Old Wilsons 8s v Merton 7s
“Footballs a funny old game”… and today personifies it on so many levels. Freezing cold day, ice in the shade, groundsman turns up late leaving all the teams outside for half hour waiting to get in. on an ironic level, we get to share our changing room with Civ 8s, which the 7s wasted no time digging out there manager for his video match report from a few weeks back!!
Out on the pitch, OW8s can be seen drafting players from the higher teams, making sure that between there 7s and 8s, there well balanced and ready to give the oppositions a good game. So facing up to very much different team than the last outing, it was a call for calm amongst the 7s
Starting with the elusive Kieran in goal, who was frogged marched to the ground by the old stalwart Martin, who in turn takes up the centre of defence with Tom, flanked by Josh & Steve to make up the back 4, across the middle is last week’s hero, Andrew on the right, Luke and David in the middle and Ryan on the left, with Niall and Billy coming back up top to complete the 4 4 2 formation that did so well last week (be it in the second half only!), and we also welcome back Noor, as the twelfth man
From the start, OWs had the intent to press and move the ball around quick, the players drafted in from the higher team’s stand out like a saw thumb, passing and moving at pace, it wasn’t long before Kieran was in action.
Once the 7s settled, David and Luke began to impose themselves on the game, getting tight to the opposite numbers and making sure that they got the tackles in early. The back 4 now seem more composed and pick up the forwards moves quite easily, this snuffing out any threats. Now having some joy, Both Niall and Billy work themselves into good shooting positions only to see them off target
However, unfortunate as it seems, it would be the good closing down that would backfire on the 7s, seeing a shoot from the edge of the box come through a melee of players, Andrew sticking a boot out to guide the ball past Kieran from close range to give the OWs the lead. 1-0 after no more than 15 minutes gone
Straight from kick off, the 7s compose themselves and pass the ball around fluently, working it down the right flank, great play from Niall and Billy to the ball round to Ryan who slots in at the far post to bring the scores level. 1-1
Although out paced, the marshalling of the back four and defence mid 2 of David & Luke contain the attacking threat and are well on top. Now resorting to a counter attack game, it’s becoming frequent that both the forwards are getting the best share of the spoils, only not to make good on the chances for the 7s to take the lead. In all of the hustle, Andrew has taken a knock to the knee and is having trouble, so Noor makes his long awaited re-debut for the 7s on the right wing
Late in the half and still on top, a free kick is award to the OWs for a heavy challenge. The ball floated in to the far post sees Steve back pedal and beat the striker to the ball, only for Kieran to be advancing with a fist to punch the ball away. The ball now loops over Kieran and into the net for 2-1.
Again, from kick off, its one way traffic, 5 or 6 clear cut chances go begging and it seems a good team talk at half time is called for to regain that composure
Second half starts with a flurry of shots, the old saying “if it was a boxing match, the ref would have stopped it” springs to mind, it’s all one way traffic. Niall heads the list for ‘misses’ of the day, these are just the ones off target. Billy also seems to have lost his shooting boots with just as many chances going astray. Even David can’t seem to find the target with 3 clear headers from corners not even being on target, which is not like him. The 7s even had 3 chances cleared off the line, onto the post and by the backside of a defender… Ryan joins in on the act with only missing 3 guilt edge chances.
Even with all the play, there was still time for some real ‘carry on defending’ moments, notably a game of head tennis between Martin, David and Steve which included the cross bar in a half arsed attempt to clear a tame shot under sheer panic
Still pressing, gaps are begging to open up and tired legs are setting in, the 7s are running themselves into the ground, its only with some last ditch challenges (some a bit late!) that the score stays at 2-1, but with a clash of players after another ‘late’ish tackle’ it’s a full on 11v11 standoff, the ref does well not to book anyone but demands that everyone leaves there handbags on the side line. With only minutes to play and silly little niggling tackles creeping in, the ref blows up to stop any further ‘toys out of the pram moments’ and its handshakes all round
Now, not taking anything away from OWs, they picked a loaded team to contain the 7s with 3 very quick players in and around the middle to keep the ball moving, but on any other day, the score line would have been in the double figures. It was more of the 7s not taking ANY of their 30+ chances that lost the game as opposed to the opposition winning it through better football… It’s not often the oppo don’t score, you score 3 and lose 2-1… that’s because “Footballs a funny old game”
MOTM: Tom, played well at the back in a 4 that really didn’t put a foot wrong in open play
DOTD: Niall. Out of the 103 chances he had, the chest & volley from 8 yards over the club house won the day, as it took the keeper ages to retrieve the ball!!
Team: Kieran, Josh, Tom, Martin, Steve, Andrew, David, Luke, Ryan, Billy Niall
Merton 5’s may have been a little late to the race to the top of the league, but they have took to the SAL Intermediate Novets Cup like a duck to… well you know the rest. After a confident and capable display against Norseman 6’s and a hearty 4-1 win (thanks to Darren for preventing the clean-sheet…again), we were to give this game a similar gritty approach. Up against Old Parkonians 7’s, we trained like only the maestro’s do, passing the ball around in a circle and demanding a first free pass.
