Month: September 2017
24th September 2017
Merton Under 9s 3
Twickenham Tigers 2
Goal scorers: Faris 2, Own Goal
Another home game for the under 9s against Twickenham Tigers. Parents ensured players got there on time for a warm up and some practice set piece drills laid on by the coach. Keys available this week for the changing room meant the goals were out nice and early, corner flags in, spectator fencing up and pitch inspection done. Roy’s homemade poopa-scooper was needed for a few areas of fox/dog mess scattered about the pitch, believe you could see him on the next Dragon’s den with that creation!!
Formation of 231, starting line up of Max (GK), Archie (Captain for day, just like his dad the day before for Merton 6s) and Harry defence, midfield 3 of Ollie, Joe and Lewis with Faris up top. On the bench were David and Louis. Percy was missing this week, not giving up the opportunity of a free bar at a wedding this weekend. The boys started well passing the ball about between each other and getting the ball into the spaces and out wide. We certainly look like we are forming a great team just after 2 games and boys all linking up nicely. Max rushing out of area, not realising how far out he was palmed the ball away outside the area, referee awarded a free kick. The free kick on the edge of our box saw the first goal go in for the tigers 1 – 0. Boys picked them self up and kicked off, continuing to press forward to get a goal back. Lewis or as I have learnt from sideline nickname of Hazard didn’t stop running and trying to get goal he deserves. Faris again got us back level dribbling the ball about in the box and finding the net. Couple of changes in the first half, David and Louie coming on for Ollie and Joe. That’s how it stayed until half time 1 – 1.
Second half and two changes, Archie and Harry off for Ollie and Joe. The boys started the second half well and were playing really good football. They had chances but their goalie (a girl) was pulling off some excellent saves. We took the lead with Faris getting onto a long pass through their defence, goalie came out but Faris, left foot placed the ball into the bottom right of the goal, 2 – 1. It could have been 2 – 2 with all players in their half the ball broke to 3 of their players running on to goal but sweeper Max came rushing out to clear the ball for a throw. Archie and Harry back on for Faris and Lewis. Again Max had a great day in goal pulling off some great saves. We scored to make it 3 – 1, Harry getting the ball out left, cut back and passed to on running Ollie who shot but had it cleared, ball fell to Archie who hit the ball for it to come off one of their players and go beyond the diving keeper who tried to stop the ball but it went behind the line. I thought this was Archie’s goal but having looked back at the footage filmed by Harry’s mum on sideline it was just an assist. The Tigers made the game interesting in the last 5 minutes getting a goal back to make it 3 – 2. Final two subs back on Faris and Lewis for David and Louis. We held on, they had a couple of corners which we cleared. One moment at the end which made me laugh, we had a goal kick, oppo on the half way line, ball passed out by Max to our defender the Tigers shouted charge like Gladiators and ran towards the ball. This led to the ball being played over the top to Faris who ran onto goal one on one with the keeper; hit the ball for it to hit the post. Lewis followed in but couldn’t connect and get his goal he so deserved. That was the last moment of the match as the referee who had a good game blew the whistle. 3 – 2 to Merton and first win for the team.
This was a very good and exciting match to watch, which was end to end and had the nervous ending. Next week’s game is away to local rivals Old Ruts Youth who we played in preseason.
NAME: Harrison Ryle
TEAM: 1st Team (so far)
POSITION: Centre Back
BIRTH DATE: 11th March 1993
BIRTH PLACE: Wrexham
PREVIOUS CLUBS: Reading YMCA, Hawarden Rangers, Halkyn United, plus several more in my younger days!
- Tell us who you are outside of the club. What do you do, how would you describe yourself?
I manage a team of recruiters (yeah, I’m one of those people) for a company called Pareto Law. Aside from that I’m a fairly standard 24 year-old: I spend most of my weekends when I’m not playing football out in South West London or relaxing in my house.
- How did you end up at Merton FC?
