Month: September 2017
NAME: Luke-Diego Mora
BIRTH DATE: 21/10/1997
BIRTH PLACE: Croydon
PREVIOUS CLUBS: Mitcham Park, Genesis, Banstead Town, FC Predators
- Tell us who you are outside of the club. What do you do, how would you describe yourself?
I’m a quiet guy, like to spend time with friends and family, like to travel a lot and try new things.
- How did you end up at Merton FC?
A friend who I played for Mitcham Park with (Mario) asked if I wanted to come down to training and from there I started playing!
- What do you like most about Merton FC?
The organisation of the club is the main thing, also they are a nice bunch of lads and easy to get along with.
- If you could play for a professional team, which would be it and why?
Arsenal, my childhood team and just love the way they play.
- Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?
I wear socks under my socks, shorts under my shorts and wear a top under my top! Always have done.
- Lastly, share us your goals/expectations for the season.
Hopefully to find a regular starting place and most of all gain promotion
Favourite Player (at Merton, or in professional football): Thierry Henry/Ronaldinho
Childhood Team: Arsenal
Favourite team in the UK: Arsenal
Favourite team outside the UK: Linense Balompedica (local Spanish team)
Childhood Hero: Ronaldinho
Favourite Food: Paella, or spaghetti and meatballs
Favourite Drink: Fanta
Favourite Band: –
IBIS Eagles 5s vs. Merton 4s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 23rd September 2017
Coming off of our biggest win ever last week away to Polytechnic, we were back in Chiswick again however this this at Chiswick Cricket Club to face an IBIS Eagles side that were playing their first league game. This was our third.
Without Michael Gubby, it was down to John Gridley to step in between the sticks with Ryan Burchell taking up the RWB position. Feeling worse for wear following a heavy night prior, Dom Plumridge slotted back up top to partner top scorer Adam.
Lining up in the same formation as last week, we didn’t start as we had hoped. We allowed the hosts too much time on the ball which in turn created a number of chances however a mixture if wayward shots and John Gridley kept the score goalless for 25 minutes.
It was the host that did finally take the lead after worldy from clearly the youngest player in their squad. Nothing that John….nor De Gea for that matter, could have done about it. Shortly after we found ourselves two goal behind. This time from a corner. A combination of not tracking your man and remaining static on the post contributing allowing a simple header to find the back of the net.
We knew that we were better than the performance that we were putting in, last week’s performance backed that up. We were encouraging each other to get a goal before the break and courtesy of Adam we were able to do so as he side footed through the keepers legs to half the deficit.
Frankie came on to replace Ryan in the RWB role at the break.
The second half was a better performance than the first. We were able to pass the ball around by finding little pockets of space which put the opposition on the back foot for a while.
Twenty minutes into the second period, we were awarded a thrown in from the left. Dan Gridley taking centre stage to deliver a lengthy ball into the box which Dom managed to get a head on to. Or was it Dom’s goal? Dispute at the end of the game suggested that it may have been an own goal but with Dom being adamant that he got the final touch, it was awarded to him.
Having dug deep to come from two down to level, all that was nearly thrown away when the host were awarded a penalty when Dan Gridley took out their striker.
Up they stepped…….what a save!
John Gridley not falling for the eyes managed to get a strong hand to it to keep the score level and ensure that we went home with a point.
We could have taken all three had Dom not missed a sitter in the last minute which resulted in him picking up the Dick of the Day award.
Next week were visit Old Dorkinians in the AFA Cup in the hope that we continue our impressive start to the season.
FINAL SCORE: IBIS Eagles 5s 2 – 2 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Adam Collings, Dom Plumridge
MOTM: John Gridley – Solid performance between the sticks including a penalty save.
DOTD: Dom Plumridge – How could he miss that sitter?!
STARTING LINE-UP: John Gridley (GK), Joe Plumridge (Pete Quainton), Dan Gridley, Michael Elgar, Ryan Burchell (Frankie Kalogirou), Edward Plaistow (Capt.) (Joe Squire), Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Michael Vogt, Adam Collings, Dom Plumridge
Home versus Cambridge Heath
At least once a season, a team should be left short of a goalkeeper. It’s one of amateur football’s unwritten rules. But Merton 2s proudly boast at least two men who will take one for the team and take a turn between the sticks when their team is in need. Take a bow Pearcey (for the first half) and Dom Preece (for the second).