It’s important to add that due to a few of the missing regulars, we opened the Merton 5’s doors to three Merton regulars, Denys z, Iain E, Neal D and Akram C. Starting with Neal and Iain in the centre midfield, they demanded focus and showed a true collaborative Merton spirit.
The game started with a fighting spirit from both teams, pushing to dominate control of the midfield. Opportunities were had at both ends, with defensive forces managing the attackers cleanly. The occasional break was had for the Old Parkonian’s, but credit goes to Lee for his capable catches of the ball. At the other end, Aaron had many a good opportunity, running onto the long ball, however, the referee gave offside. We still aren’t sure whether this is correct or Aaron is a devil to the defences (probs the latter). Furthermore, Phil (CB) had a good opportunity from a long cross from Darren, missing the goal by a margin – the keeper instead decided to sweep him out of the game, but alas, no penalty was given. The first half had all the ingredients of a draw for both teams, but credit goes to the keeper and the midfield for their dominant displays and confident handling of the ball.
The second half erupted with greater passion, both teams eager to score the first goal. The Parkonians edged closer, having some effective breaks through the middle, swamped by the central defenders to be put out for the throw-in. An effective through ball from their central midfield saw their striker collect their ball in the box, only for Lee (GK) to meet this with his own determined run, striding out confidently to block and defend the goal. A similar occasion occurred shortly after, with a powerful kick aimed at the target goal. If it wasn’t for the spines of Darren, Chris and Phil, who managed to deflect a string of shots aimed at the goal. As they say, fortune’s favours the brave, and today, Merton 5’s were brave for a favour. After a mature and well delivered cross, Aaron was on-hand to receive the cross at the back post. With a horde of defenders charging towards him, his composure was impressive. With all expecting an across the box finish, it was even more impressive to see him drill the ball low and left, with the keeper managing a weak save before the ball entered softly into the goal.
Merton had deserved this lead. They had worked consistently, as a team, and fought tooth and nail for this lead. Off went Aaron and his chase for the golden boot and on came Denys. With 15 minutes to go, the game could have gone either way. A low-drilled cross from the opposition had those on the front post unaware and the ball dribbled into the goal. Fortunately, the referee had already blown for it to be re-taken. Again, fortunes favours the brave! On the break and with minutes to play for, Merton 5’s countered down the right flank. With a well-positioned cross meeting the left foot of Denys, he calmy slotted the ball into the left-hand side of the net to make it 2-0. A note must go to Dwayne, Josh and Akram for their composure throughout both half’s, dictating the pace and dominating the game with precision passing, crosses and shots (well done to Dwayne for an excellent top-left bin shot – it should have gone in).
Merton 5’s were victorious, 2-0 against Parkonians 7’s and moved through into the third stage. A credit goes to the whole team and whilst MOM ended close with Neil (5 votes) and Lee (4 votes), many others names featured (Chris 3 votes). Good luck to Merton 5’s in their coming league and cup matches.
Actonians Association 8’s vs Merton FC 5’s
Saturday 9th December 2017 14:00
It was a cold Saturday morning and having seen all home games being called off early we thought there may be a danger of our game being called off as well. The sun obviously shines a bit more in west London as the pitch had thawed out, game on.
Once changed, we were treated to an additional warm-up. The 5 minute walk to the pitch. Not that this seemed to have warmed our players up as half of them went to the café for a hot chocolate and brownie. Not the sort of warm up Dwayne was hoping for the team. Josh needing an extra bit of warmth played the first 20 minutes with his hoodie under his shirt. Aaron Byrne tried to get an extra pair of socks on but his hands were too cold to pull them up. Even the boy from the Valleys, Richard Gibbs was wearing gloves.
After everyone was unsuitably dressed with more layers than the Michelin-Man and the ref finally arriving at 14:05, obviously not realising that we wouldn’t be on the main pitches, we kick off.
Actonians started confidently, which we thought they would do seeing as they are near the top of the table, we manage to contain them by winning the first ball, but we were failing to pick up the second ball. We weathered the storm well with Lee commanding the area to collect anything that came through.
About halfway through the first half we start to create a few more chances and we earn a corner. Josh took the corner from our right hand side swinging it in to the near post. Darren making a good run from the back stick arrives unmarked for a free header to go over narrowly the bar. Opportunity missed.
Not much later Actonians attack down our left hand side and put in a great cross to the back stick, Stormzy wasn’t close enough to the winger who heads the ball into the net.
We do a time check as Lee mentions he needs a bathroom break, there’s still 10 minutes to half time. Then about 3 minutes later the whistle goes, halt time. We can then hear cries from the opposition, shouting that this half was only 38 minutes long.
