Merton 3s Vs Actonians.
The curtain closer before Christmas, the 3s were desperate to end the year on a high and what better way to do it by beating a team that we really should of beaten the first time round at their home ground…
Let’s not forget the fact that we travelled what seemed like 3 hours to find their pitches in the middle of nowhere last time.
So we welcomed this game at the hood.
Producing a strong line up, with a new look 3-5-2 formation.. The lads were confident of getting a good result with the team on show this afternoon.
The ever pleasant Iain in goal, a back three in defence consisting of: new boys Scotty and Joe (both helping out from the 1s) and Big Vinny. wing backs: Sam KKK and Ryan, in the central midfield we had: Colonel Mustard in a new role, partnered with Blonde Sam & Josh (another lad helping out), and up top we had Aaron Byrne with gaffer Fitz. A strong bench with Nyle, Dan Peace & new Daddy Adam.
Actonians had a strong first 5 minutes, playing with a high tempo. However once Merton calmed down and got a hold of the ball, things changed. We dictated the tempo and had more ball possession.
Josh was key in the early parts of the match, keeping hold of the ball well and playing some good long balls to the paths of our strikers Aaron & Fitz.
Sam K had a great early chance, running down the left, beating two defenders two and cutting on his inside beautifully before having a pop just outside the box. However the accuracy looked more like a Johnny Wilkinson drop kick. Another chance for Blonde Sam soon came, but his long shot effort was straight at the keepers gloves.
Another half chance came, after Ryan skillfuly beat his man and played a great through ball on the right side to the path of
Aaron. Aaron beat the defender with raw pace, however his effort was just wide, he probably could of squared it into the path of Fitz on this occasion.
Actonians failed to produce much chances this first half and rather spent most of their time pointing fingers at eachother. The only notable chance they had was from a corner where the ball bobbled about in the box with no one seeming to want to clear it until their player stuck his foot out but luckily skied the ball up in the clouds..
Our best of the game soon came begging before the end of the half, Fitz found himself clear with just the ball, the keeper and goal in sight but seemed to have got his footing mixed up in the box and blazed the ball over the bar. Unlucky!
Half Time: 0-0
Merton should of been at least 1-0 up for their efforts. Clearly the better team in the first half threatening the oppo defence on plenty occasions and controlling the midfield battles and limiting their attacks.
This was evident by the way Actonians were screaming and shouting at eachother on the pitch the first half much to the amusement of the Merton boys. Their half time team talk didn’t get any better with plenty of handbags getting thrown about. It was like watching an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Actonians came out strong this half, but we matched them up with the same intensity which was making up for a real Christmas cracker, with the rain pouring down violently!
Our regular home attendant Curtis came to show his support with his umbrella ☂ and was relieved that we were producing a great showing! Would of been appalling if he came out in the rain to watch us being spanked!
It wasn’t long before we made or dominance count, and turn it in our favour, Sub Nyle was through one on one, and calmly scored with a nicely placed side footed finish into the bottom corner. 1-0 Merton.
A brief lapse in concentration for the first time in the game and Boom 1-1, not even 3 minutes after our goal. The game was 1-1 for a long period of the game, with Actonian sensing they could now nick a win threatened our defence on numerous occasions. But the back three held strong!
With about 15 minutes to go, the oppo started constantly moaning to the ref now, producing silly fouls on the merton lads, one particular moment saw their stocky number 10 crying about it after two clear fouls on Aaron who was now dubbed “Neymar” for what was seen as two perceived dives by the oppo however anyone with a good IQ could see it was just dirty tactics by the Actonian boys. Our Colonel Mustard however cheeky remarked: “he’s better then Neymar” much to their annoyance. Haha.
A mini fight soon broke out with their Centre back and new Daddy Adam who absolutely nailed their centre back to the canvas with the perfect tackle! I don’t think he was prepared for a muddy game at the hood. Adam was having a solid game since coming on the left stopping everything and bombing forward with real menace.
It was clear that Actonians were just frustrated now….
The moment soon came: Dan Peace received the ball, made a darting run, he then chose to hit a long range effort from like 30 yards!!! Which scorched into the top corner!!!! sending Merton into a frenzy!!!
ABSOLUTE SCREAMER! 2-1
You could see how much it meant to Dan with his celebration, the guy looked like Lebron James when he leaped in the air in joy
The game should of been buried not long after that when Nyle picked out a beautiful through ball pass to Aaron who left his defender for dead but his shot narrowly missed the post.
