There’d been a media frenzy all week about Storm Barney, and Britain awoke to a white Saturday countrywide. Thankfully, the Alleyn Club near Dulwich had dodged the snow, and it was game on for Merton against the table-topping Alleyn Old Boys – albeit with the mercury barely above zero degrees
Strapped for numbers, the 4s were grateful for some help from 2s’ stalwarts Paul and Oli. The former took his place in the centre of defence with Saffer Mike; Ed and John on the left and right respectively. Oli and Joe lined up in the middle of the park, with skipper Chris and Mike on the wings, and Dulanie and Dom sat upfront to complete the 4-4-2 formation on what was a tight – and very slippery – pitch. The game began with Old Boys in the ascendancy, as was perhaps to be expected. But Merton had a certain calm about them, and the home side were reduced to passing it around in front of the defence in the face of some tough and committed tackling. The Yellows showed endeavour too, keeping it on the ground were possible, and making some surging runs up the flanks. But if the league leaders didn’t know they were in a game already, they certainly did after 15 minutes. A well-earned corner was teasingly swung in by Mike, and at the far post towered Dulanie. His header from the tightest of angles then thundered into the back of the net, leaving the hosts in disbelief and Merton in raptures. 1-0, and game on! Old Boys came out stronger after that, and missed a glorious chance from point blank shortly after. But a sign of things to come came midway through the half, as a ball bobbing around the edge of the box was launched into an evasive Joe. A harsh penalty was the result from the unconvincing referee, despite there being doubt over both the intent and his position in the box. But the Alleyn striker never looked confident as he readied himself, and smashed his ensuing effort from 12 yards into the crossbar – a let off for Merton, although perhaps justifiably. The visitors continued to have the measure of their opponents in what was increasingly becoming a niggly contest. The tackling was as immense as the determination, and the equaliser thus required something rather special. A loose ball bobbing around outside the box ought to have been cleared, but the strike was nonetheless dispatched with aplomb into the bottom right corner, with nothing Sam or anyone could do to stop it. 1-1. But if the first was quality, the second for Alleyn was a source of major controversy. From midfield the ball was cleverly looped over the defence to a striker who may or may not have been offside. However, the player he nudged the ball to as he bore down on goal was unequivocally in front of him, and with no defenders in the equation, his tap in should never have stood. Merton rightly argued their case, but the referee turned an infuriatingly deaf ear. The 2-1 score line was desperately cruel on the Yellows, who’d battled with all they had.
And with the break approaching, further salt was to be rubbed into the wounds. Alleyn were correctly awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. Less correct though, was the player who took it being permitted to do so before the whistle had gone, with Sam still organising his wall and not ready for it. But again, the goal stood, and 3-1 at the interval left Merton facing an undeserved two-goal deficit.
Talk was positive at the break, albeit brief, as neither team fancied standing around in the freezing cold for too long. Yet the men from the Hood came out with purpose when play resumed, taking a particular interest in ferocious, but fair, tackling, and attempting to rattle the opposition.
Again though, it was a crucial decision that scuppered their momentum. Alleyn managed to find a way into the box up the right, and Bill – whose tackling, heart and aggression had been central to Merton’s good start to the half – slid in to intercept just inside the box. Perhaps he missed the ball, but the theatrical dive that followed from the Old Boys striker was more akin to what you might see in El Clasico than in English Saturday league football. Nevertheless, the obliging ref pointed to the spot, and this time the Old Boys striker made no mistake. 4-1. Brutal. Unjust. But so it was.
Yet rather than dispiriting Merton, it pulled them even closer together. They continued to fly into the tackles, but more than that, they began to gain a foothold in the game by using the wings. Dulanie’s hold up play was superb too, and Dom continued to find ways of eluding defenders and putting dangerous balls in. Corners came thick and fast, and so did a series of half chances. Eventually, the reward came, as Ed’s crossfield ball found Chris in acres of space. While the beleaguered Old Boys defence cried for offside, Chris calmly slotted it past the keeper in a one-on-one to make it 4-2. Buoyed by the richly deserved lifeline, Merton ramped things up. The talking was loud, the tackles were harder, and the goal threat greater than ever before. Alleyn were no longer passing it around calmly, and were instead hacking it away in a panic.
Perhaps the key moment came with 10 to go, as a corner came from the left which Dulanie met with gusto. It absolutely flew off his head from just 6 yards out, yet somehow the keeper pulled off a reflex save for the ages to deny him. It truly was save of the season material, and perhaps the Yellows knew there and then that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Such a suspicion was confirmed 5 minutes later, and in fitting circumstances. Alleyn won a corner, and with much tussling going on in the area, one of the blues absolutely hurtled into Paul to take him out. Yet incredibly, no foul was given, and the ball ended up in the back of the net to make it 5-2. Another shocker, a flattering score-line, and the nail in the coffin for both Merton and any sense of decorum in the contest.Alleyn – not the kind of guys you’d be interested in going for a beer with too often – had already amassed 4 yellow cards for indiscipline. But also in the book were Joe and Dom, and in the last 5 minutes, they were given their marching orders for a second yellow, although both men could lay claim to having had at least one dubious caution against them.
