The Hood was pretty wet and the top pitch was the only one that was playable and that was only just. The drainage on the top pitch seems to have broken down in the three pitches on the high points which is really odd. But despite the dreadful boggy patches it was a really entertaining game with a surprising amount of good football. The wind which I had not noticed earlier in the day was now a factor blowing down the pitch and we were against it in the first half. Weirside wind assisted started really well. A good run down the left wing and an early well flighted cross was put in the net in the first minutes but was disallowed for offside. But this recipe was repeated several times down both wings and life was a little uncomfortable. Weirside missed a good chance putting a free header over the bar from a corner. Their early crossing was an issue and Woody tracked back really well to get his head to deflect one away, but annoyingly got his kit really dirty in the process. A price worth paying. Gradually we got a foothold in the game and Vanny was troubling their full back who hauled him down a couple of times but 5 mins before he broke clear and their keeper could only half stop his shot and Charlie was at the far post to finish. Charlie made that seem quite difficult as he seemed to get caught up with it for a while. So 1-0 up at Half time and with the wind helping seemed a promising position. However that was not the case and straight from the kick off the Weirside striker seemed to waltz through our defence collide with Sherbs and somehow we cleared it off the line twice. We recovered from this scare and started to create chances. Tom Rowe was played through but fired wide and Will Low went close. But Weirside were always threatening and their skipper was always probing from midfield and they had good movement and their CF was good at holding up. So the equaliser when it came with 20 mins to play was not totally unexpected or against the run of play. Another good diagonal ball was latched on to and fired home on the turn. Pretty good stuff. The wind had dropped and it was good end to end stuff, Dave Quainton came on For Charlie and Hoppy (welcome back) came on For Woody who had put in a really good shift. DQ fresh legs immediately caused problems and with 10 mins to go broke clear down the right and crossed for Tom to fire home emphatically. We looked to hold on but Weirside were not to be denied and a hard shot from close quarters denied us the three points and delivered a fair result but disappointing as we were so close to a much needed win. I thought Weirside were good value and played better than when they beat us 1-0 at their place earlier in the season. They had some very good players well organised well lead and good movement. David Buick the ref was first class and his control was a major contribution to an what was a very enjoyable game to watch albeit a little disappointing. We put in a great effort and appoint is ok against a good side like Weirside. I thought all our players performed well and worked hard slogging thru the mud. Vanny had a really good game but Rat was outstanding yet again. We need to string a few results together in the new year and climb up the table but have every confidence in the lads and Clappers to do that.
Team; Sherbs (GK) Rat Clappers (Capt) Browner, Cookie, Woody, Al G, Will Low , Vanny , Tom R , Charlie. Subs Hoppy, Dave Q.
In the only game for Merton today 1s drew 2-2 with Weirside at a very boggy Hood. Good performance by both teams in difficult conditions and slightly disappointing result but credit to Weirside who came from behind twice.Merton Scorers Charlie and Tom.
OWCs Vets prove too strong for ours and win 5-0. Before and after pics of the teams. Good game and great banter in the bar. Thanks to Pete for sorting our team/food/bar out Well done and battle will be renewed for the Long Good Friday.
It was all good fun and specially as we lost we should not take the result too seriously. OWCs were just too strong for us but battle will be renewed ion 2016 on Good Friday as the centrepiece of our Annual Long Good Friday. Thanks to Peter Kemp who organised team bar and food for the day and Jim Perrin who organised the OWCs boys and put in a great shift on the pitch and in the bar. Thanks to all who participated and Dave Laughton who reffed the game and disallowed Jim Perrins Goal of the decade.
Post script from Saturday. Good night in the bar with some good fancy dress. Also well done to good looking Mark Chappell who stepped up to the plate for ‘Team Handsome’ while Sherbs was retrieving the ball for the 1s and was voted ‘Man Most Handsome’ and thanks to Crouch End Vamps for their excellent post match hospitality Turkey dinner and a free bar.
Youth results from last weekend.
U10s beat Carshalton Athletic 7-0 U11s beat Halliford Colts 5-0
U12s lost 4-0 to Rocks Lane Rovers. U13s lost in the Cup quarter Final 4-2 to Motspur Park and the U14s lost 5-3 to Mitcham Park. They then had a really good Christmas Party get together. Thanks to Steve for organising this and all the helpers.