Halftime team talk went as well as can be expected. Lee dashed off to the toilet, and we knew what we were doing wrong. This game is not over. Two changes made with Jamie Clark coming on for Aaron Ackerman and Ricardo Iglesias replacing Stormzy at right back.
We started reasonably well but didn’t manage to create anything concrete in the final third and the long ball was being goggled up by the Actonians defence. We concede a corner which was well defended and Dwayne was in possession at our left hand post, trying to get it on his stronger foot to clear, his clearance went across the box and landed to an Actonians player on the edge of the box, he had time to bring it down and loft it into the goal for 2-0.
We still had plenty of time, assuming the second half is longer than the first half. Actonians keep up the pressure and attack well forcing Lee out to make a great save, the ball breaks to another Actonians player on the edge of the box, just like 5 minutes ago, but fortunately Chris clears this off the line.
We get control of the ball in the middle of the park and it is slipped through to goal machine Aaron Byrne who drives into the box and is taken down, penalty. Aaron steps up and puts it past the keeper, 2-1, game on with 20 minutes to go.
We finally manage to get the ball down and play our kind of passing football creating a great chance where Jamie Clark hits a powerful long range shot from distance, but it hits Aaron Byrne, who was offside. Not much time left and again the second half was cut short at this time about 40 minutes.
Not the best day out for Merton 5’s, however it could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for a great performance from Lee in goal
MOTM: Lee Lenihan – Was outstanding in goal, no fear and channelled the inner-spirit of the Monk.
DOTD: Dwayne Bedford – Dodgy clearance leading to Actonians’ second goal.
Old Wilsons 7s v Merton 7s
Bleak Saturday afternoon, winters kicking in. on the back of 3 loses, we now head over to OW7s who are in a similar situation of being on a dire run of form, so this game could be a moral maker or breaker, but made even harder that the squad are missing Tom as a late drop out, Ram and Billy to illness, Daban to work and the usual suspects who can’t make an away game or confirm, only to no show.
With plenty of room in the changing room due to only having 11, were discuss going back to basics with a 4-4-2, it’s decided that Martin will once again come to the rescue of the 7s and start between the sticks, Josh at right back, Steve left back, Dan and Joe at centre backs, Andrew to take up the right wing, with Ryan on the left, David and Adam, who’s finally been able to come back into the fold, make up the centre pairing, leaving Luke and Niall up front
First half starts of quite confidently with good passing, the early exchanges sees the 7s take command of the game, good work down either side brings little reward, but at least its more positive. Adam commanding the centre of the pitch is winning every aerial challenge and Andrew on the right is instrumental in every attack going forward, as well as defending anything in the opposite direction.
So in normal 7s fashion, concede a soft goal on the OW’s first attack! Bad luck, unlucky, unfortunate… nope… just the 7s being 7s…. have all the play, create a good 3 or 4 chances and then watch as the opposition just about string a few half arsed passes together to take the lead. 1-0
From the kick off, once again the 7s attack, more chances are created but the nerves are they as every shot is being taken from 18/20 yards and with such force, it’s like there trying to take the leather off the ball!! A further 3-4 great chances go begging (and way off target) before you can guess what happens next…. 2-0 down
Once again, kick off, start an attack, find all the space in the world between the OWs midfield and defence, take a shot, off target, goalkeeper kicks the ball out, start an attack, find space… you get the idea…
So we are now 3-0 down, the stunned silence is deafening amongst the 7s, with the exception of a few, heads are down and at this point, it feels like rock bottom… OW’s are now playing the football the 7s started and with less than 10 minutes to go, 4-0….
And now it begins
Half time and the OWs 4th goal seem to spark a bit of life into the squad, either to the open ‘mocking’ they are facing or the fact they are fast becoming the whipping boys in the league, it seems the 7s have finally got there ‘backs up’
For a change, the captain wasn’t the only one who was to voice an opinion, Ryan started with a few colourful words which we didn’t know he knew! Steve used similar words which we knew he knew, and Martin use the word ‘Bugga’ a lot!!
Fired up for the second half, the 7s kick off, most of the good play was now going down the right wing through Andrew. A good stem of play sees Niall pass to Adam, Adam to David, David to Andrew, Andrew crosses and a corner is awarded. Ryan, drives a low cross over, which takes a deflection, Adam slams a shot which comes off OW’s hand and a penalty is awarded. Ups steps Niall in Billy’s absences, he scuffs a shot at the keeper which he does alarmingly well to not even get a hand to….! 4-1.
NOW the 7s are up for it… every one of the back 4 are rallying the guys in front of them to get into the oppositions, Adam not needing to much encouragement shows the way with some heavy but fair tackles, Steve (with a broken toes from the first half) also has a good few skirmishes with the opposition, 7s are on top, a great cross into the OWs box see the keeper fumble, Niall is on hand from 4 yards to make 4-2.
This just adds weight to the 7s cause, every ball is now being challenged for, the back 4 marshalled by Steve is working as a unit and Martin has yet to concede with 15 minutes gone.