I knew Chaz through a mutual friend and had been looking for a team ever since I moved to London about 18 months ago.
- What do you like most about Merton FC?
The location was pretty handy (I live in Mitcham)! Mostly though it was the welcoming atmosphere at the club and the potential to play with a group of lads similar to myself.
- If you could play for a professional team, which would be it and why?
Has to be Liverpool – they’re my boyhood team and I’m not sure I’d be that much worse than the current back 4.
- Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?
None whatsoever. I’ve played terrible enough times regardless of whether I put my left or right sock on first.
- Lastly, share us your goals/expectations for the season.
To play as many games as possible, keep a shed load of clean sheets and maybe bag a goal or two if I’m lucky.
Favourite Player (at Merton, or in professional football): Sadio Mane
Childhood Team: Liverpool FC
Favourite team in the UK: Liverpool FC
Favourite team outside the UK: Portland Timbers – went to a game when I was in the US for a couple of months and the atmosphere was unreal.
Childhood Hero: It’s a boring answer but growing up a Liverpool fan it’s pretty hard to not choose Steven Gerrard.
Favourite Food: Burritos
Favourite Drink: Alcohol wise probably Tyskie; if we’re talking just a standard drink then get me a can of Sprite.
Favourite Band: Arctic Monkeys
NAME: Mario Del Prestito
POSITION: central midfield
BIRTH DATE: 02/12/1984
BIRTH PLACE: Milan, Italy
PREVIOUS CLUBS: Mitcham Park FC
- Tell us who you are outside of the club. What do you do, how would you describe yourself?
i’m a real family/friends person who likes to spend time with those in front of a nice lunch/dinner with wines. Easy-going, love travelling and practise/watch sports.
- How did you end up at Merton FC?
Just saw an ad on Facebook looking for new players so i’ve decided to have a go as my previous team was a little bit unorganised.
- What do you like most about Merton FC?
Obviously, organization, structure and the camaraderie. Everything is really clear, and with committed people.
- If you could play for a professional team, which would be it and why?
AC Milan as I’ve supported them since I was a child.
- Do you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?
Yes i do as a good Italian. I always wear right sock, shinpad and boot first.
- Lastly, share with us your goals/expectations for the season.
I think everyone should aim to win everything but I also wish to enjoy playing as I’ve done so far.
Favourite Player (at Merton, or in professional football): Andrea Pirlo
Childhood Team: AC Milan
Favourite team in the UK: Fulham FC
Favourite team outside the UK: AC Milan
Childhood Hero: Bud Spencer
Favourite Food: Pizza – very italian!!!!
Favourite Drink: Red Wine
Favourite Band: Queen
MERTON FC 2
Old Lyonians 1
The 1s stepped out at the hood for the first time in the 2017/18 season against an unfamiliar opposition in Old Lyonians. Even more unfamiliar was the position in the front three given to resident American and usual left back Will Kearns, not to mention the encouragement given to Browner to maraud forward when possible.
The men in yellow started well, forcing Lyonians onto the back foot during the opening exchanges. Merton looked assured on the ball with Sam and James working the ball from side to side as we waited for an opening. The persistence paid off when Jonny (who had an excellent game) was fed in by a marauding Browner down the right, after ghosting past his man he squared to an incoming Kearnsy who, favouring the moulded cleat, tapped in for his maiden Merton goal. 1-0. Lyonians struggled as any attempted attack was easily dealt with by Clappers and Harrison at the centre of the Merton defence. We continued to work the ball up the field, and dominated possession in the final third. Chances kept coming as Charlie saw a diving header go narrowly wide, and Kearns just unable sort his feet out to convert a rebound off the keeper. For a period, it seemed Merton were toying with their opposition. The second came from a clever Woody freekick, who fired low into the box for an unmarked Sam to stroke home, 2-0. Wanting to make a game out of it, Merton decided to engage in some haphazard set piece defending, failing repeatedly to clear our lines before their man on the edge of the box scuffed a weak shot past the vision obstructed Siri. ‘We only concede shit goals’ was the cry in the bar afterwards.
