Month: September 2017
Stoneleigh Athletic 1-4 Merton FC
Great first win of the season. After a 0-0 draw in opening game of the season, Merton had some work to do to carry on the start made last week.
Merton started on the front foot, knocking the ball around well. Merton pressurised from the front, causing some panic in the back line of Stoneleigh. It took Stoneleigh some time to find their feet in the game, with Merton knocking the ball around well.
Limited chances in the first half, with Malcin missing the first chance.
Charlie bagged the goal of the season, battling well to get the finish in.
Merton looked shaky at the back for the remainder of the first half, Stoneleigh equalising against the run of play – through their hard work.
Half time 1-1
Second half started and Ollie looked bright, using his pace to cause trouble for the Stoneleigh backline. George working hard on the right hand side created the 2nd and the 3rd – Harry scoring a free kick on edge of the area.
Merton were solid throughout and the fourth rounded off what was a great all round performance.
Next up Met police youth blues.
MERTON FC 0
POLYTECHNIC FC 6
1st game of the season, the excitement of what could be, brewing, the group chat as dirty as ever.
New kit, new and returning faces, experience and youth, what could possibly go wrong?
A somewhat depleted squad due to absences further up the club meant that some of our key players
were unavailable for our opening game. A lot of players had to play out of position but none
the less everyone was ready to give it their all.
The performance as well as the end result could not have been further from what we imagined,
whether that was down to Poly playing well or us being way off the pace, we were totally outplayed.
The on the day absences did however, allow for a shining light in Ryan Burchill stepping up from
the 4th team to put in a man of the match worthy performance at left back.
A lot to learn and a lot more to forget from this performance. Onto next week to really get the season
MERTON FC 2
NORSEMAN FC 2
By no means a classic worthy of comparison with Henman v Ivanisevic at Wimbledon, but Merton 2s – settling
for a home draw with Norsemen – can at least point to a rain (storm) break five minutes from the end
that turned the tide just as effectively as it did in that fateful SW19 match-up.
Mario Del ‘Trotter’ Prestito’s appetite in the final third piled the pressure on early doors. Josh Fitzgerald-
Smith, as tall as two players (and with the name of at least three), marked his 2s debut by latching on to
an Ally Shields flick to slot home the opener. Just minutes later, the very idea of Chris Rayner bearing down
on the defence was enough for Norsemen to deflect the ball into their own net for 2-0.
The visitors bagged one before half-time. They also forced a flying, textbook – neigh, picturebook – save
from Sherbs in goal. They would continue to have the best of it in the second half.
That was despite the obvious quality of Lewis Ackerman, who put in a man-of-the-match-performance in
midfield and spent much of Wednesday evening at training feebly, but not unenjoyably, answering Clappers’
questions about why he was trying to hide in the 6s. Gabby ran him close with his constant foraging
down the flank from right-back.
Ackers and Gabby combined could do little about Norsemen’s equaliser, however – a deflected shot that
looped over Sherbs’ best efforts. By that stage, though, Norsemen were banging on the door almost as hard
as the rain.
One damp squib worth mentioning, unrelated to the result: we’re sure the referee’s assessor will have some
interesting things to say to the man in black about elbows and dangerous play. Still, a good point to start
the season. Far from a wash-out.
Squad: Alex Herbert (GK), Mike Reed, Dan Rist, Paul Pearce, Gabriel Draghici, Luke Mora, Graham Willgoss,
Josh Fitzgerald-Smith, Chris Rayner, Lewis Ackerman, Mario Del Prestito, Ally Shields
So we started the season about as fast as it takes a fat person to run away from cake.
We arrived at Wilsonians’ main ground 2 hours before kick-off, with Stormzy visibly impressed by the state
of the pitches. “Are we playing on there?” asked a young, naïve rapper from the fiery depths of Croydon. No,
Stormzy, we are the 5s – we will never be playing there.
Once we managed to drag Stormzy away, we arrived at the hilly, slopey pitch. It was as if we had all climbed
a beanstalk and ended up in a field of giants.
We started quite well, fashioning some decent chances in the opening exchanges. A good run from Gibbo,
who picked the ball up wide, came inside and hit a ferocious shot from 20 yards or so which went narrowly
over the bar. Likewise, a good ball released Forrest [Dwayne] on the right wing. He ran into the box, cut
inside the defender and it momentarily opened up for him. He pulled the trigger with his left foot, and the
ball went narrowly wide of the right hand post. Throughout the first 30-40 minutes, we were pressing without
conceding many chances, in part due to the excellent sweeper-keepering of Sam in goal. We won more
corners, free kicks in promising positions and played the ball around neatly around the edge of the box
throughout the first half, however we lacked a cutting edge to create a clear-cut chance. It seemed almost
an inevitability that they would score against the run of play. They hit us on the counter, outnumbering us
on the break. As they shifted the ball out wide to their winger, it looked like we had it contained and managed
to get the numbers back. However from 25 yards, their winger clipped in a cross-shot that conveniently
floated over Sam to put the home team 1 – 0 ahead.
