Month: October 2014
This week we hosted Old Meadonians in the first round of the AFA Cup. If honest, looking at their recent results, including a 8-0 loss the previous week, we assumed that the game would be a lot easier than it actually was.
We were classily outplayed by a team of a better standard and fully deserved the defeat they inflicted on us. 4 quality goals, 3 thatmaybe could have been prevented, resulted in us losing for only the second time this season. The only positive thing to mention was Chris Dodd’ free kick, which found the back of the net via the post, following the keeper spending too much time on the ball.
Next week we face Lloyds in the league hoping to bounce back from this disappointing display.
Team: Josh Browne (GK), Dan Outred, Lee Lenihan (Capt.), Darren Avey, Edward Plaistow, Dulanie Richards, Arthur Lewis (Chris Dodd), Ben Lawrence (Aaron Ackerman), Chris Outred, Patrick Mhondiwa (Stephen Creed), Dan Hall
Written by: Edward Plaistow
Not much to report on this game apart from we managed to defeat Old Wilsonians 6s for a second time in the space of 4 weeks…maybe even less.
Goals from Ben Lawrence and Arthur Lewis took us joint top of the table alongside West Wickham, our nemesis a couple of weeks ago; however we sit at the peak on goal difference.
Next week we host Old Lyonians hoping for another win that will take us 3 points clear with West Wickham playing in the cup. Let’s hope our good run of form continues….
Team: Josh Browne (GK), Dan Outred, Lee Lenihan (Capt.), Chris Outred, Edward Plaistow, Dulanie Richards, Arthur Lewis, Ben Lawrence, Aaron Ackerman, Patrick Mhondiwa, Dean Porter
Written by: Edward Plaistow
Looking at recent results, we knew that our opponents this week were going to be no walkover with them having defeated a team we lost so convincingly to last week in West Wickham 5 – 1 two weeks prior. We went into the game knowing that we had to play some of our best football in order to get a result we would be happy with.
Having arrived later than planned due to traffic, we were unable to warm up properly as the referee was eager to get the match underway on time. We lined up with our new first choice keeper in Josh Browne, who came in to replace Glen Field after some unconvincing displays of late. Our back four remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive week in the shape on Dan, Lee, Darren and myself. Our midfield consisted of Dulanie, Aaron, Chris Dodd, who came in to replace Ben, who chose to visit Newcastle to watch his uncle’s side spoil Spurs day with a late equaliser, and Chris Outred. We welcomed Patrick and Tee back into the starting line-up following their punishment of being benched last week.
The game was a lively one straight from the off and it took only 5 minutes before we found ourselves behind. A defence splitting pass from midfield found their striker who finished smartly off the inside of the near post. The lead however only lasted a couple of minutes as Dulanie equalised, his right footed effort beat the keeper at the bottom left. Chris Outred then put us 2 – 1 up 5 minutes before the break, converting a rebound after Tee’s effort had hit the post.
Unlike last week, the team talk at the break was a positive one. There was a few things that needed to be improved on and in order to assist in making those improvements we introduced CC7 into the fold. With his services not required by the 3s, we took advantage. Not long after the restart did we double our advantage, a mazy run by Patrick, with an equally impressive finish at the near post from a tight angle put us 3 – 1 up. HSBC were finding it hard to contain us and failed to get a rhythm going in regards to their passing game. They did however, half the deficit with 20 minutes to go, albeit with a strong appeal for offside turned down. Patrick took the weight off our shoulders shortly after the hosts’ second with a carbon copy of his first to regain the two goal advantage at 4 – 2. We were surprised at how easy he made it look considering the keeper should never be beaten at the near post, let alone twice! Not long after his second did Patrick grab his third to claim his hat-trick. A delightful ball from the right by CC7, found the sweet spot of Patrick’s head to end the game at 5 – 2.
A great game of football to be part of and to witness according to those that came to show their support. The only negative to take from the game was losing Tee for a minimum of 4 weeks due to a torn hamstring. Next week we host Old Wilsonians 6s, who will be looking for revenge following our narrow win at their place in September.