The second half began with extensive Merton possession and pressure. This was, however, not converted into chances as we struggled to find the final pass. Van was subbed on for Woody in a like for like midfield dad substitution, with Woody taking over in the Merton Creche, EJ and Robert (benched for their extreme lateness) came on for Jonny and Browner. We poured forward in numbers, special mention to Jordan who once again put in a huge shift, and the defining chance to seal the game eventually came. After a frenetic attack, the ball was eventually squared to Charlie who, swinging a tired right leg, was unable to make contact with the ball with the goal at his mercy. DOD sewn up in one action. Clappers made sure to throw his hat into the ring for DOD by subbing himself on with 30 seconds to go, only to barge over a Lyonian player, giving the opposition a chance to equalise with a dangerously placed free kick inside the Merton final third. The threat was successfully dealt with, and Merton were deserved winners. Overall, a very solid performance early in the season, taking the unbeaten 1s to 4 points from 2 games. The new recruits provided another positive; Harrison looked imperious at the back, while Sam controlled the play in the middle with some smart touches, James marshalled the space in front of the back 4, and EJ and Robert provided spark on the wings.
MOM – Shared between Harrison and Jonny
DOD – Charlie
We look forward to the return fixture later in the season.
Merton 7s v Old Wilsonian 8s
After a few mish mash friendlies which included a 3-2 v SBC, an epic 8-5 v CS8 and a game that will never be mentioned again…! It would accumulate in the father & son of Goldings to be 2 a piece in the pre-season.
The closed season has seen a few changes to the squad, notably in the management roll where Dan Alley stepped down after a very good 2016/17 debut season and sees the 7s captain David Golding step up to the management roll. First job for the new manager was securing his no2, which see the very youthful looking Steve Burchell finally coming home to the 7s. To complete the new look management, we have Martin Quainton in as 7s Director of football!
Squad changes have seen Tom R, Adam E and Noor leave, although rumour has it that one may be retuning. The loss of Malcolm to injury in preseason was a blow but happy to report he should be back before the end of year, Kieran signing full time for the 7s in a coup by Dan before stepping down, further in comings are Marvin (although still carrying a knock and has yet to do a full 90), Jacob, Luke, Daban and Billy who hopes to be over his injuries that kept him out for most of last year’s campaign, comes back into the fold
The start of the SAL cup season which see us grouped with Old Wilsons 8, Sales 3rd and for some reason Corinthian Casuals under 21!! We get our new season on the way against the OW8s.
Nothing like a 1230ko to open the season, the 7s turning up in force and only missing Marvin & Malcolm to injury, Martin to another triathlon (remarkable effort…) and the late drop out of Daban due to work, still sees the 7s with 13. With Kieran between the sticks and a back four of Josh (last year’s players player of the season) Dan, Mark Chappell of the 6s on his debut trial (rumour has it, he may be available in the January transfer window once the 6s drop out of Europe!) and Steve ‘don’t call me Burchell’ Burchell at left back, we start with a strong back 5. Going with three in midfield of the new signing Jacob on the right, El Capo David in the centre and Tom J on the left and three up front of Billy centre flanked by Denzel and Luke, we kick off in the early afternoon sunshine
Early exchanges see the 7s get into the swing of things and with a very composed back four, stroke the ball around comfortable with not much pressure form the oppo. So, bedding in the new signings and getting everyone a touch, the opening 10 minutes see’s the 7s go close with Luke and Billy getting onto some good though balls and crosses. Pushing forwarded, the 4-3-3 soon switched to a 4-4-2 with Denzel switching to the left wing in front of Steve to give him cover, the change looked to have worked straight away, with once again Luke going close.
With all the possession going with the 7s and the centre backs calmly clearing up any threat, it takes a single effort from Billy Golding to steel the ball after an error from the OW8s keeper, comfortable rounding him and slamming in form a tight angle to give the 7s a deserved lead with 20minutes played.