The goal changed the game, and just before and just after the half time whistle we went on the back foot.
They utilised their height up front, got a few flick-ons causing our defence some issues. We dealt with it
fairly well, including pressure asserted through a series of corners. Unlike our pressure though, their breakthrough
finally came in the 65th minute or so. We gave the ball away around 35-40 yards away from goal –
a rather non-precarious situation. Their winger hit a speculative effort that looped over Sam and it was
2 – 0 to Wilsonians. Very soon after, they had the opportunity to put the game beyond us. A cross was
tipped away by Sam, unfortunately to the feet of their winger. Luckily, he misjudged the bounce and
spurned their best chance of the game.
11 I Match Report
Dulanjie’s arrival paid off and in around the 75 – 80th minute he levelled. Through a crowd of bodies in the
box, Dulanjie played a composed finish past the keeper. A desperate attempt from the defender was not
enough, with the deflection hitting the underside of the bar and going in. We were 2 – 1 down with only a
short period of time to go.
We put in a lot of pressure and created quite a few half chances. More corners and free kicks went amiss,
however we had one very good chance towards the end. Stormzy played a good ball through to set Dulanjie
off on an intelligent run. He took a touch to set himself, however the goalkeeper was out fast to narrow
the angle. As Dulanjie hit a stinging shot, the keeper spread himself well and pulled off an impressive save.
The game was to end 2 – 1, and we find ourselves in need of a good result in the next game.
Although we didn’t play too badly, and although we dominated for parts of the game, we were beaten
by their physicality and by giving the ball away a lot more than we would like to. I think everyone has it in
themselves to do a bit better than we did on Saturday, and we will need that to come sooner rather than
That being said, none of us had a terrible game. Apart from the goals, which were both decent strikes, and
one clear chance they did not create much at all, with our defence relatively solid. Delman had a good
game defensively, not doing a lot wrong, and if we can unlock him more going forward then that will help
us be more of a threat as we did successfully in pre-season. Our midfield was strong and the balance with
Clive and Stormzy skilfully marshalling and breaking up play made the balance just about right. Dwayne
had a good, energetic game going forward on the right and could have had a goal & assist on the day – it
will surely come if he keeps making the intelligent runs he did on the day. Chris had a good game at left
mid and was solid when moved back to his natural left back, and Ackers always looked completely comfortable
& a calming influence when getting on the ball. Gibbo was strong up front and could have scored
a couple from long range, and Dulanjie did superbly to come on and score one with only a good save
denying him a second. Man of the match went to Sam in goal for a good performance, coming out for the
ball and collecting in very dangerous situations as well as sweeper-keepering to prevent some of their best
Take home message: we know we are capable of more, and we must improve for the next game.
MERTON FC 5
Starting line-up was as follows: Merton’s number 1, Swanny in goal, back 4 of Kev, Chappell, Beans and new boy Reece. The three midfielders were Ty, Lee and Tony and the three strikers were Nick, George B and Callum. Impact subs were George H and Andy.
At last – the new 2017-18 SAL season had begun for the mighty Merton 6’s. After integrating 5 new players to the match day squad, it was going to be a challenge to see how the team bonded after a successful last season!
Usual pre-match antics resumed with players running late (George B) and another going to the wrong ground (Andy – who claims he was not hungover!!). Anyway to the game, let’s just say Merton forgot their shooting boots and created enough chances to have won the game inside the first 20 minutes. Nick got us off to a flier by racing through one on one after a great through ball (hoof) by Chappell and scoring. 1-0 to Merton.
As mentioned previously Merton missed some great chances to extend their lead, however with HSBC’s first attack, their striker got in behind and seemingly going nowhere was brought down by Tony. Ref gave a penalty and it was dispatched. 1 – 1.
Merton were then asking questions about themselves after such a bright start, but kept attacking and finally scored again with Callum nicking the ball off their right back, cutting in and dispatching a shot passed the keeper. 2-1 to Merton and surely we would go on now, how wrong we were! Beans was having a good game at right back but his ankle finally gave way after making two or three lunging tackles and on came Andy. After a long hopeful ball held up in the pitch it dropped nicely for their striker who nicked the ball round Swanny and was brought down by Andy – another penalty and again was dispatched. 2 – 2. It was unfortunate for Andy, as I don’t think the ref would have given it, but Andy’s guilty expression probably swayed him!