Alan Clowes was on a mission from the start that neither stand-in sticksman would have to lift a finger. Deservedly Man Most Handsome, Clowesy was outstanding.
His performance was typical of a hard-fought game played in good spirit. Cookie, too, had a lovely time in midfield, tackling hard and using the ball effectively. Still, few chances in the first half saw Merton go in a goal down.
The introduction of Adam Crawshaw and Chris Rayner at half time shook things up. Merton looked an altogether meaner machine. Sustained possession and no little pressure gave the men in yellow the break they were looking for: Gabby’s first Merton goal – a blast from 30 yards – was well deserved for his boundless energy alone, even if it was helped in by the keeper.
Ackers was incredibly unfortunate to be the first 2s man this season to experience the Sin Bin. He spent his time-out prowling the touchline, twitching and flexing like a prize fighter, itching to get back into the action, and wondering if the ref was an Uber driver.
That seemed to drive the temporarily 10 men of Merton on. Rayner, fresh, slotting in behind the front two, his sat nav for goal fully functioning, found the freedom to ping one from 25 yards. The keeper could only watch and pray as it hit the upright.
DQ had another excellent game, perpetually in fifth gear. He ploughed on up top alone in Ackers’ absence, again creating chances all by himself through sheer force of will. The goals will come for our man, but not today.
Ackers’ return couldn’t quite break the deadlock. Still, a point each was not unfair, and Team Handsome remain unbeaten.
Squad: Pearce (1st hero GK), Draghici, Murphy, Grew, Clowes, Rist, Cook, Willgoss (c), Preece (2nd hero GK), Quainton, Ackerman, Crawshaw, Rayner
Old Salesians 3rd v Merton 7s
Away, and against a very good Old Sale’s side who’s reserves had no game, you just knew the team will be bolstered with a few senior players. With a 3oc kickoff, most of the team arrived in good time and high spirits after the opening day victory, although Daban managed to get lost and turn up 15 minutes before kick-off and the ever-illusive Kieran doing his best to never turn up, we need a quick reshuffle of the starting line-up that was originally planed.
Martin dons the gloves and a back 4 of Josh, Tom, Dan & Steve, with Jacob on the right, Andrew, David making up the centre with Luke on the left, this left Billy and Scott up front.
From the start, OS3 took the front foot, passing around freely and creating problems with their slick 1 touch triangles, not long into the game, OS3 was in behind the back four which, lucky for the 7s, came to nothing, but this was going to be the start of things to come.
No more than 15 minutes gone and from around 25 yards, a hopefully cross/shot from OS3 midfield seemed to have caught Martin flat footed and dipped just under the bar for 1-0. A further few minutes later, and another break into the box, Dan tracking his man sticks out a foot and clearly trips the attacking player which results in a well taken penalty for 2-0. Dan, having a stiff talking to by the Ref, subbed himself for Daban which creates a reshuffle, and sees David drop back in to the back 4 and Daban going centre
Although down but not out, the 7s keep probing, with Billy being some nuisances to the OS3 back four, snatches a good chance to make it 2-1, followed up by a decent 1v1 which the keeper done well to save. Finally, Billy gets released down the left, skips past the right back and gives the keepers the eyes before curling a left footed, outside of the boot, low into the far corner. 2-1.
This made OS3 step up there game and with 2 pacey forwards, it was not long before the offside trap was (debatably) sprung again, with Steve still appealing, the forward bearing down on Martin dispatched a neat curling shot from 18 yards that curled into the top corner for 3-1
Half time, a few words and reshuffle of the players, Luke comes centre and Dabs going wide left, the 7s start with intent. Billy still having a good battle with the oppositions defence was always a threat and now Luke playing centre started to pull the strings and slot some neat through balls for Billy to run on to.
Still, with all the possession at the start of the half coming to nothing, OS3 being a threat on every attack, it was only a matter of time before it become 4-1, still not giving up, a further change sees Denzel come on for Andrew and slotting on the left and Dabs coming centre with Luke,
With chances being made, Billy once again showed skill with a neat back heel to Scott, with only the goalie to beat, sees his shot go high and wide. Soon after, Billy himself found space just inside the box, only for his tame shot to be straight at the keeper. Now tiring, the 7s being pulled apart by the forward line of OS3, shipped a further 3 goals before the end of the half.