The remaining of the half sees the 7s dominate, with only the odd lap of concentration from the centre mids (as pointed out by BURCHELL) almost gifting the OW8s an equaliser, we go in to the break 1-0 up
Half time sees Denzel, who had a strong defensive game on the left wing, make way for Scott to join Billy up front and Luke to drop on to the left wing in a more attacking roll, the 2nd half kicks off in more of the same. 7s dominate from kick off and grow in confidence, some great first-time touches from the midfield see any threat from OW8s quickly snuffed out and soon defence turns into attack. With 10 minutes gone in the second half, a further change is made, with Dan making way for Andrew ‘Dobby’ Dobson joining the David in centre midfield, but as an attacking mid, and Tom dropping into centre back, Dobby instantly gets involved with attack
OW8s still pressing wins a corner which is cleared up fielded to Billy, who.. still in his own half, takes on the OW8s defence in a foot race, Jacob on the right wing provides back up as Billy sprints past the OW8s defence and comes 1 on1 with the keeper, still at pace, the keeper rushes out as Billy takes a sweet knuckle shot, which see the keeper get a strong glove on the ball at full stretch, a good save from a great shot, but fortunately the advance Jacob is there to smash the ball home for a 2-0 lead
This spurs the 7s on more, now cutting the OW8s apart with fluent passing, even the watching Merton FC seemed to be impressed with the 7s performance. This sees Steve B slotting a perfect through ball to Billy who timed his run perfectly, only for the ref to pull the game back for offside, which would have surely been a goal… and Billy, wouldn’t have to wait long for another opportunity
Another OW8s attack was broken down by David, muscling the ball off the oppo outside the 18 yard box, skipping through 3 players challenges and pushing forward, Billy starts a run form deep and is released with a defence cutting pass from the old boy, Billy latches on with only the keeper to beat, this time Billy makes no mistake, sending a powerful shot that goes in of the post for 3-0
A further defensive cutting pass from Mark to Billy, these old boys in the 7s have a cracking range of passing, results in another great save, soon followed up by a double shot form Scott at close range, which seemed to be harder to miss than score, but in fairness, it was the OW8s ‘Glove Man’ that was only keeping the score respectable.
A further corner won by the attacking two, finally see’s Mark & David get there timing right, with Steve whipping in a cross to the near post, David beats the defender in the air to flick past the keeper for 4-0 (and his 4 goals in 5 games scored from corners must be mentioned!)
The remaining minutes of the game, sees the 7s comfortable run out winners, with better finishing the score could have been double figures, but this will be something that can be worked on. Special mention to Kieran who basically had 1 shot to deal with and only about 6 touches in the whole game, and to the new lads who got there first game under the belt for the new season.
Saturday sees the 7s away to Sales 3rd who lost 4-3 to CCU21. With their reserves having no game Saturday, we expect a strong opposition to turn out in what is the 2nd group game in our pool
MOTM: Tight voting between Josh and Billy, but Billy takes it for his 2 well taken goals and energy all over the pitch. One to look out for this season
DOTD: Fair play to Steve to nominate himself ahead of David (Some wonderful passing, as well as woeful!) for his run of his own half, and shot from 25/30 yards… which rolled about 2 yards ahead of him (other than giving us that laugh, had an immense game with Mark C at the back)
Team: Kieran, Josh, Dan, Mark, Steve, Jacob, Tom, David, Denzel, Billy, Luke
Polytechnic 8s vs. Merton 4s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 16th September 2017
After last weekend’s opening defeat, it was important that we went brought the three point’s home against Polytechnic 8s.
We were able to welcome Michael Gubby back in goal with Sonny Kennedy and Michael Vogt back and named in the starting line-up and on the bench respectively. Unfortunately we were with Dom Plumridge however had a squad capable of getting the result that was needed.
It was clear from the outset that this was a game that was there for the taking and the result proved that.