Once again, the ball is played out from the back, a neat 1-2 sees David’s first time ball over the OW’s back 4, Ryan latches on and cuts inside and crosses to Niall who somehow manages to back heel, flick forward and confuse the keeper into going the wrong way and knock in for his hatrick and the bring the score to 4-3
Openly arguing, the OW’s are fast becoming a deflated team, from kick off, the 7s win the ball back and start another attack, confidence hasn’t been this good for a while, the midfield is now supporting the attack, Josh is exchanging passes with Andrew and getting forwarded in more of an attacking roll, the ball worked from centre finds Niall out wide with a OW’s defender for company, holding up play just long enough for David to get into the box, Niall releases a stunning cross which finds the captains run perfectly and in his stride leaps to chests down the ball to Josh who is running in un-marked to half volleys the ball passed the OW’s keeper, 4-4 and still time to go.
Now it’s the OW’s to be stunned into silence, 7s on a high, contest every ball. Back on the attack, Luke takes up the challenge, receiving the ball well over 30years out and hounded by 2 players, he quickly skips pass and creates enough room to get a fierce shot off, which curls in off the bottom right post, what a comeback 4-5!!!
With the 7s well on top, and seemingly in control, the OWs remind the 7s that there still in the game, with 10 or so minutes remaining, pride must have kicked in, as now, not only are the tackles flying in, but even the ref is having to step in between players mouthing off to each other.
Caught short at the back, and with a possibly 3v2 situation, Ryan is forced into taking one for the team by scything down a player to stop the game and take a possible booking. Leaving the field of play due to a ‘knock’, the 7s are now down to 10 and the ref announces 4 minutes to play
The Alamo, OW’s are now swinging with everything they got to gain a point, corners, free-kicks, throw ins… but the 7s are not finished yet. OW’s fully committed to attack leave themselves open for the counter attack, although down to 10 men and under the cosh, Niall is a lone figure up front with every one of the 7s defending to keep the points, the ball is cleared and the break out is on, Niall holding up play, times his through ball to perfection as David passes, OW’s young defender tries to keep pace but even in the 90th plus minute, the old boy opens up the legs and out paces the defender.
Keeper in two minds to either come or go, gets stranded in no man’s land as El’capo meets the ball around 30 yards out and nonchalantly chips the keeper and calmly peels away as the ball dips under the bar to seal a epic come back and 4-6 victory
‘A game of two half’s’… 7s at their worse, and best.. Now, if only they can take that second half belief, fighting spirit and confidence into the next few fixtures, maybe they can finish the year on a high, what with next week’s fixture being the return game against OW 8s, which was a resounding 11-0 last time out, these are the fixtures to build on.
MOTM: No contests, Andrew ‘DOBBY’ Dobson got everyone’s vote, didn’t put a foot wrong and was instrumental in the comeback
DOTD: If you confirm and don’t turn up… giving the team no chance to get anyone in as a replacement, after it was made clear that the squad was threadbare and struggling for players… then you’re a DICK!
Team: Martin, Josh, Dan, Joe, Steve, Andrew, Adam, David, Ryan, Niall, Luke
When the parents signed up their boys for a lovely game of football at the start of the season little did they know it can essentially wipe out their whole Sunday. Today was one of those weeks whereby not only did we have a 12.30 kick off but we also had a long journey around the M25. When the journey time lasts as long as the actual match you know you’re in for the long hurl.
Whenever I usually visit Heathrow it would normally be to get some duty free and jet off into the sunshine. Not today this week we were here to continue our winning streak in light drizzle and with a backing soundtrack of aeroplane thrusters taking off every 60 seconds!
Typically when arriving at a airport you try and get there nice and early. Roy obviously wanted some new sunglasses and some aftershave as he was there a full hour before the official meet time.
As everyone rocked up with good punctuality we found a spot on the adjourning pitch to warm the boys up. Not the most inspiring warm up of the season but the boys looked engaged and ready to do the business.
With Self nominated sub this week was Big Dave who announced to the group “I am sub today because I missed training” the starting team picked itself. Seems the message has certainly hit home and the boys understand that consistency at training will be paid with minutes on the pitch.
We were ready for takeoff with a 2-2-2 formation today which initially looked like another bit of tactical genius. MOM from last week was Max who was ready to captain his crew.
The boys started as they have done for the last few weeks with good passing movement and a genuine desire to speed the play up and get forward.
A short corner was played quickly and a lovely teasing cross was met by a diving header from Faris at the back post. We won’t score many headers as a team this year so always nice to see a brave finish.
Faris and Lewis were causing some real problems in the first quarter(not sure why we played 4 quarters it should be two halves now) and their link up play is certainly improving. Max’s hands were looking safe, Percy and Ollie busy in the middle and Joe and Harry really in control and playing the ball nicely at the back.
