Month: February 2016
The match against HSBC 4s was classed as a home game, but the very identity regarding such a phrase was rather dubious. Initially the fixture was due to take place at the Hood – a venue the Merton 4s could barely remember. It then changed to Wimbledon Common Extensions, a site where the lads had shipped 17 goals in just two games.
So when it was finally moved to King George’s, it was with some surprise that a half-decent pitch greeted the men in Yellow. Although the pitch last week wasn’t an excuse for what was still a poor performance, the key would be to put that one behind us, and get back on track against a side that didn’t look too flash, and were also struggling in the lower reaches of the table.
Game on, and despite having much of the wind against them, Merton began on the front foot. Still 4-5-1, the midfield looked superior, with Joe, Dan Gridley and Mikey working hard. Neal Davidson and Dulanie on either wing were finding themselves in acres of space, and were creating all sorts of problems for the HSBC defence, and goalkeeper.
It seemed only a matter of time before the goal came, and so it was. Except it came at the other end. The visitors launched a nothing long ball, but Mike miscued his header. However, the finish that followed was a thumping, first-time volley with the left foot from 25 yards, which left Sam no chance. Sometimes you just need to tip your cap to the oppo. 1-0.
However, no excuses for the second goal. This time Mike misjudged yet another long ball, which sailed over his head, allowing the opposing striker to get in behind. His touch was good, and his finish in a one-on-one with Sam was even better. 2-0 midway through the half. Scarcely believable given Merton’s domination of the play. Was it just going to be one of those days?
The Yellows kept their heads up though, and put their noses to the grindstone. And they continued to pose a significant goal threat. Other than one break away chance for HSBC, it was all Merton. Set pieces, long balls and even some good interplay in the opponents half seemed to produce the same agonising result time and again. The ball would bob around the face of goal, but no one could get a toe, head or anything onto it and the visitors would somehow hack it clear.
The whistle went, and a beleaguered home side trudged off for the break wondering how on earth they were losing this game. But they were determined. They’d come back from a deficit like this before against Old Wilsonians earlier in the season, and on this occasion they could definitively claim to be the better side. It just took one goal, and they knew everything would change.
So when play resumed, Merton went for it. And it was good football too. They used the width, they bossed the midfield, and they carved out an inordinate amount of half; even three-quarter chances. But time and again, without relent, the ball just would not fall for them on the countless occasions that it bobbed around in the HSBC box. And when it did, the defenders or goalkeeper would get in the way of it – more by accident than design.
They came even closer when, after a weak HSBC clearance, Scholesy latched onto a loose ball just outside the 18-yard area. With his allegedly weaker right foot, he unleashed a rocketing curler that had the keeper beaten all ends up, and looked destined to nestle into the right-hand corner. Excruciatingly though, the ball snuck past; mere centimetres wide of the post.
But if that was frustrating, what followed was truly galling. On a rare occasion that the visitors found themselves in the Merton half, they won a free kick in a dangerous position. The marking was pretty shoddy, and an HSBC head got on the end of the delivery. The looping header bounced and bounced and bounced, and somehow snuck in off the post. 3-0. Smash and grab. Heart-breaking, and completely at odds with how the game had actually gone.
A broken Merton side could have easily given up the ghost. But, with 15 minutes to go, they threw caution to the wind. The chances kept streaming in, and, FINALLY, one of them ended in a goal. The ball bobbled around agonisingly from a Dan Gridley free kick that rebounded off the post, and even though the HSBC defending was appalling, it threatened to escape the clutches of a Yellow player YET again. However, after a goalmouth scramble, the ball fell to Dom, who smashed it home. 3-1. 10 to go.
And a few minutes later, Merton had their second. In similar fashion to the scrappy opener, the hosts this time won a corner. And once again, the ball hopped around the penalty spot after a fine delivery from Mikey, not falling for anyone in particular. Eventually it came to Dom again, in an almost identical position to the one he was in just before, and managed to sneak the ball over the line.
Merton hurried back to the halfway line while the visitors were claiming that the ball hadn’t crossed the line. It was a tight call by the referee and HSBC were right to appeal, trying their utmost to protest by virtue of demonstrating where the divot from the clearance was. Nevertheless, the decision stood. 3-2 with three minutes to go.
It was a Yellow siege for the closing exchanges, but this time, the lads were unable to carve out any chances of significance as they camped in the HSBC half. The final whistle then closed the curtain on what had been a desperately disappointing afternoon. This really was three points that got away, against a side that were there for the taking, and had pulled off a swindle on Merton.
But it is the scoreboard that counts. Two games left to make it right – one of them, as it turns out, against the same opposition. A good opportunity to exact revenge, and, more importantly, some much-need points.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 2 – 3 HSBC 4s SCORERS: Dom Plumridge (2) MOTM: Dom Plumridge
STARTING LINE-UP: Samuel Singer-Ripley (GK), Billy Dowie, Mike Todt, Chris Outred (Capt.), Edward Plaistow, Neal Davison (Ryan Burchell), Joe Plumridge (Sevan Mutafyan), Mike Elgar, Danny Gridley, Dulanie Richards, Dom Plumridge.