The first half seemed to go by in a flash in which we went in four goals to the good. Going in just one goal to the good is rare for this team!
We stated the second half as we did the first, one the front foot and not going the host a sniff of the ball. It didn’t take long before we were able to add more to our tally with the score at 7-0 in our favour with 10 minutes to go which included a hat trick from Adam Collings.
The opposition were able to find a consolation however after Dan Gridley found himself in the sin bin following a dispute with the ref. Two sin bins in successive games isn’t good enough and something that we need to work on.
With Dan having kicked the ball out of play for a corner before leaving the field of play, we were unable to track men which allowed an easy header to find the back of the net. This was something that Gubby wasn’t happy about as the clean sheet would have helped towards the Golden Glove award he hopes to win come the end of the season.
We managed to dent the oppo a little more with one final goal courtesy of Matt Sheeve so record our biggest ever win of 8-1.
Next week we are in Chiswick again to face IBIS Eagle in the hope that we can move this performance forward and claim another three points.
FINAL SCORE: Polytechnic 8s 1 – 8 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Adam Collings (3), Aaron Loftus (2), Sonny Kennedy, Michael Vogt, Matt Shreeve
MOTM: Adam Collings – Hat trick Hero
DOTD: Dan Gridley – Sin binned
STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Gubby (GK), Joe Plumridge, Dan Gridley, Michael Elgar, John Gridley, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Akram Choudhury (Matt Shreeve), Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Ryan Burchell (Michael Vogt, Adam Collings
Merton U12s were back at home in the ‘Invitation Cup’ against a very impressive Lynne Cougars.
This was a really close match – with Merton taking lead through Ollie Laughton with a delightful cheeky chip over goalie.
Cougars equalised in a moment where boys switched off.
2nd half Mighty Merton throw kitchen sink at Cougars and there keep produced some great saves – in return our new Keeper Adam – equally produced some monumental saves and ensured there was no way pass into our net “no you won’t and I will not let you score”.
Final score was 2-1 win – we are home next week against Met Police – this will be a tough match.
Big thanks to brilliant support and helping with all equipment.
Merton 3s v Kew Reserves: 2-5
The first challenge of this match report is to improve on the match report from the previous game. I’ll start with a joke ‘How do you make toast in the jungle?? Under the gorilla.’ Challenge achieved and exceeded. I could leave it there, but I won’t! Onto the main event….
Last season Kew were playing in the same division as our 2s but had lost their first game of the season 2-0, therefore we weren’t sure what level of opposition we expected to face. The Boars lined up in a 4-5-1 formation, although with an influx of players throughout the club, the squads are still in the process of settling down, as illustrated by the use of 6 (players whose natural position is) central midfielders, 3 strikers and 1 defender in the starting 11.
Within 15 minutes, the opposition had scored 3 times, in pretty much the same fashion each time. The first goal came from a free kick deep from the right, with the ball swung in and Merton looking like they’d clear it away, however two players appeared to call for the ball and resultantly the ball flicked off Ryan Gresty’s head to the opposition player who chested it down and struck a very precise shot past Dan Bridgeman in goal, whom had no chance. The second goal was similar in that the ball was played in deep from the right, near the halfway line, the ball was allowed to bounce and this meant that it found its way to a Kew player, who again, struck a very good shot past Dan. The third came from the left hand side this time, after the ball was lost in midfield, a quick ball was played in over the top and a first time finish was dispatched past Dan. 3 shots, 3 goals. Between the first of these goals and half time, Merton, despite the score line, had the better of the possession and also had 4 very good chances to score. Fitz hit the bar with a great effort, Dan K, when through one on one, unusually didn’t hit the target, Ryan received the ball six yards out, couldn’t quite get it out of his feet and ended up hitting a rather limp shot towards the goal and finally Mustard, after a lung busting run from left back and having been cleverly played in by a very nimble Denys, flashed an absolutely incredible effort, just over the bar. In and around these chances, Merton played some decent football and kept possession well, with some good incisive play going forward.
