1s vs Old Lyonians – 16.09.17
MERTON FC 2
Old Lyonians 1
The 1s stepped out at the hood for the first time in the 2017/18 season against an unfamiliar opposition in Old Lyonians. Even more unfamiliar was the position in the front three given to resident American and usual left back Will Kearns, not to mention the encouragement given to Browner to maraud forward when possible.
The men in yellow started well, forcing Lyonians onto the back foot during the opening exchanges. Merton looked assured on the ball with Sam and James working the ball from side to side as we waited for an opening. The persistence paid off when Jonny (who had an excellent game) was fed in by a marauding Browner down the right, after ghosting past his man he squared to an incoming Kearnsy who, favouring the moulded cleat, tapped in for his maiden Merton goal. 1-0. Lyonians struggled as any attempted attack was easily dealt with by Clappers and Harrison at the centre of the Merton defence. We continued to work the ball up the field, and dominated possession in the final third. Chances kept coming as Charlie saw a diving header go narrowly wide, and Kearns just unable sort his feet out to convert a rebound off the keeper. For a period, it seemed Merton were toying with their opposition. The second came from a clever Woody freekick, who fired low into the box for an unmarked Sam to stroke home, 2-0. Wanting to make a game out of it, Merton decided to engage in some haphazard set piece defending, failing repeatedly to clear our lines before their man on the edge of the box scuffed a weak shot past the vision obstructed Siri. ‘We only concede shit goals’ was the cry in the bar afterwards.
The second half began with extensive Merton possession and pressure. This was, however, not converted into chances as we struggled to find the final pass. Van was subbed on for Woody in a like for like midfield dad substitution, with Woody taking over in the Merton Creche, EJ and Robert (benched for their extreme lateness) came on for Jonny and Browner. We poured forward in numbers, special mention to Jordan who once again put in a huge shift, and the defining chance to seal the game eventually came. After a frenetic attack, the ball was eventually squared to Charlie who, swinging a tired right leg, was unable to make contact with the ball with the goal at his mercy. DOD sewn up in one action. Clappers made sure to throw his hat into the ring for DOD by subbing himself on with 30 seconds to go, only to barge over a Lyonian player, giving the opposition a chance to equalise with a dangerously placed free kick inside the Merton final third. The threat was successfully dealt with, and Merton were deserved winners. Overall, a very solid performance early in the season, taking the unbeaten 1s to 4 points from 2 games. The new recruits provided another positive; Harrison looked imperious at the back, while Sam controlled the play in the middle with some smart touches, James marshalled the space in front of the back 4, and EJ and Robert provided spark on the wings.
MOM – Shared between Harrison and Jonny
DOD – Charlie
We look forward to the return fixture later in the season.