Actonians had a late push to try and seal the equaliser. But a few tactical fouls from Merton was required to see out a well deserved 2-1 victory & let’s not forget that De Gea type save tipped over from Iain at the death of the game when the oppp striker was one on one
Full time analysis: Solid performance from the midfield who won their battles by being aggressive. Defence as a three were solid and compact. The wing backs and strikers linked up well by creating problems for the oppo.
Full time score: Merton 2 Actonians 1
CAFC U10 Greens vs Merton U10 – 16.12.18
16th December – Under 10s report
Merton made the short trip the home of Carshalton Athletic on Colston Avenue for today’s away match. The match was played on Carshalton’s FIFA 2* 3 G Pitch which meant that last week’s mud-fest at Joseph Hood would not be repeated. The pitch was quite narrow and Merton were playing left to right in the first half.
Carshalton made the brighter start and had the first two chances of the game; the first following good work on the left. Their shot at the end of the move flashed wide of Max’s right hand post. Close! They put their second chance wide of Max’s left-hand post.
These two chances provided a wake-up call for Merton and they responded in the right way. After six minutes, Dave had a shot saved and this was followed by a shot from Rio that was just wide of Carshalton’s left- hand post.
Two minutes later, Rio found Dave on the left and Dave shot to the bottom right of the goal. It went in!
0-1 to Merton.
Merton had clearly adapted to the playing surface now and were controlling a midfield as congested as the M25 on a Friday afternoon. With ten minutes played, Rio provided another assist, this time for Maxwell who’s first time shot was too much for the Carshalton goalkeeper. It went into to the bottom right corner of the goal.
0-2 to Merton.
After 11 minutes, Rio had another shot that went just wide of the left-hand post. Then Dave had a shot saved. Carshalton had a shot that they put wide of Max’s post.
After 16 minutes, Maxwell made an interception and headed off towards Carshalton’s goal. He shot to the bottom left of the goal. Goal!
0-3 to Merton.
Merton were playing well defensively as well as offensively; there was good work by Harry, Joe and Ollie that ensured that Carshalton did not find a way back into the game.
After 19 minutes, Dave hits a good shot to the bottom left of the goal. It went in!
0-4 to Merton
Twenty one minutes played. Up to this point, Faris had made positive contributions to the team with good tackles and runs but had not added his name to the scoresheet. He was about to change that.
He won a tackle and ran towards goal before unleashing a shot to the bottom left.
0-5 to Merton
Two minutes later, he was back at it again. Tackle, dribble, shot and goal. Bottom left placement again.
0-6 to Merton
In the 24th minute Maxwell crossed for Dave to calmly slot home to complete his hat-trick from close range.
0-7 to Merton
Shortly after the referee blew for half-time.
If the Carshalton boys did not come out for the second half it would have been understandable. No-one wants to be on the wrong end of such a hammering. Credit to them for keeping their heads high and coming out ready to go again.
When the second half commenced, it was clear that Merton had eased their foot off the accelerator. In fact, I would go as far to say that they had parked up and were having a picnic beside the road.
Dave was now in goal and launching himself into all manner of dives to the left and right.
All of Merton’s players were enjoying themselves. Max was now an outfield player.
After 5 minutes, Rio had a shot that was parried. Louis was first to react and smashed his shot into the net.
0-8 to Merton
Eight minutes of the second half played, Carshalton were now creating a few chances and they managed to score. Dave ‘the cat’ parried the initial shot but their striker was on hand to slot home.
1-8 to Merton
Ten minutes gone, Carshalton won a corner. The initial shot is blocked but again they react first and their striker smashed home the loose ball.
2-8 to Merton
They could not come back from 2 -8, could they? This was their best spell of the match.
Faris was on a hat-trick and clearly keen to score again. With 14 minutes played, he went on a run and shot to the top left corner of the Carshalton goal. It went in!
2-9 to Merton
Incredibly there was still another goal in the game; after good work in midfield, Louis scored his second with a great shot to the bottom left of the goal.
2-10 to Merton
A couple of minutes later, the referee blew the final whistle.
Well done again, boys!
Special shout out to Percy who wasn’t able to play today.
Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!
