1s vs Norseman – 13.01.18
The day started with a few surprises, Clappers was advised his ban had come through in time for him to miss this game and we realised that a number of people had pulled out the night before. We went from having 14 to the bare 11. Thankfully with a few choice calls we managed to rustle up a few of the old boys who aren’t always available. Snooks and Bosher joined us to make a squad that would certainly be in contention for our strongest in a long time. The bants was strong from the start and all the boys seemed upbeat. The warm up was odd having been left with a small, muddy patch of grass at the side of the pitch but it was sufficient to do the job.
The Merton Men started fast and were instantly on the front foot, creating chances up front from our dominating presence in the air by Chaz. Merton were attacking with purpose and fluidity that was causing trouble for Norsmen, particularly with any ball reaching Vanny and the super duo of Chaz and Charlie. We looked to have the rest of the team under control both in mid-field (even with “casual” /ugly/ Vegan Sam) and in defence. There wasn’t much threat from Norsmen but their best players were their centre mids who had nothing to pass to in their attacking third. It was on the cards from the start and not to disappoint, Chaz and Charlie exchanged a few good passes which resulted in Chaz smashing it in the back of the net from close range to take us 1-0. With some lax passing from Norsmen at the back, Charlie pressured well and forced an error, he was rewarded with an easy finish, but born out of good old fashioned workrate. Vanny continued to terrorise the left back with some support from Rat (with passes that showed he had been absent for a number of weeks). Did we miss Clappers presence on the pitch? Nope!
The first half went without much threat to us but we did try to even the odds by slide tackling on the edge of our area and on occasion in our penalty area, where we were lucky to escape a penalty award against us.
The second half started much like the first with Merton dominating in possession and creating attacking move after move. Suddenly, a flash point, their striker decided to react badly to losing the ball and thought the best way to demonstrate his discontent was to “step up” to Chaz, who stood his ground. The striker decided to lean in and attempt to head butt Chaz, in plain sight of the referee. Checking that the ref had seen the head butt, Chaz acted impeccably and held his arms out to show he had no intention of returning the physical contact, which was rewarded by a straight red card for the opposition. The rest of the half went from good to better, with Vanny marauding down the right wing creating chances for Jonny, Bosher and Charlie. One of the chances was converted, in the end it was a classic Vanny run down the right easily passing the left back and with cheeky step over glided past the centre back to provide a simple pull-back inside the 6 yard box for Bosher to finish neatly. Charlie scored another goal easily and then went extremely close with his third, with the ball bouncing off the post, stubbornly refusing to cross the line.
Snooks made a cameo appearance but thankfully avoided any unnecessary tackles and survived his first match in over a year.
A strong performance from the massive lads and a well-deserved 3 points.