1-0 quickly turned to 2-0 after a nice dribble by Lewis ricocheted into Faris who got a shot away which beat the goalkeeper and dribbled towards the back post which was smashed home emphatically with a power driver from all of 10 inches by Ollie!
We were in full throttle now playing superb football 2-0 then came 3-0 courtesy of a sublime free kick from Lewis. Bending, curling, dipping and powerful – all the ingredients for a superb free kick on show.
The whistle went for the first break and it was probably a bad thing for us as a team. The lads clearly thought they had completed their journey, coming off the pitch like a bunch of lads getting off the plane in Prague for a stag do! Parents very happy and Probably just a guilty as the kids in thinking this was a first class ticket to win town!
Maybe we were all too relaxed and maybe we all thought the hard work was done.
A warning was given by Roy and myself that 3-0 does not mean we are finished. We need to keep our discipline and work harder than we have ever worked and I concerns were well founded.
Bedfont came out much stronger clearly their coach had done a cabin check and highlighted some areas of improvement. They were a different team and we were too relaxed. The pressure was put on us straight away and they had put out their Top Guns. 3-1 half time.
The second half we looked like passengers for most of it with us really unable to ride out the turbulence. Bedfont were good value for their next 3 goals to take the lead in the game. No massive mistakes or errors just a genuinely good come back by the oppo whose coaches I must say were extremely professional, fair and encouraging to both sets of boys.
Soon after the final quarter started Lewis went on a darting run again and got a sublime shot away to level the game much to the sounds of relief from the parents behind the goal. It was the same sound you hear at an airport when a delayed flight gets called out for boarding.
As the clock ticked down either team could’ve nicked all 3 points with some good chances at both ends. Dave was extremely unlucky to not get on the scoresheet yet! But it is coming!
Percy took a few knocks today but was impressive with his work rate and JT(Joe) was brilliant at the back and could’ve got a winner right at the end. Our fight back was good following going 4-3 down but the fact we conceded four goal in a row was a concern, although in all honestly the oppo worked very hard for it.
As we leave Heathrow we have nothing to declare at customs except Lewis and Joe were neck and neck for MOM but Lewis just pipped it by getting the all important equaliser.
Team: Max the cat, Harry ‘Tony Adams’ Bumstead, JT, Percy the worrier, Ol’s, Hazard, Faris the finisher.
Sub: Big Dave
Mighty 5s 2 – 2 Old Sedcopians [3 – 3 AET, 2 – 4 Pens]
This game was, unusually, a game of four halves, each extremely different to the last. With the expectation being that we will only have 8 more must-win league games to salvage our season, a good cup run would be important to help us build some momentum. It would be fair to say that we were very motivated going into the game.
This week we had to shift a couple of players outside of their natural positions, with Dulanjie as a right winger [and making a bold statement that he scores every time from the wing] and Stormzy at right back, who started off trying to join the centre mids but very quickly found his feet and kept their pacey winger quiet. We started the game on the front foot, camping in their half and limiting them to very speculative efforts in the first half. We took the lead fairly quickly, capitalising on a mistake by their keeper. A long range shot was easily saved by the keeper; however he must have been distracted by Dulanjie closing in as he fumbled the effort. Dulanjie pounced and despite the keeper getting a hand to it, the ball tricked over the line for a deserved 1 – 0 lead. That bold statement from earlier seemed just a statement of fact now!
We did manufacture a few more half chances and probably should have extended our lead before we eventually broke through. Dwayne picked up the ball on the half way line and looked up to see the run of Aaron in behind. A perfect through ball released Aaron who latched onto it and placed the ball calmly around the keeper and in for 2-0. It was a goal of real quality and showed just how easily we could get through them.
We were defensively solid throughout the half despite the forced changes at the back due to injury. Darren had to go off briefly for a head injury, but back on again when Stormzy on our right injured his hamstring with this match reporter playing 3 positions in the first 30 minutes to cover! The second half, however, would be very different.
We started the half as if we had already won the game, with everyone from all positions trying to get up to help the attack despite our 2 goal advantage. They would make us pay for this on the break, with a long ball over the top exposing a gap in our defence. Their striker latched onto it and Keiran, constrained by the end of the 18 yard line, made a good effort to get a hand on it however the ball fortuitously went between his hand and his leg to bobble into the net for 2-1.
We aimed to be a little more disciplined, keeping our defence and defensive midfields in shape, however this didn’t last long. Their central midfielder picked the ball up around 25 yards and had years of space – he literally could have lit a cigarette, made a phone call and gone to the clubhouse for a quick beer by the time anyone got near him – and picked out the run of their winger. He headed it inside to their unmarked striker who placed it into the net for 2-2. Keiran again got close to it and was unfortunate not to get a hand to it, however it would have been quite a remarkable save.