Full time and frankly p***** off, the score does not reflect the effort the guys put in, although never looking likely to win, if the 7s took their chances and possibly had their first-choice keeper, it may have been more respectable. With a home game next week v Corinthian Casuals Under21 who beat todays opposition 4-3 and took OW8s for a 10-0 stroll, it looks like this motley lot will have another busy day to look forward to.
MOTM: Special mention to Daban, who came on and was full of energy but just couldn’t find that final ball, Billy again, always looking like a threat and now with 3 in 2 was out voted by 1 in favour of Luke, who was outstanding in centre midfield pulling the strings and frankly, never gave up.
DOTD: Made easy for not turning up, this week goes to Kieran ‘Lord Lucan’ Lee. Thanks to Scott who voted for himself after another blank day, where he squandered be far the easiest goal chance this season (will have nightmares about that one!)
Team: Martin, Josh, Dan, Tom, Steve, Jacob, Andrew, David ©, Luke, Billy, Scott
Merton FC 3 Actonians 4
The game started off as bad as it possibly could. Right from the kick-off they scored. It wasn’t long after that after a good string of passing and possession and clawing back into the game that they struck again. This time, it was through a contentious penalty decision that the ref gave based on ‘how guilty we looked’. If decisions were made this way we should simply smile and laugh when players go down in the box – food for thought for the next time we have this ref. Despite Sam’s best efforts, their striker put it away at the bottom left corner of the goal. It was about to get worse. Again, after clawing back and picking ourselves up they struck again. This time it was from a through ball from lost possession in the midfield. And then another right after that that is too painful to recall. We were on the ropes and half-time couldn’t have come sooner. The boys were distraught. There was so much hope and chat before the game about how well we can play and how we should come out firing but the exact opposite happened. We gave the ball away far too often and they were clinical in putting their chances away – plain and simple.
The half-time talk wasn’t bleak, it was one of uplift. We’re a better team than this, we’re better individually and there is a huge belief in each other and how well we can play if we just do the hard work, run for each other, stay calm and believe in ourselves. Games like this will happen but what happened next far outweighed what I thought was possible. Everyone was fired up and we came out swinging. Lenners moves into CB and Josh moved from LB to CM. Lenners barking precise orders at us gave us stability and direction whilst Josh gave us some much needed confidence in the middle of the park. One, two, three passes were strung together and switches of play ensured to an unmarked Dwayne ‘Forrest’ Bedford out on the right wing. Something he had been screaming for the whole game. We gained more confidence. More possession gave us more confidence as the wingers stayed wide and the midfield stayed compact. We finally managed our breakthrough goal from a great through ball from A-aron to Gibbo who finished with extreme patience and composure. Then our second arrived. It appeared scrappy, but a miracle ball from Dwayne found Gibbo in the the 6-yard box who showed his composure once again to bring the ball down and pass it to A-aron who finished and brought a huge roar from the capacity crowd (Bambi, Chris, Butters and Tiago). The third was a replica of the second. A beautiful ball from A-aron unleashed an unstoppable Gibbo. What the team felt then was pride. We came back from 4-0 down to going close to pinching a draw when the game seemed destined for a cricket score. There’s only one message this result sends to our team and it’s we’ll never give up.
MOTM: Aaron ‘my haircut will be right one day I swear’ Byrne. Every time he touched the ball and ran at the opposition it gave the team a renewed sense of confidence. His assists and goals were perfect but it was his drive and confidence that gave us the lift we needed. Special mentions: Lenners. Amazing performance as a CB nearly MOTM worthy that helped resurrect us from the brink of a drubbing to a proud performance. Delman or Duracell. He just keeps running. I think I counted twice when he sprinted back to thwart their attack singlehandedly and one (or two!) off the line clearances. Great performances by these two.
