Month: October 2016
This report is not going to be pretty so will keep and short and not so sweet!
This was our first league game of the season and with team slowly starting gel, hopes were high of getting our league campaign off to flier! How wrong we were!!
Things didn’t get off to the best of starts with players turning up late and one player, no names mentioned (JOHN!) not showing at all. This does not help when trying to get a warm up and starting 11 together and it really does put the team on the back foot straight away as concentration levels (by the manager!) was not at its best. To be fair, all involved have sent apologies, so let’s hope this is a one off.
Anyway to the game, we thought we would be in for a battle against a Carshalton team who ruffled a few Merton feathers in the past, however this was a new Carshalton team and from the off we could tell that this team was a team of good footballers and not hooligans. They were spraying passes from all over the place and most of the time found their target.
Anyway long and short of it was that we ended up losing 7-0. The only positive was that team never let their heads go down and did try to the end.
Anyway lets hope we can start afresh next week and put in a performance I know we are capable of.
Special mention to Josh, who gained a few votes and had a good game, but this week there was a clear winner in Dan P, who worked his sock off for 90 minutess and was unlucky not to grab a goal.
TEAM: Swanny, Ram, Martin, Kevin, Mark, Josh, Malcolm, Adam, Pete, Scott, Dan P
SUBS: Paul, Miguel
MAN OF THE MATCH: Dan Plaistow
DICK OF THE WEEK: Unanimous decision… John!
It was good to be back at the Hood for the first home game of a new season and with the comfort of three points from the previous Saturday’s win at Alexandra Park. It was also good to see that our recruitment drive had drawn in so many new players with six of the fourteen in our squad playing their first season and bringing down the age profile of the club.
Over the past two seasons I have always felt that we never quite got the results we deserved: A win would become a draw and a good point would be snatched from us in the dying minutes, but not today. Old Finchleians were lively and organised and their industry gradually secured them the upper hand.
They did not carve out that many opportunities, but after half an hour we carelessly gave the ball away inside our own half made a couple more defensive slips and their man was at the far post to drive the ball home.
In the second half we gave a slightly better showing but they carved out the better opportunities and missed them. Their strikers had a very off day as our keeper, Siraj, still did not have that much to do.
Their profligacy was punished, just as ours has been in the past and a one goal lead is seldom enough. A great ball out of defence from Ben Cook was controlled brilliantly by James Laughton and crossed to Jonny Graham who controlled it with a good first touch and buried with his second to make it 1-1 with 10 mins to go.
They still had time to win the game but missed to go golden opportunities and had a shout for a penalty. Another good move from our boys gave Jonny another chance to inflict even more pain on the visitors but he curled his shot over the bar. So in the end we were pleased with our point and they were disappointed with theirs. Our squad had a fresher look with some good young new members well marshalled by Clappers.
TEAM: Siraj (GK), Ben Victory, Ben Cook, Clappers (Capt), Clowesy, Sam, Woody, Will Lowe, Emilio,
Ivan, Tom Rowe
SUBS: James Laughton, Jonny Graham, Will Kearns)
AFA League Cup
Merton FC v Civil Service FC
A newly turfed…ish Hood ground set the scene for a blustery cup tie, the first of the season for the Boars’.
Virtually a new team from the previous weeks’ fixture, Merton set up in to a 4-5-1 formation with a late (and delighted) deputy of Frankie in between the sticks.
Skipper for the afternoon was Tony P. Merton started the game quietly, with the oppo having a lot of possession for the first 10 minutes of the half.
Lofty’s team had to make a change with the left back Alex taking a hard knock in a challenge, and had to be subbed after 15 minutes. Andy L then came on, and Ricky moved to left back. Between Ricky and Tony they had the non-enviable task of keeping tabs on their right winger for the entirety of the game.
A new back line kept cool and calm, and Merton nullified a few early threats on goal from Civil service,
Alberto was brought in to a deep-holding midfielder role in front of the two centre halves after 15 minutes. All of the oppo play was coming through the middle and held up by the two of their forwards. Alberto took up the role of sitting in front of Tony and Alex.
With more time in front of the back four now, Merton tried to press and switch the ball from side to side to Andy or Iain. With the pace, and also now the florescent pink boots that Donno has, Merton tried to utilise his pace by building play up either side of the oppo central defence for Donno to run on to.