Todays results. 1s lose 5-0 to CEV, 2s lose 4-2 at home to BOE but 3s beat SAL new boys St James 4-0, 5s lose 8-0 to Civil Service. 6s no game and 4s win 3 – 2 away to Old Wilsonians. Pics show 3s team of the day and action from games at the Hood. Mustard bursting past defenders
The Merton Way 2015/16 Not The Quiz
1. Which is the worse portent of what is to come when you first see the ref
(a) He turns up in a suit
(b) He is accompanied by his family
(c) He is being assessed
(d) He insists on giving the team one of those Mary Poppin’s pre match chats.
2. Why was the England Australia game in our bar so poorly attended
(a) Everyone knew England was going to get slaughtered
(b) We don’t have enough (or too many) Aussies in the club
(c) No one gives a F—K about egg chasing
3. Now Vanny has started coaching the youth section what is the major impact it has made
(a) They play down the wings with penetrating runs and crosses
(b) They play down the wings with no penetration and no crosses
(c) A team photo takes 10 times longer as they all want to adjust their hair.
(d) They are only fit for half the games.
4. Which of the following do you think is cheating
(a) Carrying on playing when you know the ball has gone out of play.
(b) Shouting ‘He’s off’ at the ref when you know he isn’t.
(c) Pretending that you have been tripped and diving.
(d) Pretending the ball hasn’t crossed the line for a goal.
(e) Wearing the wrong colour tape on your socks.
( Ed – It’s Ok It does not matter but they are all unacceptable at Merton.)
5. What is your response when your captain asks you to write the match report .
(a) A report, recording it all I have been trying to forget about it.
(b) Well it would be a bit embarrassing I was obviously Man of the Match, Set up all our chances and nearly stopped most of their goals.
(c) Do we have reports? Whats that for?
(d) Nah I’ve tweeted it.
(e) Since I got clattered I cant recall too much to be honest. What was the score?
(f) I was always taught if you cant say something nice don’t say anything at all. “I say Nothing”
6. When you receive the Whats app text from your captain, what is your reaction? Do you
(a) Text him back immediately telling him whether you are available or not.
(b) Think whats up with this dude its only Thursday evening how should I know what I am up to at the weekend we haven’t got past Friday night yet.
(c) Ignore it I told him four weeks ago that it was the Boss’s birthday and I was out.
(d) Ignore it as he knows he can usually rely on me
7. When it comes to putting the dirty kit into the washing bag what is best to do with very muddy socks that you have walked back in from the farthest pitch with your boots off.
(a) Stretch them out shaking/scraping off any extraneous mud and placing them singly into the dirty wash bag with all the shirts and shorts that have been placed there in the same way.
(b) Scrape them up from the floor in the way they have been ejected from my foot but iside out or not tie them up together in a knot.
(c) Well after cleaning my boots with them I am not quite sure what happens to them
8. Whilst on the subject of socks do you know where sock tape comes from
(a) It starts off on a Saturday morning about half an hour before kick off in the kit bag and then somehow half an hour after the match it is in my kit bag Simple Magic.
(b) No idea it is one of those wonderful things that the Kit fairy does but there it and it’s the right colour.
(c) They sell it shops like Maplin and Band Q. (You are kidding me)
9. Watching Mustard playing fullback the other day (it is not for the squeamish) what is the biggest influence on his football has been in the last 10 yrs.
(a) The Peter Kaye ‘Have it advert’
(b) His dramatic change in shape.
(c) Louis Van Ghal’s appointment at his beloved United.
(d) Advancing years
10. How is it that the 2s have not had any bookings or sendings off this season?
(a) They blackmail/bribe the refs not to put them thru when they get in the bar.
(b) They are a very polite handsome bunch of guys who do not transgress in any way
(c) Ben Cook and Liam Stevens have been playing for the 1s who seem to get all the bookings.
Another full squad of 14 boars plus cheerleader Walshy lined up for Merton 3s against the howling wind and a somewhat rag-tag St James Old Boys reserves, sporting a colourful array of shorts and socks and only ten men. Always a tasty proposition but we didn’t work the numbers particularly well in the first 20 mins, instead devoting 6 men to shut down their lone striker who really didn’t warrant such suspicion. Once we’d worked out that we could afford to push on a bit, the pattern of the game was set; namely that we needn’t have bothered with marking out the full pitch and putting both goals out as the game was only played in half of it.
The opener/nerve-settler came when Mustard evaded a challenge and bundled the ball into Ricky, who played in Tom to slot past the keeper, moments after Lofty had, in a moment of inspiration, hauled himself off and put Tom up front. Mustard is so committed to the Merton cause these days that he is actually beginning to take on the form of a boar, and this was evident as he burrowed down the left wing, head bowed, leading with the tusks. As defenders leapt out of the way presumably fearing for their own safety he suddenly found himself in the opposition box, where the boar analogies abruptly ended with an outrageous swan dive and hopeful look towards the referee. No pen; and DOTD sewn up before half time.