It was a strange feeling at half time to be going in 3-0 down as it didn’t feel like a 3-0 game (other than the goals) and confidence was high that if we continued to play as we had, chances would surely come. Alas, we didn’t continue to play that way and for the first twenty minutes of the second half, we did what when Boar described as ‘farming’. I didn’t see many tractors, rakes or hoes but I guess he meant that we were just churning up the turf. It was only when we went 4-0 down, did we throw caution to the wind, with Mario, who despite the score was having a decent debut for The Boars, taking the initiative and moved from centre back to midfield. This created a bit more cut and thrust and the chances started to come again. Finally, a goal was scored, the first of the season (Crystal Palace fans can only dream of such a feeling). It was a well crafted goal, with another debutant, Luke Mora, playing the ball back to our rampaging right back, Iain Evans, who played a great diagonal ball into the box for the slightly built Denys to cower at the sight of a ball (I could be describing DK, both he and Denys are like two peas in a pod) about to hit him and it ricocheted off his swollen eye socket to trickle in at a pace that even could have exceeded. Shortly after this, Dan Bumstead notched his first goal for Merton with a well-taken close range finish on the volley. With the score having moved from a thrashing to on the verge of being a respectable defeat and the Boars continuing to push up, Kew almost immediately score their fifth and final goal of the game, 5-2.
In summary a strange game, where we played some decent football, could have scored 7 goals but clearly need to do better at defending diagonal balls and were unlucky with the extent of quality finishing displayed by our opposition. Big improvement on the week before but still further improvements to be made. Fitness being one, as more tracking of our men, will reduce the time our opponents have to score, which was a central issue in a number of goals we conceded. This game shows that if we take the initiative we can make things happen, it’s a pity we waited until 20 minutes to go to do this, rather than starting the second half this way. If we had, who knows what might have happened?
Dick of the day, no obvious candidates this week, which meant a spread of votes for things such as “wearing white boots”, “getting booked” “not doing enough for the 4th goal” but the ‘winner’ was Mustard for a throw in (surprisingly, not a foul throw this time) that was described as a parachute throw. Disgraceful decision to receive DOTD for, as it was clearly a legitimate throw within the rules of the game. There was no doubt whatsoever as to who the Man of the match was, well there was some doubt actually, in Joe Squire’s mind, who presumably couldn’t understand why some guy called Mario was getting all the votes, when he was very confident that it should be Carlos who was the MOTM. It transpired that Carlos and Mario are the same person, not too clear where the confusion over his name had come from given that each name originates from two different nationalities. Maybe if he’d put Luigi, we could have understand but Carlos…. No idea! If only the DOTD could be recast!
There was still time in the bar for Denys to tell Mustard that his girlfriend said that Mustard is ugly. Denys couldn’t let this bombshell sit for too long and then stated that Mustard is a very handsome man. We all know the mantra ‘never trust Denys’, so it was all taken with a pinch of salt. The depths of the evening wore on with 4-5 Boars staying to watch the football and eat lots of packets of crisps. The tone was very much lowered though by the arrival of Darren Avey, who started producing some entertainment that may even have crossed Glenn Pitman’s imaginary line. Delete, delete, delete.
Team: Dan Bridgeman, Iain Evans, Vincenzo Di Matteo, Carlos, Mustard (captain), Darren Fitzgerald, Neil Davison, Dan Bumstead, Ryan Gresty, Dan Kelly, Denys Zhurbiy. Subs: Joe Squire, Luke Mora.
Goals: Denys Zhurbiy, Dan Bumstead
MOTM: Carlos (AKA Mario Del Prestito)
DOTD: Mustard (for a throw in that wasn’t a foul throw)
17th September 2017
Merton Under 9s 3
Carshalton Athletic Whites 5
Goalscorer: Faris (3)
Under 9s first home game at the Hood, everyone got to the ground early as per the coach’s orders. Pitch half ready, just the important items waiting to be retrieved from storage, the goals. On Manager’s agenda for next week’s game a set of keys for the changing rooms.