Author: Mike Pitt
Merton Res 1 Old Alleyns 3s 3
Despite all the rain the Hood pitches were just about playable. This was a good competitive game. It was afairly even game but Alleyns took their chances and we did not, particularly early on. After about 20 mins Alleyns took the lead with a good run down the left and finish. 2-0 seemed a little harsh when we misjudged a ball over the top and their winger ran on to it and finished well and that is how it was at Half time, It became 3-0 when a good effort from outside the box dipped over the keeper. But straight from the kick off Woody scored from the half way line catching their keeper out and me as I missed it too. It was a very competitive game and the ref did well to keep the game going. A couple of worrying injuries their keeper took a nasty knock to his knee and in the same incident DQ did his collarbone. As I said good game to watch and both teams played some good football. Our man of the Match was Conor who had a running battle with their winger and the referee. As ever he did not see eye to eye with either of them but that motivated him to a tireless effort to turn the game around. Ben Cook was voted DOTD I am not quite sure why but it could have been for any number of reasons,; hung over, late, getting booked, but none of it stopped him playing pretty well. Thanks to Dan for organising the team and playing a good captains role.
Merton U10s vs Claygate Royals – cup match – Sunday 9th December 2018
This was to be another hard lesson for our fast growing U10s side. Today’s curriculum was based on the importance of taking your chances to avoid paying the price of cup defeat, albeit after the agony of penalties.
The game kicked off slightly early with Constant Merton pressure in the first 5 minutes. Shots came in from Farris leading to a good early save and Rio who went narrowly wide.
Farris then played in Rio twice in quick succession and he shot just wide again. Good passing from Merton followed and the onlookers wondered if this was going to be another strong performance following good form this season so far.
Maxwell then won the ball in midfield and played through Rio who shot again and the keeper made a 3rd good save. The Claygate keeper was looking as solid as any we have seen at Joseph Hood Rec this season.
But elsewhere Claygate could not impose any control on the game and Farris made a nice turn after winning the ball on the touch line and was fouled. Merton failed to make use of the free kick and moments later it was Percy on a good run on the right and his shot was deflected for another corner for Merton. Again the ball was cleared by a belligerent defence.
Claygate had hardly entered Merton’s half after 10 minutes but suddenly they had an aimless pass forward which went straight through to Max for his first touch.
Another good run by Farris led to a cross but again Claygate made a clearance. As Claygate had a little more of the ball our defenders spent more time involved and their play in to midfield was excellent, especially from Ollie and Harry.
Dave, Louis and Joe were subbed on in midfield and Dave had an early shot which hit the stanchion. Then a good run from Joe and his shot was saved. The Claygate keeper was having a blinder.
Ollie and Harry continued as solid as ever at the back. The first shot by Claygate took 15 mins to muster and it was wide and tame. They soon forced another shot and this one was an easy save for Max.
Louis then went on a forceful run on the right and was tackled as he looked to play the ball across the Claygate box. He then linked up in midfield with Percy which led to a shot over the bar. Then another good move followed involving Dave, Louis and Joe who crossed for Dave who headed high for the Claygate keeper to save.
Another good move followed after wonderful determination from Ollie to win the ball high up-field but the move resulted in a blazed shot over the bar again. Another shot followed by Joe but this time at the keeper. It was as if Merton could control the entire field but just could not hit the target.
After another good move from Merton broke down and Claygate broke away and forced a good saving tackle from Joe who prevented a shot at the expense of a corner which was cleared by a combination of Ollie and Joe.
A good half ended goal-less with Merton on the attack through Dave and Maxwell.
As the second half kicked off Joe played a nice through ball early on to Louis who finally struck first blood for Merton in the bottom left corner. 1-0 to Merton.
No sooner had Merton scored than a mess up in defence led to a calamitous Claygate equaliser. A body blow when commanding so much of the game.
The boys redoubled their efforts. A good tackle by Louis won the ball and released Farris for a mazy run and shot wide. A pattern we had seen plenty.
Play was then stopped for a foul as Louis clipped the back of a Claygate midfielder who stayed on the ground for a few seconds.
Attack after Merton attack led to saves and misses. Good play but not the goal. The onlooking supporters were transfixed but wondered if Merton might pay the price of their profligacy?
More chances followed but Merton didn’t manage to finish them off. The tension was huge.
Percy then made a good challenge and won the ball and crossed but it was cleared yet again. More shots from Maxwell and Rio followed.