Team: Josh Browne (GK), Dan Outred, Lee Lenihan (Capt.), Darren Avey, Edward Plaistow, Dulanie Richards (Chris Callus), Aaron Ackerman, Chris Dodd (Sevan Mutafyan), Chris Outred, Patrick Mhondiwa (3), Tee Nash Bizayi
Written by: Edward Plaistow
Having made a great start to our 2011/12 campaign in both the League and SAL Cup, we welcomed West Wickham to our satellite ground of Wimbledon Common Extensions. Having arrived with only 2 minutes to kick off there was no option but to punish Tee and Patrick by naming on the bench. Yes it weakened the starting XI however they need to realise that they have to abide by the rules that everyone else does. Meeting times are set for a reason. This resulted in Chris Dodd starting having just returned from injury and Luke Freestone playing alongside Ben up top.
The first half was one that could be forgotten in a flash after going into the break 3-0 down. Sloppy defending on all 3 occasions was to blame, that and a combination of route one football by West Wickham. This may be a little harsh on the visitors for their third actually. A delightful ball from the right was guided in by a diving header which Darren just failed to connect with. Great goal, it was just disappointing to be part of the opposing side.
The team talk at half time was one of many words, it didn’t help that they were coming from all directions at the same time. We knew we were better then what we had shown in the first half and this was justified…..for the first 20 minutes of the second period anyway.
We re-started the second half and seemed to have West Wickham on the back foot. It was clear that they had opted not to come out and play the route one football that worked for them in the opening 45 minutes and this was something we were able to capitalise on. We reduced the deficit on the hour mark when a delivery from Aaron was toe-poked home by Ben. It wasn’t long until we reduced to deficit again when Lee converted Aaron’s corner into the bottom left. West Wickham looked shaky at this point and knew that they had to revert back to route one in order to keep hold of their lead or add to it. This is exactly what happened…..
With 15 minutes to go, a poor attempt to win possession by Lee allowed their number 12 to easily lob Glento make it 4-2. Not long after was it 5-2. A ball hit long by the West Wickham defence made its way into ourbox however with myself shielding the opposing player from getting to it, Glen stalled on coming to claim it. When he did he decided to attempt to kick it rather than go to ground and gather it. His kick came back off yours truly and into the back of the net.
It was a poor performance by all. Next week we visit HSBC where we hope to put Saturdays performance behind us and claim another 3 points to assist in guiding us up the table.
Team: Glen Field (GK), Dan Outred, Lee Lenihan (Capt.), Darren Avey, Edward Plaistow, Dulanie Richards, Chris Dodd (Patrick Mhondiwa), Aaron Ackerman , Chris Outred, Luke Freestone (Tee Nash Bizayi), Ben Lawrence (Laurence Bispham)
Written by: Edward Plaistow
After a great start to the league last week at Old Wilsonians we were hoping for a decent cup run having faulted over the last couple of seasons. Old Owens were the visitors to Joseph Hood for this 1st round tie.
We were without our skipper Lee Lenihan, who decided it was an ideal time for a holiday for one to Falaraki, meaning Chris Outred deservedly wore the armband in his absence. Shaun McCullough replaced him at the back as the reserves did not have a game. The only other change from last week was Aaron coming in for Sevan in the middle of the park.
Like last week the visitors were on the back foot straight from the off. With the opposing full backs lacking any pace to deal with our wingers they were in for a troublesome afternoon. We took the lead after 10 minutes when a delivery from the left by Chris was handled by an outstretched arm resulting in a penalty. In the absence on Chris Dodd, it was left to Dan to convert at the second attempt after an infringement in the box. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves 2-0 up. Tee managing to find the back of the net with an overhead kick after Old Owens failed to clear the danger. Our third goal came after half hour after great work and commitment from Dulanie. His looping header over the outrushing keeper was seen over the line by Tee for his second. Harsh on Dulanie as the ball seemed to be heading in anyway. Tee completed his hat-trick and bagged Merton’s forth 5 minutes before the break with a neat header into the top left hand corner. It could have been 5 going into the break had Chris’s effort not been ruled out for offside.