The second goal was a contender for goal of the season in the coveted “team goal” category. Mike and Vin started the move on the half way line, working the ball out to Mustard, who passed it in to Pete in the middle, who shifted it wide to Neal at right-back, who knocked it down the line to Reece, who threaded it through to Ryan all alone on the 6-yard line, who hacked it across goal for Denys to smash in at the far post. MOTD analysis suggests 25 completed passes in the build up, but I could just be making that up. 2-0 at half time, more of the same encouraged for the second half as Ellis picked up his deckchair, walked it down to the other goalmouth and re-opened his Mills & Boom novel.
More of the same in the second half as Joel “Skippy” Van Oosten was introduced and boars of war Pete and Ryan pushed on in midfield in search of someone to tackle. Merton could sniff a goal-fest, and opportunities were being generated aplenty with nice triangles down the right between Neal, Reece and Ryan, running in behind from Tom and Ricky, and Denys, more bear than boar, leading the line out-muscling defenders and creating space. The third goal came when one of said defenders scythed the big Ukranian down just outside the box, and was then sent to the touchline to remove his earrings and think about what he’d done. That left SJOB with nine men, so the ref graciously said we’d wait for him to return before re-starting play. Except nobody told Pete, who curled in a delightful chip for Denys to head back across goal where Tom arrived, charging in at full pace to poke the ball past the keeper. 3-0, and the hat-trick beckoned for Tom when Ricky tricked his way along the touch line and squared for Tom, 3 yards out, to blast straight at the keeper’s chest. He’d have to wait for the third, but in the meantime Merton poured forward, wasting a succession of corners, crosses and goalmouth scrambles. At one point, Chris “Big Papa” Papanastatiou was so dismayed to see Ryan’s left-foot swinging for a ball just in front of him in the 6-yard box that he yelled “NOOOOOOOOOO” as if auditioning for a role in a Hollywood B-movie.
The hat-trick was completed with a goal Tom had been threatening to score all game, running off the shoulder of the centre-back onto a lofted through ball from Pete (after he’d won the ball and flattened his man, naturally) and slotting into the corner past the admittedly excellent keeper, without whom Tom could have had 6 and Merton 16. No sooner than the ball had hit the back of the net, and before he’d even had time to celebrate his achievement, Tom was hauled off as a reminder that no one player is bigger than the team. At this point there was still plenty of time left to run up a score, or at least there would have been had we been playing 90 minutes. Alarm bells should have been raised by the ref mentioning at kick-off that he had to shoot off straight after the game, and the fact that at one point he looked to the sky rather than his watch when asked how long was left. There were still chances to be had; Denys launched a thunderbolt from the edge of the box that hit the bar and fired straight upwards like a ground-to-air missile, then set up Chris P for a spectacular air-shot with the goal at his mercy. Meanwhile, Pete broke up a rare foray into the Merton half and dribbled back and forth past the bamboozled attacker who reacted by brutally hacking him down. Voices were raised, tempers about to flare as Pete got up, walked over the the offender and said “sorry for doing you there mate”.
The final whistle sounded shortly after on a convincing win, built on the solidity of Joel, Vin and Mike at the back (we’ve now conceded just 1 goal in 3 games) and the pace of Tom up front, who scooped a deserved MOM award. Also worth recording that the referee was actually very good and the opposition were good sports in difficult circumstances for them. Less than a season ago, it was Merton 3s who were turning up for away games with 10 men and now here we are with a full squad every week, great team spirit and difficult selection decisions to make. There will be tougher challenges ahead, starting with 2nd versus 3rd in the league next week. Bring it on.
MOM: Tom Benham
DOTM: Mike Reed
Vincenzo Di Matteo
Joel Van Oosten
There was a certain swagger about Merton 4s as they arrived at Old Wilsonians, and understandably so after a first win of the league campaign the week before. And while Saturday’s opponents had hammered them 5-0 only a fortnight ago, the belief was there that a different outcome would be in the offing.
Relegated to the windswept, secondary pitches away from the clubhouse, it became clear that it would be a game of two very different halves. A huge slope, backed up by a stiff breeze meant that the team with the elements at their back had 45 minutes to make it count.