There were a couple more warning shots, with the most noticeable being a good chance from 15 yards shot wide after this match reporter failed to get out due to an injury, however the score remained at 2-2 and we were heading for extra time. I think our shape wasn’t helped by the constant changes due to injury, with myself being the biggest culprit of that, but we still should have defended better and seen out this game in the first 90 minutes.
The next 10 [as the ref reduced the halves due to it getting dark] was played out much like the first 45. We reassumed dominance and it paid off with another goal for Dulanjie. Aaron was released following a great run down the right, and Dulanjie came in the centre to take up the space Aaron’s run had vacated. A terrific ball across the box was easily slotted home from 4 yards by Dulanjie, whose energetic performance deserved the 2 goals. We should have killed it off with a fourth, most notably from a free kick that was met at the back post by Ackers. His header went narrowly wide, just put off by the jump of the defender in front of him, and the whistle went for 3-2.
The second half of extra time was akin to the second half of normal time, however we were sitting in and holding on well. This was until the last minute, when their striker, going away from goal, went down in the box. I didn’t see it properly [starting to sound a bit like Arsene Wenger here] but the penalty was given. They hit it down the middle to equalise in the last minute of extra time and take it to penalties.
We don’t need to go into the penalty shootout – anything can happen and it was a lottery that we unfortunately lost on this occasion.
Aaron Byrne, for a terrific goal and 1 [maybe 2] assists was man of the match for an excellent performance – he really is showing himself to be a top striker for the 5s. Worthy of a mention is Dwayne’s creativity and Dulanjie’s 2 goals – he’s not going to like it but he did a really good job on the wing and might find himself there again in the season! Our front 3 did a really good job and could have scored more, however we cannot need to score 4 goals to win a game. We need to see it out better, and hopefully this will be a lesson for the games to come, in particular our crucial league games where we must win 8 games out of 8 to give us a glimmer of a hope at promotion
Epsom and Ewell Colts v Merton FC U14
Goals: Justin, Fareed
GK – Milo
RB – Liam
CB – Fareed
CB – Nikoy
LB – McKenzie
CM – Eddie
CM – Daniel
RW – Hugo
LW – Diego
ST – Justin
This was an important match for Merton in the league after failing to pick up points of late. On a crisp pitch Merton started strongly with some lovely interplay and quick passing which led to regular traffic down the wing and some good balls being whipped into the box. Merton looked threatening throughout the first half and commanding at the back with a special mention to Fareed who took on a new position at centre half for first portion of the game as we waited on our regular centre back to arrive. The breakthrough came for Merton midway through the first half after seeing the majority of our shots parried by the keeper, some lovely passing led to Justin hooking a shot in the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The second half continued in a similar fashion with Theo finding lots of pockets of space in the number 10 role, and sliding good balls into the wingers and Fareed who had now moved back to his regular position at striker. Fareed got his goal midway through the second half as he held his run perfectly and slipped through on goal, calmly slotting the ball away to make it 2-0 to Merton. The chances continued to come with Diego playing a perfectly weighted ball through to Theo who unfortunately was thwarted by the keeper who made a strong reflex save. Merton gave themselves an anxious last 5 minutes when Entri was caught flatfooted and high up the pitch, giving Milo in goal no chance as he tried to get back on his line. This led to a scrappy last 5 minutes with some great blocks, the most notable being Liam’s excellent last ditch deflection in the final couple of minutes.
Merton held on for a good win as we look to find confidence in the final third. Fareed gets man of the match for his excellent performance at the back and up front, scoring the all important winner.
Despite a string of poor recent results – enthusiasm ran high for Merton’s 3’s. Vincenzo’s inspirational group chat message of “I hate carshalton, let’s f*** them up” was enough Friday motivation to prepare us for the frostbitten soviet Saturday against Carshalton’s 3’s.
With newly signed goalkeeper Sam along with the likes of 7’s Ryan and newboys Callum and George, Merton looked full of energy at the start of the match – dominating the match with great passing ability. The forwards pressed on including a brilliant early run from Milo who was taken down on the edge of the box . Club trickster, Glenn stepped up to ball and curled a shot into the top right corner that was unfortunately clawed out by Carshalton’s goalkeeper. Yet Merton pressed on and carried on begging for goals and got the deserved opener. A DK won free kick near the corner flag was nicely curled in by Dan B onto the Merton head of Ryan Gresty who slotted the ball home to give Merton the lead 15 minutes in. 1-0.
By the half an hour point play stagnated for a while as the energy slowly plateaued in both teams. A long throw-on missed by Merton heads led to a headed to headed goal from a couple of yards away and Carshalton’s had equalized the match. 1-1.
Despite spartan bravery from 3’s newby to endure the bloody blisters tearing into his skin for the first half an hour of the match, Milo decided that the pain from his newly purchased football boots was too enough, and the recovered Iain was substituted on in his replacement.
And a worthy replacement it seemed. Merton held up well in midfield. George persisted to tease Carshalton’s right back with searching runs, and an Ian through ball led to Dan Kelley having a sniff at goal with a saved shot.