In the second half a combination of the visitors picking up their game and us taking our foot off the gas resulted in the score remaining the same at the final whistle. One notable period of the second half was a penalty appeal from Old Owens that went against them due to the theatrical dive that followed the challenge by Shaun.
Another good performance by all that has earned us a home tie against East Barnet Old Grammarians in Round 2. Next up is Old Salesians in the league who visit Joseph Hood next weekend.
MOM: Tee Nash Bizayi
Report by: Edward Plaistow
Team: Glen Field (GK), Dan Outred (pen), Shaun McCullough, Darren Avey, Edward Plaistow, Dulanie Richards (Adam Cairns), Aaron Ackerman, Ben Lawrence (Sevan Mutafyan), Chris Outred, Arthur Lewis (Patrick Mhondiwa), Tee Nash Bizayi (3)
After a disappointing pre-season in which we lost every game to opposition of a higher standard than us we went into the first game of the season with little confidence. We know more than anyone that teams changes personnel during the close season but with the hosts taking 4 points from our two meeting last season; this was going to be a difficult game.
The majority of the 5th team from last season remains but there were a couple of new players making their debuts in a Merton shirt, those being Arthur Lewis, who started just behind Tee up top and Adam Cairns who came on to replace Dulanie Richards on the right of midfield mid-way through the second half.
The game stated well with us playing the ball around well and using the minimal amount we learnt during pre-season to keep OW’s on the back foot. We found ourselves 1-0 up after 15 minutes after Dulanie slotted home following a mazy run down the right. The right back he was running at knew that he was in for a torrid afternoon! With a few chances for both sides which came to nothing we then managed to double our advantage when Arthur managed to turn in Tee’s scuffed corner to make it 2-0 going into the break. The closest that OW’s came to halving the deficit was a lobbed attempt at goals which was out by about 2 yards.
The team talk at the break was a positive one. Our aim in the second half was to go out and play exactly like we did in the first keeping up the good communication and constructive criticism when required. There was a limited amount of chances in the second period however the hosts did manage to find the back of the net but not without controversy, twice over! Tee seemed to take his time on the ball and lose it in what seemed that be an unfair challenge. The opposition played on an a looped ball over the top of the defensive line found there striker in an offside position who calmly slotted the ball over the outrushing Glen. 2-1. The only other incident worth noting is when OW’s should have been awarded a penalty when Lee clearly took their number 5 out. Maybe it wasn’t given as a result of the dodgy decision made previously, who knows?
A great performance by all with a Man of the Match performance from Chris Outred. That performance, along with his ones during pre-season and the back end of last season has earned him the captaincy in Lee’s absence for our next game at home to Old Owens 7s in the 1st Round of the SAL Intermediate Novets Cup next weekend.
MOM: Chris Outred
Report by: Edward Plaistow
Team: Glen Field (GK), Dan Outred, Lee Lenihan (Capt.), Darren Avey, Edward Plaistow, Dulanie Richards (Adam Cairns), Sevan Mutafyan, Ben Lawrence (Aaron Ackerman), Chris Outred, Arthur Lewis, Tee Nash Bizayi
Having been knocked out each of the cups in successive weeks, the 4s bounced back with an impressive win against a title rival. With a host of regular players unavailable or injured we picked up a number of players from the 5s and welcomed a new recruit in Carl Bartley.
We started brightly against a team with skill and pace up top, but very little to worry us in defence. Werode our luck at times as the first good chances went to. Aob but they couldn’t finish them. The. At the other end Giz took up the ball 35 yards out and fired an unstoppable shot beyond the desparing dive of their keeper – soon after we broke quickly with a glorious ball from Mickey found Giz – 4 defenders rushed to him and forgot all about Dan… Giz found him easily to tap into an empty net.
Alleyns on the ropes and close to collapse they got a lucky lifeline just before halftime. The ref missed a clear handball in the build up and the resulting shot clipped off Mickey and beyond my reach… 2-1 and gameon.
