Merton FC 2

Norseman 0

So after last weeks successful trip to North London, the 1s returned home looking to build on the back of an excellent all round performance.

Norseman were a team who had been promoted the season before and similar to Merton, have had an up and down campaign lying just below the home side in the league.

The 1s couldn’t call upon last Saturday’s man of the match, Chaz. Missing out due to injury and unfortunately won’t be available for selection until closer to the New Year. On top of this both Vanny and Rat also were away this weekend, which led to a few changes and some new faces.

Florian and Hens both called up for their first appearances of the season, with the former starting on the right wing and Hens making an impact from the bench.

After switching to 4-4-2 at Old Fincheians, it was back to Clappers’ go to formation of 4-3-3, looking to win the battle in midfield and provide support for Charlie up top on his own.

Certainly, the coldest fixture of the season so far for the boys, with Harrison warming up in a large overcoat and big woolly hat; but they’d soon warm up running around on a heavy surface at the Hood.

The first half was very much a war of attrition, with neither side wanting to hand over any sort of advantage to the opposition. The away side looked to put some pressure on the Merton back four with the best play coming from their centre mids and a marauding centre half. However, they never created any clear chances as the home side again demonstrated why they have the best defence in the league. Browner showing he’s a fully converted full back winning his headers and getting up and down the wing well, the same could be said for Jordan on the left who linked well with Johnny and was able to start a number of Merton attacks. Not to mention the great effort and running in midfield from Craig Usher who displays similarities of the Duracell bunny.

Overall, the first 45 minutes was a tale of poor quality in the final third and a number of very niggly fouls across the pitch. No surprises it was 0-0 heading into the break.

After a positive team talk at half time from Clappers, the boys knew the game was for the taking, needing to keep better possession of the ball and continue to frustrate the opposition.

Despite Norseman coming out for the second half positively, it would be Merton who broke the deadlock on the 55th minute mark. The home side had had some success last weekend with set pieces and their opener made it look all too easy. A free kick near the half way line was lobbed to the back post by Jimbo (no sign of the hat this week) finding Clappers unmarked with a great header back across goal for Charlie to grab his fourth in as many games from 2 yards out.

It was a great time to take the lead but there was a lot of time left and the away side felt they were well in with a chance just the one behind. The next goal would be crucial.

And it would be the boys in yellow who not long after taking the lead would double their advantage. Maybe no surprise that it was from a dead-ball situation, but there were plenty of shocked faces in the manner of how it came. A freekick just over 20 yards out, with Jimbo stood over the top of it, who the week before had something similar and let’s just say the ball is still rising. However, this week the result would be emphatic as a crisp strike saw the ball serve and fly into the top corner in off the post. TOP BINS!

An excellent way to pull further clear of Norseman and take away a lot of their sprit. The remaining half an hour saw a far more open game, with credit to Siri who made a number of great saves down to his right to keep Merton’s advantage to two. Hens came off the bench to provide a really solid outlet on the right-hand side and no shock that Charlie was industrious in his running, even helping out in defence.

Unfortunately, the game ended on a slightly sour note, with Norseman having a player sin binned for the last 10 and another booked for a shocking tackle on Charlie. Yet nothing would spoil another fantastic team display and yet more 3 points for the home team who climb to fifth in the table.

Squad: Siri, Browner, Harrison, Clappers, Jordan, Jimbo, Usher, Willow, Florian, Johnny, Charlie, Hens

MOM: Jimbo for the freekick

DOD: Jimbo for celebrating his freekick like Cantona    

Posted in Match Reports 1s