Motspur Park v Merton FC U14
GK – Milo
RB – Liam
CB – Nikoy
CB – Entri
LB – McKenzie
CM – Eddie
CM – Daniel
RW – Hugo
CAM – Theo
ST – FAREED
This was the first disappointing match of the season for Merton as they never really got into the game. The first half was uneventful with no clear-cut chances for either team as Motspur Park consistently tried to get the ball over the top and their strikers in behind. The only real shot for Merton was Fareed’s shot, set up by some nice passing but it went over the bar. After half-time it got worse for Merton as Motspur park scored two goals with no reply. The first came from a throw in looped over the defenders that caught Merton off guard and their player slotted it past Milo. The second came close to the end of the match when Merton was pushing for an equalizer, another calm finish from a Motspur Park player. They frequently won the midfield battle and were first to every loose ball, including all 50/50 tackles.
Unfortunately for Merton none of our players were on their game and the passing was often sloppy and rushed. Overall it was a frustrating game that the team will wish to put behind them. Man of the match goes to Justin who came in at an unfamiliar position of right back and did a great job. Hopefully a good reaction will come in the next match against AFC Ewell.
The day started off with everyone getting there on time, if not early for our game (apart from DK and Lofty) which could only look like a sign of us meaning business to have a good cup run! We headed in to get changed, have a chat and listen to our chosen playlist of 80’s music chosen by last weeks MOM Carlos (Mario). The boys headed out to switch on and warm up. After a while we started to ask the question of ‘where are our oppo!?’ We asked the ref about the situation and he responded with ’15 they said they’d be 15 minutes’ with the time already being 2 minutes past the kick off time. They eventually arrived and changed at the side of the pitch, GAME ON! Boars started brightly with some early chances that were not taken, and some good strong early tackles to let them know we were here for the win, even if one of those tackles was Grestey taking out Mario and the ref awarding the oppo a free kick from it? The first goal came…..for them, when a corner got whipped in and their attacker won the header which was blocked by Grestey’s arm from inches away, appeals for handball were listened too as a penalty was awarded to our confusion because of the distance between the players. The pressure was on Fitz who stepped up to go in goal, the attacker converted, 1-0 down totally against the run of play. The boars kept up the good play neat triangles down the centre and the wings lead to more wasted chances! A boar move broke in the centre circle, the oppo midfielder picked it up drove for 10 yards and unleashed a shot that had some behind it which Fitz couldn’t stop busting the bottom corner of the net. 2 down at half time and we were in trouble. The half time chat was still a positive one as we knew one goal for us would put us back in the game. We headed out same as the first half raring to go! The boars got a corner that Iain swung in and the tallest man on the pitch, lofty, got on the end of it and made it 2-1! Not long for them to stick a free kick into the top bins and make it 3-1, the heads didn’t drop because the game was still there, another corner swung in by Iain saw the same outcome but this time it was DK who used his eye to eyeball it home to make it 3-2, and the game was looking great for the neutral. The score line didn’t last long as the oppo left mid went on a run that left 4 players in his rear view mirror, rounded Fitz with ease to slot him for 4-2. The boars were once again in trouble with time not on our side, Vin turned into the hulk when he was caught so late by a tackle (almost as late as them turning up) he threw words out that some may say see you next Tuesday, but not Vin, no sir! We were handed a lifeline as DK dribbled into the box but was then taken down by a sniper as he was upright one minute and on the floor the next, penalty of our own to convert…. Glenn was handed with the job to stick it away, which he failed to do as the keeper saved a poor penalty but the rebound broke out to Glenn which he went to stick away but with the keeper rushing out he made another save which came at a cost of having an extra face as Glenn’s knee caught the Kepler under his eye and was left on the floor for a solid 10 minutes. While their team were seeing to their brace keeper the ref asked if we had a first aid, cue Fitz’s dry sense on humour ‘they don’t have anyone to deliver first aid!? F**k them, not my problem’ with the keeper off, outfielder in goal the game carried on, the boars had their tails up as they knew the oppo had no subs and Fitz was rotating our 3 subs well, we had the legs. The oppo broke forward 1on1 but Fitz remembered the late tackle on Vin and came out like Bruce lee, both legs straight ahead, arms out to the side, best combination of collecting the ball and getting your own back on the