After a well-fought win against BoE in the previous round, today brought us to the next round of the cup, against a team in similar standings in our rival league:
The Economicals from the AFC. 

The day didn’t start on a high note given that, In true taking the p**s style, Jonathan & Samuel turned up an hour late, with a very frustrated Chaz sitting in the back seat gearing up for an underserved bollocking – Clappers made it very clear that this wouldn’t continue! Chaz couldn’t agree more! 

None the less, the team was full of familiar faces with Siri in Goal, Brauner RB, Clappers & Chaz CB & Nic filling in at LB. The midfield consisted of Woody, Tilley & Samuel, & a familiar front 3 of Jonathan, James & Chalie. The bench was made up of a very dynamic, Bosher, Joe, Elz & of course, Van was there on the sidelines studying the work of Merton’s first choice wingers.

The game was off to a good start with both teams showing a good tempo to their movement & passing from the whistle. It was, at least until roughly 5 minutes in, when their keeper picked up a rather obvious pass back from his own midfielder which consequently led to an indirect free kick just inside their box. By all accounts, Sam had the audacity to offer that he take it, thankfully Woody came to sense quickly & stepped over the ball and take it himself. BOSH! 1-0 Merton! After an unexpected extra touch to take it away from the charging wall, Woody got his shot off & it found the net – good start! 

The tone of the game continued from that point, with both teams continue to press each other at a good tempo & thus caused for a somewhat scrappy affair as the half wore on. Merton less and less tried to play out from the back, & instead started to play their percentages. This did work in our favor a number of times, resulting in nice link up play between Charlie, James and Jonny in order to turn their defence. Midway through the first half, Chaz received what was first thought to be a dead leg, however, he would later be subbed to what would appear to be a pulled/torn thigh muscle. 

Second half, & the game picked up from where it left off. Both teams hungry for the next goal & but for some very good defending from Clappers & Brauner, Economicals could have scored an early equaliser. I’m not surprised the Brauner, Clappers partnership worked out given that they’ve played together for years & Clappers certainly knows Brauners strengths & weaknesses. Siri was consistent as per usual, claiming the ball from set plays, look comfortable with a couple of sturdy shots & most importantly getting on everyone’s back! Good ol Siri. Has to be said that the middle 3 of Sam, Woody & Tilley did a good job in weathering an early storm by continiously foresting for the ball in the middle not giving their midfielders much time at all – this eventually led to Merton’s second goal. The midfield (Can’t remember who) won the ball deep in our own half and sent Jonathan on his way down the right wing. Calm under pressure, Jonny squared it Charlie who made no mistake in slotting it home with a sidefooted, curling shot passed the keepers left. Word on the sideline was that it was like watching Pires & Henry!…… It has to be said, Charlie could of a hatrick, considering he missed 2 clear cut chances just after his first goal – Van was smiling with intent on the sideline.

Merton made clever subs with 20 minutes to go. The introduction of Bosher for Jonny, added a fresh, direct approach to our attack & Elz come on to provide energy in the centre of midfield for a tiring James. Elz got his reward for an impactful appearance off the bench by scoring Mertons 3rd (This amongst a number of smart passes and winning the ball back high up the field). Economicals nicked one back before the end finalising the final score at 3-1 to Merton!
After it was all said and done, Brauner was awarded a well deserved Man of the Match for a solid performance at both LB & CB. He did really well in staying tight to his man & generally played to his many strengths. Honourable mention for Nic with a couple of votes who put in a good performance whilst filling in at left back.
Dick of the day went to Chaz – I’m still not sure why. Standard votes went out to Van… because he is Van…….Know. Act. 

Chaz Martin

Posted in Match Reports 1s