It was a bitter end to what had already been a rather distasteful match, in which the referee had lost all semblance of control. The last 5 minutes petered out with 9-man Merton simply waiting for the whistle to go. A couple of good saves from Sam was the only notable action before things finally came to a conclusion.
Looking back, it certainly wasn’t a classic, and given the persistent niggle and controversial decisions, it wasn’t a match that was greatly enjoyed either. But on the bright side, it was one in which Merton gave the league leaders a heck of a game on their own patch, showing the kind of fight and determination that’s needed if they are to move up the table. And with two winnable games coming up, the hope will be that such intensity will continue in order to get the points on the board.
FINAL SCORE: Alleyn Old Boys 4s 5 – 2 Merton 4s SCORER: Dulanie Richards, Chris Outred MOTM: Dulanie Richards
STARTING LINE-UP: Samuel Singer-Ripley (GK), John Gridley, Mike Todt, Paul Pearce, Edward Plaistow, Michael Elgar, Joe Plumridge (Billy Dowie), Oli Ross (Ryan Burchell), Chris Outred, Dom Plumridge, Dulanie Richards.
This was a dismal day for the first team. It was bitterly cold and we had to hang around outside to find out we had no changing room and then we had to hang around on the pitch which was the farthest corner of a very large playing fields. We lost the toss and were 2-0 down kicking into the gale. We really found it difficult to get out of our half and we squandered the few good chances that we had. We were awarded a hotly disputed penalty just before half time which Charlie (pic) buried like a hero. I thought that would be the turning point of the game as the change of ends gave us the advantage. We did not get the early goal we needed although we had some good chances. Their keeper made a good save and we had a good shout for another handball penalty. But the wind died a little and so did we as we became more frustrated and they came into the game with a shout for a pen and some chances. But they held on to win the battle for the three points between the two sides relegated from the first division last season and both struggling in the second this season Clapps reminded me that there was only one or two of our players who played in our winning side last season that started in this match. In all honesty I am not sure they had that many. Alex Perrin (pic) was playing his last game for Merton as he is off back to the USA and we thank him for his great help this season and wish him well. A very good man. The game was reffed very well by John Sperry and the assistants did very well aswell on a bitterly cold day. I have great sympathy with Old Salesians who have lost their ground and their current facilities are not what they are use to. It makes The Hood look quite acceptable and we should be thankful for what we have. The 1s could do with getting some of their regulars back and fit and a few wins would help.
The under 14s are looking for players to join their team, if you son is in year 9 at school and loves playing football, Merton FC Youths is the place to play. Home games are played at Joseph Hood Recreation Ground, Martin Way. Team play in the Surrey Youth League. If you are interested or want more information please contact Steve Dewsbury, Youth Organiser [email protected] or Nick Hackett, team manager [email protected].
Great results from Youth section with four wins.
U10s beat Roehampton Rangers 6-2
U11s beat Mitcham Pk 14-3
U12s beat Hampton Rangers 2-0
U13s beat Kew Pk Rangers 4-3 …
U14s lost 9 – 2 against Croygas Lions
Well done boys and all the helpers
Saturday evening turned out a lot better than the afternoon with the Merton Way Quiz and Curry night. Peter and Jasper Kemp provided a great Curry selection with Chicken, lamb and vegetable curry, rice, poppadums’, chutneys the lot. Matt Haswell helped out in the bar whilst they weaved their magic in the kitchen. The U13s waited on table and Sherbs provided a really entertaining Quiz. All the teams were represented and Terry brought along the Jerry Hatchetts. The Youth section were well represented not just as waiters but with six teams. It was a closely fought battle but playing their joker on the last round of general knowledge just got Quizmas Quackers the title with five or six teams close behind. Quizteam Aguilera, Its beginning to look like Chrristmas, and The Boars all in with a shout at the end. Thanks to all those who helped put on this great Merton Event and all those who supported it. Next Event Fancy Dress Christmas Drinks on Saturday 12th December.
NAME: Marc Wilson
TEAM: Handsome (2s)
POSITION: Centre Half
BIRTH DATE: 28.03.86
BIRTH PLACE: Chertsey
PREVIOUS CLUBS: Millmead FC, Cobham Cougars
Tell us who is Marc outside of the club. What do you do, how would you describe yourself?
Away from the club, I am recently married to Thea. I am a keen runner and generally interested in fitness. I work as a bank manager, the less said about that the better.
How did you end up at Merton FC?
It was Chris Rayners fault.
What was your best moment in your MFC career till now?
Watching Ben Cook have to drink 6 pints on the bounce for consecutive infractions (6 before 6), also captaining the two’s to winning the league and reaching a cup final in the same season.
Can you remember your first game?
Ha ha, no 🙁
If you could play for a professional team, which would be it and why?
Leeds United. Only club for me.
Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?
Good solid breakfast, plenty of water and possibly a gingerbread man.