Lining up for Merton was Sam in goal, Mike and Steve Burchell at centre back and with John Gridley and Scholesy at fullback. Dan Gridley and Aaron were to occupy the centre of the park (although Aaron was replaced by Mike Elgar early on after an unfortunate injury), with Billy and Chris on the flanks. And it was left to Dulanie and Jake to provide the goals upfront.
After the coin toss, Merton were into the wind first half. Very quickly it became clear that this 45 minutes would be purely about damage limitation, and a lot of hard work. But the Yellows started very well, keeping their shape impressively, dealing with the enormous goal kicks, and largely restricting Old Wilsonians to passing it around in front of them, failed through-balls and hopeful long-range efforts.
Unfortunately, on 25 minutes, it was one of those hopeful long-range efforts that provided the opener. The hosts’ striker made great contact from 25 yards, and despite Sam getting a good hand on it, the awkward bouncing ball snuck into the bottom-left corner.
1-0, but no cause for panic. Certainly a single goal had been bargained for in these conditions, and the 4s thus kept their heads up, and stuck to their tasks manfully. There were even some handy moments upfront, reminding Old Wilsonians that there was still a goal threat to consider.
But it was at the back where much of the good work was being done, and for all of the home side’s dominance, clear-cut chances were actually few and far between. John in particular was outstanding in cleaning up loose balls, and keeping the left winger in check.
It’s what made the circumstances for the second goal all the more unfortunate though. With just two minutes to go until the break, Sam played a goal kick short to John, who was immediately under huge pressure. He tried a dummy stopover, but unfortunately the Wilsonians striker read it, intercepted, and calmly slotted the one-on-one past Sam.
2-0, and a crushing blow. 1-0 at half time would have felt like a lead, but a two goal deficit felt no better than par. The chat was good at the break, and Merton knew that with the wind at their backs, the chances would come. But, in truth, they were a little flat when the game resumed. By no means poor, but for 20 minutes there just didn’t seem to be much happening. No sustained possession, no real opportunities. In fact, about 10 minutes in, the ball fell kindly to a Wilsonians striker at the other end, and he ought to have done better with his shot from close range.
With the clock ticking, something inspirational was needed. Or so we thought. Dan did ever so well to win a free kick on the edge of their box, and after a bit of conjecture, it was decided that Jake would be the man to take it. He’d probably admit it wasn’t his career-best strike, but somehow it bounced and bobbled it’s way past the keeper and into the net. 2-1, and Merton had a lifeline.
But if the first was fortunate, the equaliser was pure class. The ball was scrambling around in midfield, and 25 yards out Dulanie did ever so well to control the ball. What followed was sensational, as he smashed it with his left foot into the right corner of the net. One of those strikes where it’s in from the second it leaves his boot, and no keeper in the world had a chance, let alone the host’s average one.
2-2 it was, and Merton were jubilant. They had all the momentum, and could smell victory. Yet with 10 minutes to go, disaster nearly struck at the other end, as, from open play, the ball ended up loose in the Yellows’ box. Fortunately, their two strikers rather got in the way of each other, and when the trigger was eventually pulled, Sam was able to make a good save.
Moments like that confirmed in the lads’ minds that maybe, just maybe, this was to be their day, and with five minutes to go, that magic moment arrived. Wilsonians were becoming increasingly troubled by long balls, and one found its way to Jake near the edge of the box. He controlled, he stopped. Time stood still. And then he dispatched it gloriously home, rattling the side netting, and setting off massive celebrations. 3-2, what a sensational comeback!
The home side were beaten, and they knew it. They offered nothing in reply in the final minutes, other than a nasty challenge on Chris. But he was okay in the end, and when the final whistle went, joyous scenes ensued. What a tremendous win! Two on the bounce, and evidence that, on their day, this spirited Merton side can beat anyone. One more game to go before the Christmas break. Can they make it three in a row? In this kind of form, you wouldn’t bet against it.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 2 Old Wilsonians 4s
SCORERS: Jake Hewitt (2); Dulanie Richards
MOTM: Again, bloody tough. The whole team. Steve and John outstanding at the back, and Dan Gridley immense. Probably has to go to Jake though. Great effort son!
STARTING LINE-UP: Samuel Singer-Ripley (GK), John Gridley (Ryan Burchell), Steve Burchell, Mike Todt, Edward Plaistow, Billy Dowie, Aaron Ackerman (Mike Elgar), Danny Gridley, Chris Outred, Dulanie Richards, Jake Hewitt.
Training on 16th Dec but finishes after that. So no training 23rd and 30th Dec but starts again on January 6th