Following a blur in memory, Carshalton win a long free kick which diagonally drifts over everyone and is turned into the back post. 2-1 Carshalton and Merton seem disheartened. Yet, merton’s lionhearted defence do their best to keep morale high throughout the team. Half time approached and Merton regrouped their heads in the changing room.
The second half hit and Merton came back out with high pressure, strong sliding tackles from the back and great play led to a Merton freekick. The long freekick was swung into the Carshalton 22 and Gresty converted a header even more beautiful than the last, as he headed back across goal and inside the far post. 2-2. Merton were back in the game.
The 60th minute hit and a fresh pair of legs by the name of Fitz came on the pitch in replacement for Callum. The formation was re-evaluated and Merton looked stronger. Glenn and George made darting runs upfront supported by Fitz. Dan Kelley bombed down the wing, fizzing a ball into the ducking Fitz which fell at the back post to Glenn. One touch for control and the ball slotted into the corner. 3-2 Merton.
Fast forward to the 80th minute and Merton begin looking weary. An overly strong midfield and defence led to a Carshalton halfway line freekick, which was converted in the bottom right corner led to a Carshalton comeback as they celebrated their third goal. 3-3
Merton and Carshalton carried on battling it out for the winner. A 3’s attack led to a Carshalton counter attack and a cross cleared by Iain and Neal fell to a Carshalton substitute who volleyed the ball home with minutes to go. 4-3 Carshalton.
The whistle blew leaving despair on Merton faces. Merton headed to the changing room – angrily attempting to rationalise their loss to themselves. Sam’s childish revelation that winning is enjoyable seemed to cheer the team up slightly. All in all, a shitty match.
MOTM – George – Fast runs and trickery led to many chances being created upfront
DOTD – Self-nominated Milo for prematurely coming off. Sorry lads.
Team: Sam (GK), Callum, Vincenzo, Neal, Ryan, Glenn, Darcy, Gresty, Milo, George, DK
Subs: Iain, Fitz.
Peter Quainton is four inches over six feet tall.
“May I suggest putting him on the posts, he’s never headed a ball in his life,” says David Quainton, today’s substitute and Team Handsome legend.
Team Handsome legends Graham Willgoss and Alex Herbert nod sagely. PQ shall defend the post at corners. Merton 2s will play an attacking 4-3-3 with an emphasis on making the Old Blues look like ancient greys.
This decision happens long before the arrival of Gibbo, who turns up ten minutes before kick-off having decided the logical thing to do before a match in west London is spend the night in Manchester. Sporting his usual ragged and slightly startled appearance, akin to that of a student runner sat alone in a pub after a day on the set a Kevin Spacey production, Gibbo nevertheless tears into a helpless and admiring opposition like Dan Rist’s chat up lines on a night at the Exhibit.
Rist forms part of a let-the-ball-bounce-and-we’ll-sort-it-out-later defensive duo with Joe Grew. Towering. Imposing. These are just two of the words that will never be used to describe Team Handsome’s centre-backs, but sound reading of the game and no-little skill on the ball make for an incredibly effective pairing. To the left is the wingback’s wingback, Lofty, who may be a fish out of water but performs like the star of the latest episode of Blue Planet 2; erm, a fish in water.
Peter Quainton heads the ball.
We’re two minutes into the game, it must be some kind of accident. At right-back, he’ll probably be called to do it again. Grew looks surprised. Herbert in goal is astounded. Willgoss shouts encouragement from his attacking position on the right of the front three. At least it sounds like encouragement. Sometimes it’s hard to know. Words like ‘quality’ and ‘better’ are accompanied with the odd muttering curse. It sounds encouraging. It’s probably encouragement.
Willgoss subsequently proves it’s a good week for the bastard offspring of James Hewitt, not by getting engaged to an absolute smoke show, but by steaming past two players and tucking the ball in with his left peg. A cracking strike, it begins with a driven ball from PQ. The duo link up throughout the match, owning their side of the pitch.
Soon the lead is two. Alongside Gibbo, Dom and Darcy are smashing holes in the Old Blues midfield. Perhaps Darcy just enjoys not running around after a small human, the product of his own testicles, at the weekend. Whatever it is, he’s playing extremely well and tidily tucks away the second of the game from a(nother) Willgoss assist.
3-0 follows. It’s Nick, bounding in like Mitchell Starc with the new ball after watching the entire Merton front six get involved in the move. On the front foot, he smashes it for six into the top corner, and at halftime the game seems already won.
Peter Quainton heads the ball.
Our boy clears it off the line. Again. Sherbs is dizzy with excitement. So dizzy he drops the next simple cross, says ‘no’ more times than an aspiring actress at a Miramax party, and safely regathers. Ancient Grey Quainton is on the pitch, is fouled in the area, the ref ignores it. The referee, displaying less mobility than Prince Phillip at the cenotaph, is miles away. He misses fouls all day. He does not miss, however, a scrote who endears himself to absolutely no one by being a mouthy little trollboy all game, getting sin-binned (the second Old Blues player to do so) and then complaining about it so much that he receives both a yellow and red card. His presence is about as welcome as pneumonia at an old folks home.
