1s vs Civil Service – 03.02.18
Back to back away days for the boys in Yellow.
It was a rare away trip south of the river to Chiswick this Saturday as Merton took on Civil Service. Civi earlier in the season had effectively bullied the boars winning 3-1 and since had continued that winning form to be top of SAL Div 2.
Injuries meant the away side would bring no recognised centre forward and overall a tea, more known for its defensive capabilities than banging home the goals.
More worry before kick off as Harrison our trusty CB, was running late and now lost somewhere near the river. Carrying a BIG sore head following a successful trip to Infernos the evening before.
But let’s turn our attention to the game itself.
They say football is a game of two halves, but in the first 45 it seemed everything would be played down Merton’s left as Jordan and Glenn both tried to cope with heavy pressure from the home side.
We never really created much ourselves with more panic than precision when passing the ball forward. Yet despite one excellent save down to his left from Sherbs (in for the absent Siri), Service didn’t create any clear chances; just better territory and few glimpses of talent from their central midfielder.
Walking in from what had essentially become a bog, Merton could be very pleased with the result at half time. The boys had shown could fight and effort all over the pitch but would certainly hope to create more going forward.
The second half would be fiercely contested as either side knew one goal would probably be enough to nick it.
And it was the travelling team who nearly made the break through when James Gray played a ball down the channel to lone striker Sam Harvey, who it’s worth mentioning but in a great shift up front with very little service, beating the keeper to the ball only to find the side netting with his left foot from a tight angle.
Both sides were playing three in the middle of the park and it has to be said the Merton boys put in an incredible shift to numb the threat through the middle. As always Craig Usher ran his socks off to nullify their captain and Sam Pritchard did more defending than he’s probably done since he was a kid. I even saw win a header for the first time this season, incredible feat at only 6 feet 4.
Glenn consistently tried to add more of a threat going forward after having to put in a true defensive shift in the first half. And the back four were solid in front of Sherbs, as captain for the day ‘Rat’ (MOTM) communicated excellently and remained the most composed player with the ball at his feet.
So, with the game heading for a bore draw and running down to the final few minutes, Merton admittedly were under the cosh and had to make a number of substitutions due to injuries. Things weren’t helped when James suffered a rush of blood, taking a quick throwing on the edge of his own box mounting more needless pressure (DOTD please).
But all in all, a well fought draw away from home, before returning to the hood to take on Old Finchleians this Saturday.