1s vs HSBC – 11.03.17
HSBC away, 11.03.2017
A game likely enjoyed by the braying twits in club ties cheering on the home side for the occasional malice exhibited by the hosts was a satisfactory occasion for the visitors in yellow, too, thanks to a hard-earned point.
Proceedings quickly settled into a pattern of HSBC possession and Merton chances on the break. The Will Low/Wilgo combo typically broke play up. Ivan, as the third man in the middle, had his tail up and passing radar on high alert. His early pass gave Jonny a chance with which he shaved the post.
It was simple, direct, decisive stuff. Shame Rat wanted no further part in it after 10 minutes, shuffling off for lunch while complaining about a twisted ankle.
The Charlie Hockless penalty that gave Merton the lead might seem simple enough, too. In reality, his spot-kick was the decisive blow in an episode of physical and psychological warfare. First, after good work down the right from Jonny Graham, Charlie scrapped with defender and goalkeeper – and was eventually hauled down – to win his chance from 12 yards. He then had to retrieve the ball from somewhere in New Beckenham while fielding less-than-sporting posers from the less-than-sporting posers in red. “Don’t overthink it,” was among the advice doled out. Our boy didn’t. 1-0.
If it was a game of tireless running from the front three, then that was reflected by the industry from the back four. Conor and Joe Grew on either flank impressed, the latter deservedly winning MotM.
Browner and Clappers needed to be a muscular presence. They delivered. Silly Browner had such a good time he even forgot to EG his post-match tequila.
Siri makes a habit of making saves he has no right to. This one was up there with his finest this season. A low ball drilled along the edge of the six-yard box from the left was intercepted by Willy Low’s outstretched foot, but Merton’s midfield engine could only direct it towards his own goal. One of HSBC’s shrieking forwards was already celebrating as Siri threw himself down low to his right, his impossibly-extended paw scraping the ball out for a corner.
HSBC equalised from a low corner midway through the second half. That aside, the Merton wall stood firm. The midfield even won the majority of their headers, despite Clappers’ early (“reverse psychology”) predictions.
Tom Rowe ran himself into the ground for little reward. Milo looked bright on his introduction from the bench. The game remained an energetic encounter that became stretched.
Charlie didn’t quite his feet right when presented with a good chance to grab a second after a Wilgo flick-on. Then Vanny could have won it, galloping through beyond the last man, only to misjudge his attempted lob.
That was enough to bag him DotD, despite his otherwise stellar performance and Tom Rowe asking whether one needed an HSBC current account to play for the team. Marvellous scenes, truly.
Siri (GK), Conor Murphy, Clappers (c), Peter Brown, Rat (Joe Grew), Will Low, Wilgo, Ivan, Tom Rowe (James Laughton), Jonny Graham (Milo), Charlie
Written by Wilgo