Coach Neal (yes I have now got name spelt right) took the boys for a warm up and pre match tactic run through. Starting line up was Max (GK), Ollie and Archie in defence, Louis, Percy and Lewis in midfield and Faris up front. David, Joe and Harry on the bench. The team started well controlling their passes and getting the ball forward. Faris had his shooting boots on today scoring all 3 of the goals in the first half. He took all three goals very well. 3 changes made half way through the first half David, Joe and Harry on for Ollie, Archie and Faris. Carshalton brought it back to make it 3 – 3 at half time, a good match so far with Merton looking a lot better from last week’s game. Some positives to take in for the half time team talk.
2nd half and a couple more changes made. We continued to play some good football, working it from the back, unfortunately Carshalton took the lead, scoring two more to make it 5 – 3 with about 5 minutes to go. Last of the changes and the boys tried to get the goals. David trying a spectacular over head shot just to see it land on the top of goal net and Lewis smashing a worldy only for the ball to hit the corner of the upright. Had it gone in would have been contender for goal of the month. All the boys worked hard but couldn’t bring it back. Game ended 5 – 3 to Carshalton but defiantly improvements and positives to take into next week’s game at home to Twickenham Tigers.
Man o f the Match was tight choice for the coach and manager, hat trick scoring Faris was just edged by Archie with his great tackling and some real quality on the ball.
Kingstonian Youth Colts v Merton FC U14: Score 5-3
GK – Milo
RB – Liam
CB – Nikoy
CB – Entri
LB – McKenzie
CM – Theo
CM – Daniel
RW – Hugo
LW – Justin
CF – Kieran
ST – Fareed
Goalscorers: Fareed (2) Diego (2)
Our first away game of the season was against Kingstonian Youth Colts and the team was keen to set the pace from the start. The teams looked to be evenly matched and there was a high tempo with the opponent’s number 8 and 9 possessing strength and skill as they looked to get in behind our defence. It was Hugo who had the first real attempt with a rasping drive that was unlucky to just clear the crossbar. The breakthrough came midway through the first half after a great chipped through ball over the top by Liam that was finished emphatically by Fareed on his weaker foot. The rest of the half saw Merton under pressure as the Kingstonian goalkeepers’ long kicks consistently caused problems in defence. Milo made two outstanding saves to keep the score at 1-0 when their strikers managed to get through 1-on-1. Just before half time McKenzie produced an outstanding last ditch tackle, winning the ball cleanly and preventing a clear shot on goal by their standout number 9.
The second half was much more open, and it started off in great fashion for Merton with a good reverse pass by Liam which was well controlled by Hugo who cut in and crossed where Fareed was waiting to pounce. Unfortunately for Kingstonian it looped off their defender into the net for an own goal. Another two goals followed for Merton with debutant Diego scoring both. The first was again created by great play from Hugo who had an excellent game as he cut in and laid it off for Diego who scored with a composed finish into the side netting. Another good finish from Diego made it 4-0 to Merton and the game looked wrapped up. However Kingstonian put up a good fight and made it an interesting finale as a strong free kick, which was destined for the top of the net, was tipped onto the bar magnificently by Milo but the rebound was prodded into the unguarded net. Kingstonian made it 4-2 with a corner that was whipped in and headed home powerfully and you could sense they believed they could get something out of the game with 10-15 minutes to go. Fortunately Fareed put the game to bed with a well-taken finish after some battling by Daniel on the edge of the box. Kingstonian managed to score a consolation goal in the last few minutes with a well-taken finish by their strong number 8 and the game ended 5-3.
It was a strong battle that was evenly contested and played in great spirit with no cards. Nikoy put in an excellent display at centre back as did Milo in goal who made several excellent saves and they take joint man of the match.