other than the legendary Murphys, who used all their experience to come away scot-free in many a game of Numbers, while ensuring everyone else ‘enjoyed’ more than their fair share of penalty port shots in the process.

The highlight had to be Fergus retaining his ‘title’ in some absurd game involving a spoon in mouth, and smashing Kieran on the head with it (see video). A brilliant solo effort on his part, with no help from outsiders whatsoever.

All in all, a fantastic occasion enjoyed by all, and huge thanks go to the various oppo for being a part of it, Steve and helpers at the bar, Jasper for producing some truly sublime food, Max for sorting the kits and everyone else for doing their bit. See you all at the Merton World Cup in a few weeks for more of the same – and better.