The midfield was heavily swamped in the centre of the park from both sides around the half hour mark, and with limited chances up front, build up play down each wing was our best chance of creating something. Donno had so far been marked by their 6ft giant of a centre half up to this point, with every through ball attempted coming straight back to us.
The best chance of the half came from a through ball from the defence. Tony collected the ball from a throw in from Ricky on the left side. After turning past their forward who was had been tight the whole game, the midfield space in front opened up and a lofted through-ball to Donno presented an almost ‘one-on-one’ situation which rather than being slapped by the new pink boots, rolled down his leg in to the grateful keepers’ hands. Best chance of the game so far.
Further through balls to the Merton wingers were proving to be the threat that the oppo could not deal with.
The midfield were trying to hold the ball longer, although improvement on shape was needed. The back four were resolute and stuck to their shape throughout, something that Lofty had emphasised before the game must be focused on. A few scrappy chances, mainly created through the oppo by-passing the Merton midfield straight to their pacy winger were not taken, although Frankie made a great save with 10 mins of the half to play.
The breakthrough for Merton came just after, with Merton passing the ball across the back four from side to side, eventually to Andy L on the left side who was brought down in the area. Penalty given.
Tony P placed the ball on the spot and in a Di Canio fashion calmly executed a panenka down the middle of the goal to make it 1-0 to Merton towards the end of the half.
Further chances were spawned by Merton, with a frustrated Donno picking up a booking. It was clear that James with his pace and quality needed the ball more to feed the forwards, and for Merton to hold the ball more in midfield.
All in all an encouraging half for Merton, one which we deserved to be ahead in. Second half, James off and Joe (with beard) on to provide that ball kept and retained in the midfield. The oppo made no changes and started the second half well. Balls out to both of their wingers followed the same pattern as the first half. The oppo started the second as they did the first half on the front foot. Lessons learned form the first half, keep shape throughout, keep possession higher up the pitch, and ball on floor. The first chance of the second half for Merton came from possession held in the middle of the park, Alberto, to Dave S – whom produced a great through ball to Joe, who rather than shooting dragged back and squared to Donno who struck an effort that was on target straight to the defender, collected the rebound and squared to Joe who blasted over from 5 yards out. Opportunity missed.
The game became stretched with the Merton midfield legs tiring. Ricky was doing a great job, keeping tabs on their best player. A cut inside from their winger saw a great save from Frankie palm this over the bar. The subsequent corner led to a clearance by the head from Tony to the edge of the area, Merton did not clear and after a bit of pin-ball, a fortunate cross in by their winger then landed to their forward who had been static for most the game – ball tamely struck past Frankie in to the goal. 1-1 with 20 mins left to play.
Feeling hard done by Merton rallied and held the ball down in midfield, James L coming back on. The two centre halves cleared danger over and over as the oppo pressing became routine and predictable. Great play by Dave S and James L nearly resulted in a Merton equaliser, however the goal did not come. A twisting and turning run by Donno through the centre circle, past 4-5 oppo players almost resulted in an opportunity, yet the score was to end 1-1 at full time.
Straight to pens.
Having been 2-0 down from the first two spot kicks, Merton needed a hero. Or as it turned out…four!
Donno, James, and Dave S put away their spot kicks, with Civil Service subsequently missing two in a row after putting in their first two. 3-2 to Merton. Civil Service had to score their final spot kick to make it 3-3 and go to sudden death.
Frankie held his nerve and stood firm in the centre of the goal to save the spot kick and a jubilant Merton progressed to the next round with a 3-2 win on penalties.
A game that should have been put to bed in normal time, but Merton showed a togetherness and team spirit that could not be broken.
On to the next round boars … on we trot…
Scorers – normal time
Tony P (pen) 35 mins
Scorers – extra time penalties
James L 90+
Dave S 90+
Booked – Donno 25 mins
MOTM: Frankie (penalty wizard)
DOTM: Donno (the boots/the booking/the volatile flirting with the ref ..?)
After a good result last week the 3s sleeked another good result at the hood. Kick off was delayed by 5 minutes as the oppo had a couple of players still finding their way from Enfield.
The first 10 or 15 minutes or so Merton were on top, working hard, pressing high up the pitch and making it tough for Broomfield to get in to any kind of rhythm.
Having said that the boars failed to really get the passing game from the week before going although Tony the captain was making his views known on the pitch.