The second half was a very close affair, but our defence held firm – and Jess and Shaun were providing anexcellent shield in midfield. We had a close shave when the Aob attacker broke clear despite being clearly offsid and I just managed to get back to clear the ball off the line – we never managed to get the 3rd goal to kill them off, Denyz and Giz both going close, fortunately we didn’t need it and remain unbeaten in the league.
MOM:close between Giz and Mickey, but the latter gets it for so e quality last ditch tackles. Special mention to Daryl Flattery who played excellently at left back
Report by:Mark Chappell
Merton missed too many good chances, throughout the game Oppo keeper was excellent and proved the difference in the end Merton keeper Robert did not have a lot to do Denys scored in the 1st half, capitalising on a defensive mistake Essex injured himself kicking the corner flag instead of the ball 1-0 up half time, a 2nd goal would have killed the game but never came Broomfield got a penalty on the break which was NEVER a penalty. 1-1 Within 5 minutes oppo had centre half sent of for blatant pull on Denys in the box Keeper saved the resultant penalty For 2nd week running we lost our shape and mojo against 10 men One particular offside decision was so surreally wrong it got two Merton players booked 90 mins 1-1
We were poor in the 1st half of extra time. Oppo played well Lenners got a knock on the head, staggered around a lot, saying “I ‘m alright”, then staggered some more Players went down with cramp all over the pitch. Not the oldest player though!We were much better in the 2nd half of extra time, could have scored 3 or 4 Didn’t happen
Penalty shoot out. We missed 2, they missed 1. A very long way to go to lose a big game – one we should never have lost. Again Concentrate on promotion
Report by:Shaun Jones
We travelled to Guildford knowing a tough semi-final awaited us. Astolat have swept and mainly crushed all before them this season. We had our own unbeaten record to protect and knew it would be nothing but a tight battle. We were going to have to be at our best to win.
Our pre-match preparations were unfortunately disrupted when a car containing Essex, Micky and Giz turned up 5 minutes before kick off. What also did not help was Essex throwing up several times just before kick off after his own personal brush with the ongoing meat crisis. They had stopped at McD’s en route and Marc’s burger contained not only beef, salad and gherkin but also an added serving of shower gel sauce courtesy of a team mate. Not what anyone needed before our biggest game of the season.
Not unsurprisingly we started the match quite slowly. Astolat were quick, strong and confident and exploited our uncertainty with our 4-2-3-1 shape by bursting quickly forwards via their full backs, particularly from their left, and through their capable attacking midfielders. Astolat forwards dangerously got to the byline a couple of times but our defenders coped very well, as they did all game. Denys had a tricky half-chance volley early doors but couldn’t quite get the right connection.
After 15 minutes we made the right decision to change our shape to match Astolat’s 4-4-2. Immediately we looked more organised, positive and creative. Astolat were pegged back and Paul Ellis in goal was a virtual spectator for the rest of the half. Denys again got close to opening the scoring but couldn’t quite get his head to a far post cross at close range and used his hand instead, earning a yellow card.
We grew stronger, playing some nice football at times, as Astolat became increasingly ragged and frustrated.They gave away numerous free kicks throughout the game, earning several bookings. It was very clear that they were unsure how to react to a team who would not roll over and who gave as good as it got (in their leaguecampaign for example, Astolat are: P8, W8, F57, A6). it was obviously a novel and uncomfortable experience for them; but we should regret that we did not score from one of our many free kicks, especially as their keeper was no taller than 5’5″ in his boots, and was never truly tested.
Having said that, Astolat defended extremely well all game, particularly after they were down to 10 men in the second half. Half time perhaps came a little to soon for us, as we were pressing strongly for the first goal.
The second half started and the pattern continued. We pressed without creating many clear chances, Astolat competed and defended well but continued to commit more than their fair share of fouls. It’s the first time in a long time that I can remember an opposition team giving away (many) more fouls, more bookings and being deeper in the ref’s bad books than ourselves. Astolat’s left back was arguably lucky not to receive his second yellow card for a clear foul not long before the turning point and defining moment of the the match.