The ever calm and resilient Harry was having his usual solid game and in the next attacking move passed the ball well with Louis. The move led to a shot from Percy but another save.
Another passing move between Harry, Louis and Rio led to Maxwell having another shot which was blocked yet again.
Claygate then got a free kick on the edge of the Merton box right on the point of full time but it was blazed over. 1-1 and penalties which proceeded as follows:
Maxwell – narrow miss wide
Claygate scored 0-1
Rio scored 1-1
Claygate score 1-2
Louis shot saved 1-2
Claygate shot saved by Max 1-2
Harry shot saved brilliantly by keeper onto the post 1-2
Claygate score 1-3
Dave shot saved 1-3 and Claygate are through
The opposition manager summed up the morning nicely as he shook Neal and Roy’s hands and said “I’d hate to play your team on a great pitch.”
Merton 6s v Old Parks 9s
After a good few days rain, an 8am pitch inspection is required to confirm that the SAL Cup 2nd round game can proceed, with an extensive walk around the park, the groundsman and his dog gives us the thumbs up and we confirm the 130pm ko… game on
Even as late as 1130am, the 6s went form 10 players to 14, but settle on 13 for the game. Without fail, MQ turns up with the gloves, this week he gets to look at the back of the heads of Steve B at LB, Ricky at RB, and Tom comes back to partner Joe at CB, a change in formation see 3 in midfield, left is David, Right is Ty and centre is left to Phil, with the an attacking 3 of James on the left, Daban on the right and Lewis straight down the middle
As clouds begin to accumulate in the distances, the games underway and OP9s are pressing from the start. 2 early corners are dealt with well and cleared, the formation sees Ty and David sit in a more holding roll with Phil just a bit further forward, although most of the play is OP9s but without any real threat. Joe and Tom deal with the OP9s CF well, but the big has a good few tricks up his bag and keeps them on their toes
On the half hour mark and honours even, it takes a piece of luck for the break through, from a OP9s goal kick, a straight forward ball that should have been dealt with between David and Ty, sees the OP’s speedy winger nip in and steel the ball, racing towards Joe and Tom, a quick 1-2 sees the ball run loose and a 50/50 challenge lets the ball bobble forward to the advancing MQ, unfortunately the OP9s striker managers to scuff a toe and make some luck as the ball changes direction and goes under the advancing dive of MQ, with just enough power to stop over the line and for a 0-1 lead
Not undeterred, the 6s are not playing bad, in fact, some of the play is remarkable good, composed around the back and towards the middle, with the forwards making good runs in behind the defence, it’s just the end product that’s missing with as well as a bit of luck
Still with minutes to half time, some good play from M6s, sees Phill roll the ball into DG path’s, who picks out a curling ball over the top and into the path of Lewes, albeit having to use all of his pace to get to the ball as the keeper changes his mind and back tracks, now clear on goal and keep in no man’s land, rifles a low shot to bring the scores level t 1-1
Halftime and a change in personal, Daban moves out to allow Matt to go right back and Ricky to go forward, Phil, who for once is not at the races (so he is human after all!) makes way for Ed on the left and DG to move centre
Takes a few minutes to adjust, back the game is back in full swing and end to end. To make things more interesting, the heavens opens up with a freezing cold shower which in turn bogs the pitch down. Still trying the passing game, the balls from both sides are largely over hit or taken by the wind, some of the tackles, although not malicious, are going in thick and fast. A corner swings over and a melee of players climb for the header, DG wins the battle but falls awkwardly. With ‘el cappo’ departing the game, Phil comes on in his place. Still with 20 minutes to go the game swings back again to end to end stuff, OP9s having the better share of the game, but M6s looking dangerous on the counter.
With minutes to go, and penalties looming, it seems both teams have settled for a draw, ref indicated a minute to play, OP9s with a chance shot from 30 yards and Phil’s there to head away, but with the driving rain and greasy conditions, the ball deflects and clips the out stretch hand, the ref ponders and finally blows up for a penalty, MQ divers the right way but is still short by a yard as the balls nestles in the net for 1-2
With just seconds M6s don’t even get a chance to have one last attacks as the ref brings the game to a close, a sad loss but in fairness a very good game played between 2 teams that like to pass and move
Next week we welcome HSBC to the Hood (pitch inspection pending!) for the AFA Cup game, a team that has scored 35 goals in 4 games at home yet has lost 3 of their last 4 away games….! ‘Interesting’
MOTM: Joe D, stepped up and played well and was by far the outstanding player for the day
DOTD: Phil, apart from apologising to the oppo after every (miss timed) tackle, the icing on the cake was the clearance header on to his hand… it was like his noggin was replace by a Dairylea Triangle!