The 4-3-3 formation was proving to be going okay and it was a pretty even first half if the truth be told. Ricardo and Walshy the Left and Right backs respectively were looking after their wingers and Jack and Tony organising the team from the back winning the headers every time the oppo lumped it up to their forwards.
Mustard, Neal and Alberto all working hard in the midfield three taking it in turns to press the ball and move up to support the forwards.
Ian and Glenn (not sure if its one n or 2) were given a license to support Donno (whose boots were outrageous by the way – bright pink)
After about 20 minutes or so and Merton restricting the oppo to long range efforts Merton sustained some pressure on the Broomfield goal. Good work from Glenn (with 2 n’s) on some good attacking play on the left as he teased the oppos right back and what seemed to have been making things happen. Ian worked hard on the right hand side of the pitch and played some neat football with Neal and before sending the ball over the top for Donno to latch on to, only to be given offside. Some fans on the touchline argued with the ref as it was impossible to see anything with those pink boots dazing everyone’s vision.
3 or 4 consecutive corners led Mustard to act like a man possessed. Glenn whipping in several good corners with Walshy and co getting nowhere near them as usual, the ball bouncing off everyone like a ping pong ball and eventually falling to Mustard. He smashed it each time low and hard and again it boomeranged back to him but eventually slicing one wide of the post.
Broomfield lived through that bit of pressure and Mustard was penalised for another handball but this time in their penalty area. The Merton lads found the funny side.
He then also repeated the incident again whilst blocking a shot from the oppo as he chased down their midfielder shooting from the edge of the box but this week no penalty was given.
Towards the end of the half Broomfield get a corner. Whilst everyone was marked they cross the ball on to our 6 yard box where their player heads the ball home. 0-1 Broomfield.
It was a scrappy goal, another set piece we didn’t attack or deal with but the header looped over Fitz and one of our lads on the post couldn’t reach it. It is worth noting that Fitz pulled off a couple of great saves.
Second half we made a few changes in personnel and formation.
4-4-2 with Ian moving to centre Midfield with Neal. Frankie replaced Alberto as a winger and Denys came on for Mustard but playing up top with Donno.
Frankie’s instructions were simple… run at their full back and connect up the play. Denys to hold the ball up.
We began okay second half we started to create a few chances but never really got in behind them. Except when Tony (I think) pinged a ball about 30 yards over the top when Glenn controlled like Messi with his left foot and shot across the goalkeeper from about 10 yards out. The keeper pulls off a worldy and knocks it around the post with his shin. Pressure was again mounting and whilst we were not showing our true quality we were doing our best to grind out a result. .
Soon after this the oppo countered and spent several minutes in our half where their winger skipped around Mustard who battled hard to catch him before Walshy dived in and gave away a pen. 0-2 Broomfield.
Heads began dropping but we only had ourselves to blame.
Frankie continued to upset the oppo by acting like a raging bull and chasing everything and leaving a foot in here and there. In doing so though he got injured (ankle) and the boars were forced to take him off.
Mustard came back on for what seemed like moments before Frankie decided he was fit again and wanted to go back on. Vin pulls mustard off AGAIN who seemed extremely upset to have been asked to be sub again. Walshy also goes down and hobbles off after a possible broken toe.
Another shake up required, mustard and Alberto back on and jack off.
New formation 3-4-3.
Ricardo is asked to push on and does a good job of providing a more direct route. Neal was booked after having a disagreement with Tony and taking out on their midfielder with a lunging challenge. Ian got a yellow for grabbing the oppo players face (accidentally)
Right near the end of the game and with our lads having to go up field and gamble Broomfield broke forward, Ian was our last man back but being turned inside out before their bloke passed it in to the top corner. 0-3 Broomfield.
Bad result but we didn’t really deserve anything if we are honest.
The Merton 4s. 4 games. 4 heavy defeats. That’s how this grim 2016/17 campaign had started. But, as with any wretched run, there is always the next game to break the cycle. This week it came in the form of the Cup, which presented an excellent opportunity for a much-needed win.
Team: Kieran Lee (GK), Ed Plaistow, Mike Todt, Dan Gridley, Will Harrison, Clive Corrigan, Noor Emad, Chris Outred, Joe Underwood, Cameron Brooks, Dom Plumridge
Subs: Luke Newman, Anam Hassan, Chris Dodd
MOTM: Dom Plumridge
DOTD: N/A – great performance
Difficult result to take this week, especially with the game evenly poised 1-1 with 8 minutes to play!