By this point another three goals have been scored. Two to Old Blues, who rally as Merton tire, and one to Gibbo with a crisp strike from the edge of the area (assist: Wilgo). Benham, buzzing around relentlessly up top as ever, should have a goal of his own. He thinks he has it after tucking away the rebound after Wilgo hits the underside of the bar, but a shocking offside call at the moment the ball caresses the back of the net denies him that which he deserves. It is not the only poor offside call of the match. 4-2 it remains.
Peter Quainton is laughing.
Having secured joint MoM alongside bubbly, fuller-figure, goalscoring presence of Darcy, the teetotal talisman has given his pint to his older, handsomer, brother for downing.
“See, I can head the ball,” he says, as DQ dispatches his beer and contemplates a second having not even having managed to last a whole half without tweaking an injury. Sherbs, entirely too happy about this prospect, is reminded of just how many times he said ‘no’ when dropping the ball. For the fifth time this year, DotD is his. A proud record, and a proud victory for Team Handsome.
Team: Sherbs, PQ, Joe Grew, Dan Rist, Simon White, Darcy Yates, Dom Preece, Michael Gibson, Nick van W, Wilgo, Tom Benham; DQ
Merton FC 2
So after last weeks successful trip to North London, the 1s returned home looking to build on the back of an excellent all round performance.
Norseman were a team who had been promoted the season before and similar to Merton, have had an up and down campaign lying just below the home side in the league.
The 1s couldn’t call upon last Saturday’s man of the match, Chaz. Missing out due to injury and unfortunately won’t be available for selection until closer to the New Year. On top of this both Vanny and Rat also were away this weekend, which led to a few changes and some new faces.
Florian and Hens both called up for their first appearances of the season, with the former starting on the right wing and Hens making an impact from the bench.
After switching to 4-4-2 at Old Fincheians, it was back to Clappers’ go to formation of 4-3-3, looking to win the battle in midfield and provide support for Charlie up top on his own.
Certainly, the coldest fixture of the season so far for the boys, with Harrison warming up in a large overcoat and big woolly hat; but they’d soon warm up running around on a heavy surface at the Hood.
The first half was very much a war of attrition, with neither side wanting to hand over any sort of advantage to the opposition. The away side looked to put some pressure on the Merton back four with the best play coming from their centre mids and a marauding centre half. However, they never created any clear chances as the home side again demonstrated why they have the best defence in the league. Browner showing he’s a fully converted full back winning his headers and getting up and down the wing well, the same could be said for Jordan on the left who linked well with Johnny and was able to start a number of Merton attacks. Not to mention the great effort and running in midfield from Craig Usher who displays similarities of the Duracell bunny.
Overall, the first 45 minutes was a tale of poor quality in the final third and a number of very niggly fouls across the pitch. No surprises it was 0-0 heading into the break.
After a positive team talk at half time from Clappers, the boys knew the game was for the taking, needing to keep better possession of the ball and continue to frustrate the opposition.
Despite Norseman coming out for the second half positively, it would be Merton who broke the deadlock on the 55th minute mark. The home side had had some success last weekend with set pieces and their opener made it look all too easy. A free kick near the half way line was lobbed to the back post by Jimbo (no sign of the hat this week) finding Clappers unmarked with a great header back across goal for Charlie to grab his fourth in as many games from 2 yards out.
It was a great time to take the lead but there was a lot of time left and the away side felt they were well in with a chance just the one behind. The next goal would be crucial.
And it would be the boys in yellow who not long after taking the lead would double their advantage. Maybe no surprise that it was from a dead-ball situation, but there were plenty of shocked faces in the manner of how it came. A freekick just over 20 yards out, with Jimbo stood over the top of it, who the week before had something similar and let’s just say the ball is still rising. However, this week the result would be emphatic as a crisp strike saw the ball serve and fly into the top corner in off the post. TOP BINS!
An excellent way to pull further clear of Norseman and take away a lot of their sprit. The remaining half an hour saw a far more open game, with credit to Siri who made a number of great saves down to his right to keep Merton’s advantage to two. Hens came off the bench to provide a really solid outlet on the right-hand side and no shock that Charlie was industrious in his running, even helping out in defence.
Unfortunately, the game ended on a slightly sour note, with Norseman having a player sin binned for the last 10 and another booked for a shocking tackle on Charlie. Yet nothing would spoil another fantastic team display and yet more 3 points for the home team who climb to fifth in the table.
Squad: Siri, Browner, Harrison, Clappers, Jordan, Jimbo, Usher, Willow, Florian, Johnny, Charlie, Hens
MOM: Jimbo for the freekick
DOD: Jimbo for celebrating his freekick like Cantona