Half time came and the lads were disappointed to be drawing considering we had numerous good chances, including two open goal misses (sorry George and Nick!).
Second half started and with HSBC beginning to tire, Merton began to make the pressure count. First Nick got on the scoresheet again with another one on one finish and then Tyron netted after good work from George. The shot was via a deflection and should have been an own goal in my eyes! Then Tony, also on debut netted with a cool finish!
Things were looking good in the Merton garden until a late flurry from HSBC got them back in the game! 2 quick fire goals gave the scoreline a rather flattering 5-4 outcome and with a late chance spurned by HSBC things could have been worse. The game finished with a victory for Merton and although the scoreline suggested it was a close match we should have won by more. The positives were that we were creating chances at will and the new lads all provided good performances.
Special mention to the HSBC lads who played the game in a good, but competitive sprit and it was great to see them not give in and keep going until the end, even with 12 players and no regular goalkeeper.
Unfortunately there is no game next week for the sixes and as the gaffer will be away for the next two games the organising will fall to others to deal!
Man of the Match: To be fair this was a difficult decision as everyone had a good game. After counting the votes Tony, Lee, Ty and Callum got nominations but this week it goes to George B, who despite missing a sitter created chances and never stopped running!
Dick of the Day: Again a difficult decision – votes were received for Gaffer (who’s half time team talk didn’t go down well with Beans), George B (for missing an open goal and attempting a diving header which came off his back), Ty (for smacking his head on the tap in the showers and Andy (for turning up at the wrong ground and giving away a penalty in first touch as a Merton player!). Unanimous decision this week though was for a player on competitive debut – step up Nick! (this was for missing enough chances to have won the golden boot in his first appearance)
Written by the Gaffer
Merton Under 9s vs Esher Wizard Whites Under 9s
9th September 2017
10.00 Kick off
Score: 1 – 6
The newly formed under 9s kicked off their season with an away game against Esher Wizard Whites. Managed by Roy Crabb and coach by Neal Davison they gathered the kids for a warm up and tactic talk before the 10 o’clock kick off. The boys started off well, playing some good football, passing ball about and getting ball out wide. Unfortunately so were Esher, so getting any chances to shoot were slim. Esher took the lead with their player slotting the ball beyond Max. 1 – 0. 3 changes made half way through first half and we managed to level before the end of the half. Poor distribution by their keeper to their defender (who was in front of own goal) saw Farris pounce on the keepers mistake, gather the ball and hit it into the top of the net. 1 – 1 and going into the 2nd half with a draw.
Boys gathered on sideline, had their drinks and listened to the gaffer and coach’s half time team talk. Start of the second half and a couple of changes made. For most of the 2nd half Esher pinned us in our own half and piled on the pressure, Harry was playing well in defence along with Ollie and Archie trying to keep the ball from going in, Max pulling off a lot save including impressive one from their free kick, tapping the ball onto the crossbar. Unfortunately a couple of defensive error and some good play saw Esher put the ball in 5 more time making it 6 -1 at the end of the game. David, Louis, Lewis, Joe, Percy and Farris all worked hard to get the ball in Esher’s half, but Esher had the edge over us. Lewis making a great run near the end, taking on 3/4 of their players but got tackle just as he was about to strike.
All the boys worked hard and tried their best in their first league game, a bit more work needed to get the best out of them and to see them turn into a great team. Man of match went to Harry for his great tackling and defending.
It was also proud moment to see son put on Merton shirt having played and still playing for the club for over 15 years, like wise for Neal.
Next game at home against Carshalton Athletic Whites.
Merton u16s 0-0 KPR Scarletts u16S
Entertaining opening game, despite the result. A battle between both sides, Merton trying to improve on last season and KPR coming down from the division above.
A battle that mainly took place in midfield with it being very congested.
First half Merton edged slightly, creating more chances and were disappointed not to have been ahead at half time. Kai, our goalkeeper, pulling off 1 or 2 good saves to keep a clean sheet. We kept the ball well, under particular pressure from the opposition and moved the ball well at times.
2nd half started well, with a neat bit of play that created an opening early on in the second half. This was a game of many opportunities … however none of them clear enough to score a goal.
With many crosses entering the opposition box from our wide players, including Harry we just couldn’t convert one of the crosses.
We kept on battling to take the lead, and were nearly punished on the counter attack by a quick turnaround in possession with Kai pulling off a few more excellent saves to maintain the clean sheet.
Despite the disappointment of not winning, we take a point from a team that came from division above.
Merton fc under 16s