On 65 minutes we broke from the back down our right. Sean Monaghan had the ball under control near the touch line when an Astolat midfielder charged across from CM and dived in, clattering Sean to the ground. The ref consulted his assistant and they came to the conclusion that the challenge deserved a straight red, and off he went. From where I was standing it looked a bit harsh. He did jump in but it wasn’t two-footed, and to be honest – and I said this at the time – It suited us better to be playing against 11 than 10, as we were clearly in charge. We had been pushing and probing while Astolat had offered very little threat at all.
I was unfortunately proved right. Astolat’s team and their supporters were indignant and pumped up by the sending off. We lost our shape, concentration and momentum and the tide turned decisively against us. 3 minutes after the sending off we conceded a needless penalty as Sean Monaghan got too close to his man as he ran away from goal. Contact was made, the player fell and the spot kick was duly awarded and converted, to wild home celebrations.
Their tails were up, and raised even further 3 minutes later when Astolat, suddenly dangerous in the newly stretched game, hit us on the break again and a speculative left wing cross sailed over Ellis into the roof of the net. He couldn’t have placed it better if he’d tried. Which he hadn’t.
We became more direct and slightly desperate, losing our previous shape and more measured build up play.Free kicks and corners came and went; crosses went in and were cleared; several long shots failed to trouble the keeper; Pearcey nodded a free kick just wide; Denys could have earned a penalty after a barge in the box, and Essex sliced a great chance wide late on, but we never looked like getting it back. It’s also fairto say that Astolat looked more likely than us to score again as the game became super-stretched.
We really should have won the game and were unlucky not to do so considering the circumstances, but Astolatkept their heads when it mattered and we regretfully stopped playing. A couple of their lads we spoke to said it was their toughest game of the season, but that is little consolation for us losing a cup semi-finalwe really wanted to win.
Thanks to our small but loyal band of supporters who travelled to Guildford on Saturday. Hopefully we can gather one or two more people to cheer us on if we get to the SAL Cup semi-final by getting past (the also unbeaten) Broomfield on Saturday.
Report by:Shaun Jones
In their 177th game in this competition (well thats what it feels like) the 4s deservedly won through to the Semi Final of the Surrey Lower Junior Cup.
Preperation was less than ideal, with a number of key players unavailable we were forced to seek help from the 5s to bolster the squad, and then both Ross and Giz turned up after kick off, and Shaun Monoghan made it by the skin of his teeth (NB… I forgot to say Shaun… thats a £10 fine for being late).
Despite this Merton had the better of the early exchanges, with both Graham and Dan Kelly getting joy against the Addlestone defence – both backing up Denyz who was having one of his man mountain games up top. At the back Darren and Micky were dealing with anything that Addlestone threw at us, but despite having the better of the half, we went in 0-0.
A few changes at half time moved us back to a 4-4-2 to try and make better use of the domination Denyz was having against both their centre backs, moving Giz up along side him. A few decent chances came and went, but it was Addlestone who drew first blood. Depending on your point of view, their goal was either a worldy shot from 40 yards that arrowed into the top corner that gave the keeper no chance… or… I was lobbed from 40 yards… Whichever, it meant we had to dig deep. I took heart from their shouts of “we now have something to hang on to” that told us exactly that they knew we were the better team, it was just a matter of time and whether we could take the chances presented. Fortunately the qualiser wasn’t long coming, Giz finding space in a crowded box and finishing well.
There was a definite confidence within the Merton team that this was our game, and there was never any panic – the sign of a team growing in self belief – A VERY good sign for the many BIG games ahead.
The winner came out of nothing… So much so that all I saw was Giz running clear and finishing past their on rushing keeper. The linesman clearly realising that he had saved them a couple of times… but couldn’tjustify this one.
We brought Ross on to bolster the midfield for the inevitable onslaught, but it never really came, the team all defended manfully and left Addlestone with a few hopeful punts into the box which we dealt with easily.
A great win by a great team.
MOM:Denyz – The Ukranian ‘Ivan Drago’ of the Merton 4s
Report by:Mark Chappell