Lastly, share us your thoughts for the rest of the season?
Difficult start for the 2’s this year but we have the makings of a great squad and have started to pick up some good results. Hopefully can continue this into the new year and have a strong season.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON SO FAR (PREMIER LEAGUE OR ANY LEAGUE): Jamie Vardy
CHILDHOOD TEAM: Leeds United
FAVOURITE TEAM OUTSIDE THE UK: Hawthorne Hawks
CHILDHOOD HERO: Tony Yeboah
FAVOURITE FOOD: Italian
FAVOURITE DRINK: Rum & Ginger
FAVOURITE BAND: One Direction
Merton 4s vs. Actonians Association
5s SAL Minor Division 1 South
Saturday 14th November 2015
After the disappointing drubbing we received from Economicals in the AFA Cup last week (we that is best forgotten), it was back to the league campaign and the home tie against Actonians Association. Having defeating us on their home turf already this season, we knew we were in for a tough day.
There was concern that we were going to be without a referee until on the stroke of KO he finally arrived being accompanied by a brolly due to the standard British weather at this time of the year. Following a minutes silence to pay respect to the families that lost loved ones following the attacks that took place in Paris, the game was finally ready to get underway.
We lined up slightly different this week. It was clear during last weeks’ game, and other previous performances for that matter, that we were getting overpowered in the midfield and also struggling with support defensively. We decided to play a 5-3-2 formation with myself and John Gridley playing as wing backs. A number of our regulars were unavailable so we welcomes Aaron back into the mix along with Sevan Mutafyan who decided that he had spent enough time away from the game! Steve Burchell also helped us out and thanks needs to go to Clive (5s Manager) for allowing us to use him.
We starting brightly and kept out shape for the majority of the first half. We were compact and creating enough chances to stay in the game. Actonians had the better opportunity however Sam was at his best to prevent them from taking an early lead. His impressive form continued throughout the first half. The one goal that we did concede was on the counter attack after a goal kick with intercepted. 1-0 at half time.
The second period was one that the referee, and me personally, would like the forget quickly. We found ourselves 3-0 down following some good play by the visitors however we were made to finish the game of with a man less following my sending off for two bookable offences. The first was for an aerial challenge where I ‘apparently’ caught their number 17 with my studs on my way down. Following a number of incidents where this particular player over reacted it was clear that there was nothing in it however following a conversation between the player and the ref, I was brandished with my first yellow card as a result of the player saying that I caught him. Ridiculous!
My send yellow was a stupid one. The referee might have well been wearing blue and white as nothing was going out way. We were getting punished for every challenge that we made but the visitors got away with it. This included one player raising his hands to Ryan and another for taking Sam out when claiming a loose ball. Back to my second yellow that resulted in my dismissal. A decision was given against us for a silly tackle and out of frustration I kicked the ball away. The ref claimed that I kicked it ‘miles away’ however 5 second later the player had the ball in his hand ready to place the free kick.
The game finished 4-0 however with a little more work on the 5-3-2 formation I think the wins will start to come. Next week we travel to Dulwich to take on Alleyn Old Boys where nothing but a win is good enough!
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 0 – 4 Actonians Association 5s SCORER: None MOTM: Sam Singer-Ripley
STARTING LINE-UP: Samuel Singer-Ripley (GK), John Gridley, Glen Porter, Steve Burchell, Edward Plaistow, Chris Dodd (Sonny Kennedy), Aaron Ackerman (Ryan Burchell), Joe Plumridge, Chris Outred (Sevan Mutafyan), Dulanie Richards, Dom Plumridge.
Polytechnic 3 Merton 0 (HT 1-0) ISEH Senior Cup 2nd Round
It was a pretty miserable day all round what with the dreadful news from Paris and the weather forecast but I thought it better to get out and get wet rather than just mope around. So off to Chiswick and pretty dreadful weather but their pitch is pretty good and held up well. It rained the whole game. We started pretty well with a good shape and pressed the ball well. They are a good side but we looked to play aswell, We were a little unfortunate to go 1-0 down. The ref gave them a rather generous free kick when Weasel was too strong for their man and edged him out of the way. We did not clear their free kick well and after a bit of knockabout it went in the net. The rest of the half was pretty even and we had as much of the ball as them but they were more dangerous in the final third. Second half More rain and we started slowly and they pressed hard and made it 2-0 from a slightly fortuitous mis- strike which wrong footed our keeper and dribbled into the opposite corner. We rallied and created chances but they scored a really good goal to make it 3-0 with a move down our left cross and good finish. That was the end of the scoring and it got wetter not better. Poly are a good side and we played better than the score line would suggest. We battled to the end and played some pleasing football along the way. The Ref Tom Cannon had a good game with a sprinkling of slightly odd decisions. Not booking one of their players for calling him a retard and not booking one of their players for a bad foul right at the end. Proud of our team’s attitude and behaviour and overall performance Highlight for me was an excellent cup of tea at half time with biscuits and on reflection moping around at home should not be dismissed quite so lightly as an option.