player as he delivered a Vinny Jones like tackle, with him rolling around in pain, Fitz again with his humour ‘I didn’t touch him, he’s fine, he’ll live, get on with it, the f**king fairy!” the game caries on and again DK broke into the box and the sniper made sure he got him this time and he collapsed to the floor, ANOTHER PENALTY!!! Denys this time stepped up, again the keeper saved it but Denys stuck the rebound away, something Glenn couldn’t do. 4-3 and this was turning into a game of basketball, you attack, we attack. The boars broke into the box, fired a shot the keeper parried it to Tom B which he put away, 4-4 and we were back in the game! Regulation time done, we needed more time to find a winner, with a quick word from Fitz saying same again we headed out. First attack saw Glenn slide DK in on goal with a through ball, DK’s shot was blocked on the line but luckily Denys was there to follow up and we finally had the lead for the first time in the game! 5-4! The lead didn’t last long as they got one back from a free kick into the top bins to make it 5-5, Fitz no chance. Second half of ET saw the lead look like a distant memory as Vin played a hospital pass to Iain which never reached him but only the striker of the oppo, who ran through to make it 6-5 and the game look all but over. That was until good Merton pressure saw the ball get hit well in the air out to the left which Glenn picked out with ease as if it was the 17th minute of the game not the 117th, beat the defender and whipped in a ball that Denys out in the bottom corner, a Denys hat trick and 6-6, you couldn’t make this up! 120 minutes wasn’t enough time to find a winner so to penalties it went. Merton went first, Mario stepped up to take the first one, Italians never miss penalties,(unless your Baggio or Simone Zaza) 1-0 to us surely? Wrong, the post was to deny Mario. The oppo stuck their pen away 0-1. The reliable Neal stepped up next, wrong again as his penalty was saved, no problem for them as Fitz was sent the wrong way to make it 0-2, just before Glenn went for the long walk Mike Stone asked ‘you good?’ He replied with ‘yeah just want to stick this one away’ he spotted the ball down, ran up and……SAVED! A repeat of his pen in the game, same way, same outcome, so it came down to Fitz to keep us in the shootout, the oppo sent him the wrong way and they ran out 0-3 winners, a great game to watch but not to be a part of if you’re on the losing side like we were. At least we have the league to focus on now, loads of positives to take, like scoring 6 goals but negatives too, such as letting in 6 goals and missing 5 penalties, we know what we are doing at training next. Heads up and go again next week boars!
Team: Fitz, Neal, Stone, Vin, Iain, Grestey, Mario, Danny, Glenn, Denys, DK
Subs: Jamie, Tom, Lofty
MOM: Iain. DOD: Glenn
Saturday 23rd September 2017 14:00
Having had a great second half performance last week against Old Actonians confidence was high in the Merton camp. As usual the meet time set by gaffer Clive was well in advance of the kick-off. Some might say he doesn’t have much faith in the team’s time keeping capabilities. Luckily this time wasn’t wasted and we managed to catch the start of the early game in the bar which Lenners asks “Is it ok to have a beer?”
Once changed we were out on the pitch with plenty of time to warm up, however most of the time was spent kicking balls into the carpark and retrieving them. With about 20 minutes before kick-off Clive took us through the usual routine of running, jumping and skipping and some stretches. The game plan was to keep the ball as much as possible and try to play football on probably the best and biggest pitch we will play on all season. Dwayne “Forrest” Bedford was named captain for the day which he offered the advice of “When taking a throw in, let’s work the line as much as possible, do not throw it into the middle of the pitch, it’s massive and we will probably lose it!”
Straight from kick-off the ball breaks down out left hand side, Stormzy, playing left full back today holds the pacey winger off, looks up while facing goal, and shapes up to pass back to Sam. Cue shouts of “NOOOOOO!!!!” but the shouts are too late and Stormzy rolls the ball back towards goal, the forward reads exactly what is going to happen and intercepts the pass, he rounds Sam and fires his shot……. off target. What a let off! Maybe today will be our day.
HSBC continue to press and about 10 mins into the first half, Lee lands badly after clearing the ball and is forced off. Chris comes on in place at centre back. A bit later on we get a throw in near the halfway line. Stormzy, must have forgotten what Dwayne said before the start of the game, shapes to throw it up the line and then calls “Clive” and throws it into the middle of the pitch. This is promptly intercepted and again the HSBC forwards are off target.
Having been under pressure from the start, Tiago who has been running around like a crazed dingo with rabies is forced to take a break and is replaced by Aaron A. During this opening half hour we looked second best.