All boys turned up on a cold windy pitch in Hersham.
Started really well with 2 great goals from Jam Jam up front. Oliver Khan in goal then produced 2 really important saves.
2nd Half Jamal assisted 2 goals for Zion to score and then another assist for Thomas.
Nayam was man of match and was like a collosus in centre defence with outstanding heading and control with ball.
Merton were so strong and this could easily have resulted in us scoring 10+ goals only Walton FC keepers kept score down.
Onwards to cup final date to be confirmed….we really hope whole club can come and watch these youngsters on the day.
Mean the world to them a great crowd.
Must end on 2 points…….managers Steve and Matt for all their tireless effort and parents who are so great and always cheer lads on.
Big thanks to all….. Wembley here we come.
Good News. Peter is out of hospital. After a particularly nasty injury following an accidental clash with the Ibis Eagles keeper Peter has spent the week in hospital defying medical science but has been released today. Out for the rest of the season but is going to come and watch the 6s next home game. Never for the squemish and probably not wise but good to see him.
Haven’t played at the home ground for a while, wondering why home games have been called off or played at other grounds? These are the current condition of the Hood’s three pitches, they need working on to get them playable again. They are slowly drying out but very uneven in places. We need volunteers to help out to get these pitches playable again.
Another grey, wet Saturday; another day of authentic grassroots football in the mud awaited. With the Hood once again out of commission, the venue was Wimbledon Common Extensions – a place where the Merton 4s had suffered an 8-0 defeat a month before.
The opponents for this fixture were the table-topping heavyweights Polytechnics. However, with two successive wins in their back pocket, and four from their previous five, Merton had reason to feel confident of giving the pace-setters a run for their money. The line-up was announced, 4-5-1 formation it would be, and the lads were ready to go.
And as dream starts go, you’d struggle to have topped this one. Poly kicked things off, Merton pressed forward as one and intercepted. The through ball for Dulanie was too long, but he never gave up the ghost, laying siege to the advancing goalkeeper, who panicked, tumbled, and fumbled. Dulanie gleefully lapped the ball up, rounded him, and walked the ball into the net. 1-0, with less than a minute gone.
And then the referee blew the final whistle, and the Yellows celebrated a great win and 3 fantastic points!
A minute later, an almost identical goal ensued for the visitors, with Sam unable to cling to a long-range shot. Their striker walked the rebound in, and after two minutes – which may as well not have happened – the score was 1-1.
And a few minutes later, it got worse, much worse. Play resumed, and Poly were allowed to advance. They cut through midfield, put their striker through, and he rounded Sam. However, his resultant shot was weak, and Mike, who was tracking back, had the easiest goal-line clearance in the world to make. Yet he somehow failed to connect with the barely-moving ball, and it trickled through his legs and over the line. 2-1. Unbelievable.
Play resumed once again, and while 10 men in Yellow were probably still rueing the fact that Mike hadn’t stayed with the 3s after all (or just stayed at home!), Poly made it three with a bit of magic. Nothing much was happening as they advanced through midfield, until their striker unleashed a thunderbolt from 30 yards. It soared; it swerved and snuck in off the underside of the crossbar. No chance for Sam and a shell-shocked Merton were suddenly 3-1 down.
Things settled down somewhat, but the Yellows weren’t really at the races. The visitors’ defence was nothing too flash, and they gambled by playing three at the back. But the hosts were struggling to build any sustained interplay and thus never put them under much pressure.
But Poly had no such problems before the half was finished, their rampant attack added a fourth, and then a fifth, to leave a hapless Merton side digesting a 5-1 score line at the break. Game long gone, all that could happen now was an attempt to restore some pride. The plan to do so was to press higher, and set the offside trap.
And for 15 minutes of the 2nd half, it worked a treat. Merton advanced as one, squeezing their opponents, who seemed perplexed by the home side’s new-found savvy tactics. Spirits were steadily rising, the Yellows were cajoling each other, and with Arnold and Dulanie game fully chasing everything down, there was a significant goal threat to boot.
But then just after the hour mark, a poor bit of refereeing brought all of that crashing down. Poly had possession; the Merton defence squeezed forward once again, and played their strikers offside when the through ball came. Sadly, the ref didn’t see it that way. The silence of the lack of whistle was deafening, and the big Poly lad couldn’t believe his luck as he coasted onto the ball and put past Sam in a one-on-one.
6-1 it was, and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In amongst the humiliation of watching the scoreboard tick over from 6, to 7, to 8, and then 9, Merton were able to pull one back. The tireless Jake did ever so well to intercept in the opponents’ half, and he clinically rolled the ball past the keeper with his left foot to double the Yellows’ score.
But, his amusing goal celebration aside, it was scant consolation for a Merton side who were thoroughly thrashed on their home turf. Yes, the pitch was appalling, and yes, the opponents were clearly strong. But this had been a poor, poor performance. Dom said it best afterwards: “We’ll put this one down as a mishap boys.