A solid start to the game and it was a close game between two evenly matched teams, with chances being at a minimum throughout the first half.
A couple of close chances for Hanworth and they took their first clear opportunity and took a 1-0 lead. We carried on battling and creating space but could not find the opportunities to score a goal.
Solid performance continued into second half, creating marginally more chances but that was the theme of the game. Limited chances throughout, it seemed like it had 1-0 written all over it!
We managed to grab an equaliser from Jake D and looked like we could nick a winner. However, another sloppy goal gave them a 2-1 lead.
Our heads dropped and gifted them 2 further goals, leaving with a 4-1 defeat. It was not that score line, a much closer game than the score shows.
Heads up and go again
Up the Merton
Alrighty, its results time (#lookawaynow)… the 1s lost a tough battle 1-0 to Civil Service. The 2s lost an even more titanic battle 3-2 after extra time against South Bank. Great effort lads. Rumour has it there were some tired legs by the end of it. 3s went down 3-0 against Broomfield. 6s lost 4-2 in a good game against Old Blues. No game for Clive’s magic 5s. However, they spread their winning mirth to the 4s by lending a few soldiers… after being 2-0 down against Winchmore Hill, the 4s stormed to a 5-2 win – thanks in no small part to the brilliance of Dom Plumridge, who banked 4 goals. Much needed win, well done boys!
The Youth section have been flying the Merton flag high once again. Today’s results are as follows:
U9s match postponed.
U11s lost 6-2 against Molesey Juniors.
U13s beat Rocks Lane Utd by a resounding score of 14-0. Congrats boys!…
U14s were equally impressive, beating Stoneleigh Ath 6-1.
U15s lost 4-1 against Hanworth Sports.
Well done guys!
Another frustrating score line for Merton 6’s going down 4-1 at home to Old Salesians 3’s with the result not matching the performance. It was a very evenly matched game played in a competitive nature where either team would have been happy to walk away with a draw. It just seems that the team is being punished for every mistake or lapse of concentration so far this season and our attacking play not yielding the goals it deserves. At least the cup games are giving the squad the opportunity to get these issues out of the system before the league fully gets under way.
Old Salesians pinched the league from a corner midway through the first half, a very good delivery came in and after a scramble which included a brave goal line clearance from Ty (well a ball flat in the face and little was known about it!) the ball fell kindly to an unopposed player to slot home. Merton nearly drew level when a delivery from Paul or Chris (Can’t remember who so both have the credit) found Pete who produced a spectacular volley which somehow the goalkeeper managed to save and to be honest it just hit him, again Merton really not getting the rub of the green.
The game continued to go back and forth with little other opportunities in the first half and Merton going in 1-0 down at half time. The second half begin with Merton on top but the side could not quite find the composure in the final 3rd to convert pressure into goals. Corners, free kicks and long shots came without a serious threat on target. The gaffer was beginning to throw his toys out of his pram as Chris tried his best with a few long range efforts into the children’s playground. Paul got down the flank countless times and delivered from the touch line without the players attacking to box able to convert.
And then it happened out of nothing Merton found themselves 2-0 down. There was no massive danger and the defence was well placed. A through ball blocked by Femi diverted out of the way of the collecting goalkeeper Lee with the ball almost in slow motion dribbling over the line, another massive slice of bad luck. It could of got worse if it wasn’t for another goal line clearance from Ram which this time diverted more kindly for us.
Merton’s heads remained high and the team continued to fight and then finally we were back in the game at 2-1. A deliver from a set-piece found the gaffer in space who leapt like a salmon to nod the ball over the approaching goalkeeper.
As the last 10minutes approached and with Merton chasing the game 2 quick goals came to kill the game. Less said about how these 2 goals came the better, lets just say all 4 goals that did come could have easily been avoided.
The positives are that despite the score lines games have been competitive, good football has been played and the team has always fought until the end. If it wasn’t for mistakes and bad luck all of the results could have been very different. Let’s hope the football gets the results it deserves when the league season begins.
Team: Lee, Ram, Chappell, Kevin, Femi, Ty, Jamie, Chris, Dan P, Paul and Pete.
