After the disappointment of last week’s away defeat, we were keen to change said fortunes around. Back to the fortress Hood. Both Sam and Jonny on time, a good omen right? Even before starting the warm up, news of an Injury on the far pitch meant a 15 minute delay to the start of the game. Thus a chance for us to go through Clappers dynamic warm up. Why so many squats? Why do the lines cross? No wonder I shout at him.

Personally, from last week’s performance, the main reason we came away empty handed, aside from Woody/De Bruyne/Aguero and pals penalty antics was the lack of bite all over the pitch. We welcomed back Sam, Tilley and Nick in the midfield which was a needed boost.

The emphasis was to start quickly and make sure we competed physically. However the first 15 minutes belonged fully to EBOG. They passed the ball very quickly and were direct in their play. Their number 10 made some incisive runs, but just couldn’t finish. Siri with a couple of blocks one on one.  I think the general consensus was that it would only be a matter of time before they scored as we could not get a foot hold in the game. However this eased as we started to play the ball around more. Both Jonny and Milo found success against their opponents and Charlie had the beating of his man every time. Charlie had a glimpse of goal in the first half and was probably unlucky not to hit the target when he had a little more time. Chaz scoring from a free header from 5 yards out would have been the icing on the cake, however as against IBIS, he has a tendency to head wide.

While the first 15 belonged to EBOG, the rest of the first half definitely belonged to us. They started to give away needless fouls and get on the referees back which only worked in our favour. Come half time, the message was to go again. Keep up the same intensity. Shout out to Nick for being a calming influence on the side line for Harrison.

Again we started the second half brightly, the three up top all providing great out balls. However we started to fade from around 55 minutes in and EBOG came back into the game. Again their number 10 had the beating of our back four, but couldn’t put countless chances away. (See Ballotelli vs Manchester United 2014). The game became very open and we started to create clearer cut chances. Chaz picking up the ball from a throw at right back forced his way to the right wing, laid the ball off to Jonny and made the run into the box, Jonny found him with an inch perfect ball and from 5 yards out he ballooned over. Typical Chaz. EBOG created a couple more chances, but were dealt with by Siri/the back four.

The last 15 minutes were all about Merton. Again from another corner Chaz staying up top, chested the ball down and re-enacted Frank Sinclair vs Barnsley, only to be denied by the bar. The chances were coming thick and fast, Jonny again ghosted past their right back and with three lining up on the penalty spot, tried to beat the keeper at the near post. James also impressed in his cameo as he often does. He was unlucky not to curl past the keeper with the last kick of the game.

Overall a good point earned, as both teams could have won the game, but a feeling that we probably had done enough to nick it. Every player put in a shift against the best opposition so far this season. Very much an improved display from the week before. Many positives to take forward. Man of the match was Chaz. Very well deserved as he has put in a number of strong performances recently. DOTD was a difficult one at first as there were no real mistakes/errors. Missing two chances from 5 yards out is cardinal sin though, so Chaz has the fortune of also being DOTD.

Team : Siri (GK), Kearnsey, Chaz, Clappers, Browner, Sam, Tills, Woody, Milo, Charlie, Jonny

Subs : James Laughton, Nick

Posted in Match Reports 1s