Indeed, no point harping on about it, and this match was best consigned to history. After all, this team has done some good things in the last couple of months, and with three games still to go, will be hopeful of climbing up the table with significantly easier opposition awaiting. It starts next week against HSBC.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 2 – 9 Old Wilsonians 4s SCORERS: Dulanie Richards, Jake Hewitt MOTM: Arnold Collier/Dulanie Richards
STARTING LINE-UP: Samuel Singer-Ripley (GK), John Gridley (Arnold Collier), Mike Todt, Chris Outred (Capt.), Edward Plaistow, Sevan Mutafyan, Joe Plumridge, Mike Elgar (Glen Porter), Jake Hewitt, Dulanie Richards, Dom Plumridge.
Merton Res 0 Actonians Assoc Res 3 (HT 0-1)
We managed to get the game played but only by dint of booking the 3G surface at Tooting and Mitcham and then by kicking off at 5pm. This cost us a few players but with the 3s being washed out at King Georges we had a full compliment with the welcome addition of Will Taylor back from Sydney for the rest of the season. It was a good game but on a fast 3G surface it discouraged any measured football with Merton especially playing a fast and furious game. Actonians were a strong well organised side and deserved their win. They went ahead on 25 mins when a miscommunication at the backallowed the free kick in at th far post.. Strangely although Actonians had the majority of play the two best chances fell to Oli who was played through but could not finish and their Keeper made a couple of really good saves. Their second half dominance deserved two more goals and the final score of 3-0 was not totally unfair. The game was played in a pretty good spirit and it was a nice to watch. For our part Connor Murphy had another outstanding game, Pearcey put in another solid performance and Robin in midfield looked a class act. Will Taylor, Oli and Dq worked well upfront but they were feeding off crumbs. There are enough games left for us to pull out of this relegation position but we need to turn this round pretty quick. Whilst we are pretty good at now at getting are kit on we still have not quite mastered taking it off and there are some miscreants. Shirts should be the right way round (Name and shame – Oli/22 and Robin /4) and socks are still seem to be a mystery. So put in laundry bag the right way rouund, stretched out and individually, resisting all temptation to tie them together or put one inside the other. Simple !!!
MERTON FC – CLUB EVENTS 2016
Fancy being a Referee? Agree to Ref Merton Home games for a season and we will pay for your course
West London Based Referees Course
The course will take place at Old Actonians Sports Association which is near Gunnersbury Park and Acton. The course includes practical / demonstration sessions plus classroom / theory sessions which will all take place at the same venue.
The course timetable is as follows:
Sunday 3rd April 2016
10.00am – 4.00pm
Unit 2 : Practical Training
Thursday 7th April 2016
7.00pm – 10.00pm
Unit 3: Fouls and Misconduct
Sunday 10th April 2016
10.00am – 4.00pm
Unit 4: Practical Training and Evaluation
Unusually the weather in north London was better than South London. As you know in the South we get lots more sunshine and it is several degrees warmer but not this Saturday and whilst the Hood was unequivocally unplayable EBOG was on. Although as we travelled slowly round the M25 news came in of the 1s postponement we felt increasingly concerned that our game would be called off but no the game was on their pitches were playable. They were very boggy however and it was a credit to both teams that we had such a good game to watch with both teams trying to play. The bad news was that our ref was being assessed and this may be why our game had linos whilst EBOG 1s playing and losing 4-0 to CEV did not. We had played EBOG a few weeks ago at WCE and drawn 3-3 and they had shown themselves to be a pretty good and organised side. The game was pretty even although EBOG had the best of the chances. Mustard came the closest to scoring when he got first to the near post cross and put a bullet header just wide and out for a corner to our immense relief. Sherbs saved well when their forward was through and acrobatically from a header. Mustard cleared off the line from a great header from one of their many corners. The only other feature of the first half was DQ being flagged offside a record number of times which not unreasonably he attributed to advancing years. Firstly the linos and also that the lino did not understand that the greying DQ could still have such blinding pace. We started the second half with some optimism as we had the wind to help. It was in fact a pretty even second half with Sherbs continuing to keep them out and us getting forward better, We had three good shouts for a pens but not given although the lino gave one only to overruled by the ref. They had the ball in the net from a great move in the last five mins but the flagging lino came to our rescue for what looked like a good goal. A draw was affair result and all of our boys put in a great shift. The back Four with a changing cast Joe/Clowesy /Mustard/Connor/ Pearcey /Liam were outstanding and Sherbs deserved his unanimous man of the match vote. The talk in the dressing room before the game was that no one could remember us ever having a goalless draw (or a clean sheet probably) so next week DQ was suggesting we should remember that we have not spanked anyone 5 or 6 for a long time. Or more realistically we have not beaten anyone for a while. The ref and his linos did agood job and EBOGs hospitality and welcome was appreciated. They had some good signs up in the changing rooms that we could learn from.