Team: MQ, Ricky, Joe, Tom, Steve, Ty, DG ©, Phil, Dabs, Lewes, James, Matt, Ed
It was a miserable, rainy day perfect conditions for
a derby game and we blew it. We lined up with Iain
in goal, Nathan LB Mustard RB, Neal and Mike at
CB, Sam S and Vin CM, Britney LM, Sam K RM with
Aaron and Fitz up top.
A lot was spoken about tactics before the game
but that all went out the window when a really poor
defensive error by Mustard let them in for an easy
chance to make it 1 – 0 to Carshalton. A simple cut
back from the byline was slotted in and we’d gone
behind early, AGAIN.
We had started trying to play football but were
struggling to keep the ball during the first 15 mins and
were 2 – 0 down before we got started. Poor marking
from a corner left them with an extra man and he
made no mistake smashing a decent half volley in the
top corner. Jimmy came on for Fitz after 20 mins and
made a difference but we were still chasing the game.
We managed to rally after that and started playing
some good football without creating many clear
cut chances. Then just before HT the ref (worst this
season) decided to sin bin Sam S for ‘harrassing’ him
(in my defence i’ve done worse this season and stayed
on the pitch) HT 2-0.
So we kicked off the second half with 10 men and
did well despite being a man down for the first 10
mins. We dominated the ball for long periods but still
couldn’t create much for the strikers. As we chased
the game it became more and more open and they
scored a terrible 3rd goal. A mistake from Neal gave
them a chance to square it in the 6 yard box, the ball
spun off Vin and nutmegged Iain for their third. Sums
up our season so far really.
Last modified: 07:40
Merton 3 EBOG 1 (HT 3-0)
This was a cracking performance and win for our first team against a very good EBOG side who were unbeaten in the league so far and looking very likely to go back to the first division at the end of the season.
They started very slowly and we created some good opportunities and took the lead after about 15 mins. This was a deft Jimbo back heal from a Jonny cross. Soon after their left back decided to take the ball past George who took the ball off him and crossed for Jonny to score. Then just before half time we had a really good passing move down the left which seemed to have broken down and was half cleared to the other wing where Max fed Josh who finished decisively to make it an improbable 3-0. During the later stages of the first half EBOG had settled and played some good football carving a few good openings and missing them although I seem to recall that they got their taste for hitting the crossbar.
The second half got under way with EBOG scoring far too early for comfort and playing some good passing football. We defended resolutely, Scott and Browner at the heart of the defence with Max and Jordan doing well on the wings. EBOG created some great chances and were very unlucky and the crossbar came to our aid on at least three more occasions. But we carved out a terrific opportunity to make it four with a slick quick passing movement but Jonny shot narrowly wide. Isaac came on For Jordan with Vanny proving effective at full back and Isaac’s fresh legs working some relief. And we held out.
This was a good all round team performance and everyone put in a good shift with Josh playing a captain’s innings and being Man of the Match. In fairness you could make out a good case for almost all of our players.
EBOG looked a really good side and should in all probability be promoted at the end of the season. They were well organised and had three or four really good players who pulled the strings. They lacked alittle bit of discipline but I understand their frustration as they did not have much luck all afternoon. The ref had a good game, it was not easy and gave them a good share of free kicks. But they got on his back and picked up a sin bin. Still a great result for Merton and a great team effort.
Team: Sherbs (GK), Jordan, Browner, Scott, Max, Josh (Capt), Jimbo, Joe, Vanny, Jonny, George Sub Isaac for Jordan .
Merton 4s vs. Actonians Association 7s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 24th November 2018
Following last week’s draw at home to West Wickham, it was another home game for the 4s in the form of Actonians Association 7s.
Having reviewed last week’s result something has to be done formation wise. As a collective, we opted for a 3-5-2 formation. The back 3 consisted on John Gridley, Joe Plumridge and Darren Avey with yours truly (Ed Plaistow) and Thomas Murphy taking up the roles of left and right wing back respectively. The midfield three was made up of Andrew Stears (start Full deserves following last week’s man of the match performance), Roman Bilivskyi and Andrew Minkevich. The strike force was made up of Denys Zhurbiy and new recruit Isaac Ssebugwawo. Callum Fisher arrived last so had to settle for a place on the bench.