Subs: George, Josh and Malcolm.
Dog of the Week: Even though he helped us out, Lee is awarded Dog for some flapping mistakes.
Man of the Match: Close this week with Kev, Chris, Jamie, Ty and Ram all having 2 votes each until the last vote came in. The final vote went to Ty somehow!!! Maybe it’s because I’m writing the match report or because I moaned at everyone for not voting but I promise it was no fix. Gaffer voted for me and said it’s because I always tried to do the right thing, not necessary that it always came off……
Another Saturday, another game.
Aaron Byrne here giving you the weekly match report due to Luke’s mysterious disappearance. I have been told he is waiting to be released from daycare… Lets hope order is soon restored.
The Clash –
Top of the table clash against Old Wilsonian’s. An away game with a lot at stake, could the magnificent 5’s actually top the table? With Merton 5’s on a roll, another day at the office, 4 from 4 was the mindset before the game.
“Can lighting strike four times?” was Dwayne Bedford’s motto before the game. Im sure the boy was itching to take another tumble 😉 Meanwhile Josh seemed intent on getting the match ball this week as he arrived with his game face on, maybe it was all the Zlatan comparisons that had him motivated. Our beloved Jayden Smith never fails to entertain and did himself no favours when he was quite frankly showing off his rear end to the lads during the stretches, lucky for him Lee Leenihan was not with us. If you’ve played for Merton 5’s before you should be familiar with Naked Lee Time by now.
The starting Line Up:
Sam was the man behind the sticks, Delman and Josh as our usual right and left back. Darren in centre back partnered with the experienced Steve Burchell. Ackers (Aaron) was our skipper, playing the holding mid role backed by Clive in midfield. I (Aaron Byrne) was as usual on the wings with Dwayne. Dulanje was up top, partnered with the return of the welsh assassin Rich who needs to get the ball rolling into the net.
Tom, Anam and Samurai Steve started on the bench.
Merton 5’s started the game on the back foot, allowing the home team to have more of the possession for the first 15/20 mins or so. We soaked up pressure the first 15 mins thanks to our marvellous De Gea in goal. Our amazing Sam did not seem to be affected by his birthday antics the night before, pulling off 4 fantastic saves in the first half! Both teams created a few decent chances, but the defence was solid.
Josh was reading everything at the back, not allowing his attacker a sniff of space. We even had Dwayne dropping back, with brilliantly timed sliding challenges, perhaps a potential change in position? Merton looked particularly deadly on the counter, bursting out from the wings, with good link up play with the two men up front. Ackers and Clive did a good job in holding the ball up in the centre of the park.
The goal –
The moment came around the 30th minute mark, Super Sam played a brilliant long ball from the goal kick, that flew over the whole midfield, into the path of the centre backs, allowing the tricky Aaron Byrne to latch onto it. Noticing the keeper sleeping of his line, he casually hit a brilliant 30 yard lob timed to perfection which dinked over the keeper into the back of the net. Poor keeper was caught up daydreaming probably thinking about his next pint, to be fair he did try his best to make it back, i’m sure lots of calories were lost in that moment.
Second half –
Another good half by merton, in truth the first 30 mins of this half were a lot easier than the remainder. This game should of been dead and buried by the 60-70th mark..
Striker Dulanje had a handful of chances that could of been in the back of the net on another day, I should have also added to my tally with a miss in the box that led to a throw in to the opposition. We both blame the rain for not having a brace each. Even Delman got in on the misses almost defying the odds with a goal, after making a great run. Rich played a deeper role in the second half holding the ball up well bombing forward like a mighty white Yaya Toure.
Substitutes Anam, Tom Reid and Steve Harvey all filled in well to grind out the result in the end, playing positions they don’t usually play in for the benefit of the team. Well done lads.
The last 15 mins was a tight affair, with the team going into defence mode to grind out the result, although a few counter attacking chances missed could of made it 2-0.
Full time, another clean sheet. 1-0 victory. 3rd (only on goal difference). Come on!
Man of the match-
Let’s thanks ‘keeper Sam Ripley for showing up and not going missing on his birthday like something you’d see in a movie! On this occasion he takes the match ball. 6/7 great saves in the match that earned him a clean sheet. Vocal, brilliant handling, and excellent delivery from his goal kicks, Add in his assist for the winning goal.