1s vs South Bank Cuaco – 17.12.16
Merton 5 – 2 South Bank
It was the last game of 2016 for the 1’s down at the hood on Saturday, in a year that started with a relegation battle but finishing with a new look squad and thoughts turning to the opposite end of the table, with a promotion push and two cup runs to concentrate on in 2017.
There was an air of expectation in the dressing room before the game given Southbanks position at the foot of the table, although Clappers prematch speech (phrase aptly coined by Kearney) centred on ensuring that nothing was taken for granted and that the basics were well covered. Team news was that Wilgo was back in for the injured Woody and Johny came in for Bosher. Rat had an extra big Christmas smile on his face after learning that Johny was playing in front of him, and not Van!
We started brightly on the front foot with marauding runs from Rat and Kearney from full back in support of Van (back to back games, what evs!) and Johny on either flank. One such run from Rat brought the opening goal as his delicious cross was met by a sliding Van who did well to get in front of his man and finish with aplomb. We continued to press and chances came thick and fast, the best of which falling to Tills and Wilgo without success. Charlie wasn’t in the mood to mess about though and after good work from Johny, he doubled our lead going in to half time with a cool finish. It was no more than we deserved but we needed to tighten up especially across the middle of the park.
The second half started in the same vein with us making most of the running and it wasn’t long until Johny joined the party with two great finishes either side of a deserved strike by South Banks number 9. To their credit they kept going throughout and didn’t roll over.
Our fifth goal was right out of the top draw and a collectors item for the vets! A searching back post cross from Van was met with a precise header from Tills only for MOTM Wilgo to control and smash home under pressure from two defenders.
There was still time for SouthBank to claw back one more which should have been avoided, but a 5-2 victory was just deserts for a strong all round performance and a rise to fourth in the table.
A great way to round off the year and we look forward to 2017.