We did create a couple of changes, Dulanie pulled off the same trick rolling the ball sideways three times and created enough space to take a shot which was off target. HSBC’s clearance was weak and fell to Clive who was about 25-30 yards out and unfortunately hit his shot high and wide.
Clive not being able to see what’s going wrong with the game plan decides to make a change. New boy, and Aaron B’s mate (I’m sure he’s bringing someone new each week just so he can get reduced subs) Endy Bisong into centre midfield. Just as well we have rolling subs as in under 35 mins we have made three changes. Endy made a positive impact, having seen Dulanie get away with the same trick three times in a row he copied and the defence fell for it as well. Instead of shooting he rolled a pass to Stormzy who was storming up the pitch but the shot, like many of our warm up shots, ended up in the car park.
Close to 40 mins into the half HSBC make a good passing move leaving us exposed at the back and finally the forward gets a shot on target and they take the lead.
We go in at half time, feeling a bit flat, but knowing we can do better. After last week scoring three in one half we know we can get at least one here. We come out from the kick off with purpose and the ball breaks to Aaron A just inside our half. He looks up and places a great ball in the left hand channel. Josh and Dulanie are both gunning for it, Josh gets there first and it looks as if Dulanie might tackle him for it, but eases off. Josh takes the ball forward and smashes it past the keeper into the roof of the net. Screams of “YEAH, COME ON!!! TWO GOALS THIS SEASON!!!” from Josh.
Confidence is now high and we start making use of the flat pitch and get the ball into good areas. It’s now our turn to put the pressure on. The pressure leads to a set piece and the ball is played in dangerously towards Dulanie and Dwayne at the back post, a shout for “Pull it back” from Darren is heard and Dwayne knocks the ball between the 6 yard box and penalty spot. It bounces at a perfect height for a diving header, connection is made, it’s powerful, it’s goal ward bound, beats the keeper and is cleared off the line by a defender.
We keep up the good football and make a few changes to keep everyone fresh. The ball is sent down into the channels again, similar to the first goal, Dulanie runs onto it and smashes it past the keeper into the bottom corner, 2-1 Merton.
We keep up the good play and create a great change for Endy to score on his debut, but shot is easily swept up by the HSBC keeper. HSBC also make a few tactical changes and we start to sit a bit deeper. The winger broke down our right, got his pass to the forward who managed to get a shot away and luckily for us it hits the post and bounces to safety. We managed to soak up the pressure and Aaron B makes a breakaway move, is one on one with the keeper, ready to put the nail in the coffin, and he gently rolls the ball back to him to collect. Is that something we might live to regret?
HSBC keep on pushing and the forward breaks through the middle, rounds Sam and shoots low and hard towards the bottom left hand corner, Chris Outred makes a fantastic sliding goal line clearance to put the ball out for a thrown. Points saved? Hopefully, there’s still another 10 to go.
We defend close to six corners in the last ten minutes, most were low, hard, in-swinging which were difficult to defend. Sam stayed strong in his goal, punching and screaming when the ball came near. The mantra of “What would Lenners do?” is finally sinking in.
With two minutes to go a player who was on the bench at the time, had a disagreement with the ref. This led to a card being shown. We grind out the last minute of the game with long clearances. The final whistle goes, with us picking up the first 3 points of the season.
MOTM: Josh Fitzgerald-Smith – great goal and all round performance.
DOTD: Lee Lenihan – Maybe the mantra of “What would Lenners do?” isn’t always appropriate.
Met police 4-3 merton fc
In what was a heathy, close battle merton came out on the wrong side of the result.
Mainly a battle in midfield, that neither team wanted to lose.
A sloppy defensive error led to a penalty, which they missed. Followed by a free kick that went straight in from Harry. 1-0 to merton.
Gave became a little sloppy and the back line became shaky. Met police equalised following an error, and then took the lead following another error.
Merton battled their way back level, a well taken goal by George.
Battle continues, both team having chances. Ollie missing a few one on ones, Kai making a few good saves.
Met police took the lead following merton pressure. But again, merton battled back. A goal by Alex from long distance.
A sloppy mistake let met police take the lead with 10 minutes to play.
The game ended on a sour note, with a disputed offside call, which ended with a second yellow and a red for Harry.
Battling spirit shown throughout. Next up SCR Colts in the cup