The game started well with Merton on the front foot from the off. It wasn’t until half hour mark however that we manage to grab our first goal of the game. Isaac, causing a nuisance in the box was clipped and as a result the referee pointed to the point. Up stepped Denys to convert under the keeper into the bottom left. 1-0 and that’s how it remained going into the break.
We kept the formation and personnel the same going into the second period. The plan was to pick up where we left off in the first half, however this was not the case. A lapse in defence allowed the visitors the chance to equalise which they did with ease following a 4-on-2 situation in favour of Actonians.
It wasn’t long until we regained the lead, Romans right footed half-volley squeezing under the keeper. Once again, Actonians upped the ante and managed to equalise for the second time in the game. I can’t remember in what fashion they did but they did!
Fortunately that was as much as Actonians had as it was all Merton from then on.
With 30 minutes to go Merton took advantage of the game. Roman played a delightful ball from left to right which was met by the skipper. The control of the ball was Messi-esque however the finish…..words won’t do it justice! Having beat the left back a composed left-footed finish from all of 20-25 yards beat the keeper….he might have rushed out leaving the goal gapping but the finish was of the highest quality! (Not to blow my own trumpet).
3 soon became 4 when Darren Avey got on the scoresheet, bundling home following John Gridley’s header back across goal. That goal was followed up with a 4th from Isaac and then a 5th from Andrew Minkevich.
All in all it was a great team performance and one we hope we can take into next weekend’s game away to Polytechnic 6s where we hope to better the 1-1 draw from the previous meeting.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 6 – 2 Actonians Association 7s
SCORER(S): Denys Zhurbiy (pen), Roman Bilivitskiy, Edward Plaistow, Darren Avey, Isaac Ssebugwawo, Andrew Minkevich
MOTM: Andrew Minkevich
DOTD: Edward Plaistow
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Darren Avey, Thomas Murphy, Edward Plaistow, Roman Bilivitskiy, Andrew Minkevich, Andrew Stears, Denys Zhurbiy, Isaac Ssebugwawo (Callum Fisher)
Merton 4s vs. West Wickham 6s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 17th November 2018
Following a break from league action last weekend, this weekend we welcomed West Wickham to Joseph Hood.
With the 5s having defeated them earlier in the season (albeit against 10 men) and us having defeated the 5s already this season, on paper this should have been a routine three points, everyone knows however that football doesn’t work in that way…
With KO delayed by 5 minutes due to the opposing keeper running late, it gave us that little extra time to discuss the best formation possible. We opted to line up in a 4-4-2 formation with Kieran in goal, from right to left the defence was made up Ed Plaistow, John Gridley, Joe Plumridge and Thomas Murphy, the midfield from right to left was Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich and Lewis Riches. The driving force up top consisted of Nick Englefield and Denys Zhurbiy.
It was West Wickham that started the game on the front foot, passing the ball around with confidence and finding gaps that seemed to open up our midfield. This confidence on the ball resulted in the first goal of the game. How it came about was a blur….
So was the second!!!!
Shortly after conceding, a change was forced upon us. Dan Kelly came on to replace Joe Plumridge. This meant that with no other option, Denys slotted into the heart of the defence alongside John. Dan Kelly partnered Nick up top.
If we were to get something out of the game, we knew that we had to pull our fingers out, work as a team and graft.
10 minutes before the break we managed to get ourselves bank in the game when Nick rifled in a right footed shot into the top corner. Nothing the jeep could do about it. I don’t know what was more remarkable, the technique to finish how he did or the fact that he managed to get through 90 minutes without getting injured!
Having reduced the deficit to the single goal, we were forced into another change before the break with Roman suffering an injury. Andrew Stears came on in his place.
Due the second half and it seemed like it was a different Merton team that took to the field. West Wickham we’re starting to tire early on which allowed us to take advantage. Although chances were created, composure in front of goal let us down. A prime example was when Dan Kelly blazed over the bar following a peach of a ball from Andrew Minkevich. It was harder to miss than score! That miss awarded him with the Dick of the Day award.
Since being introduced into the 4s setup, Andrew Stears has adapted to the competitive nature of the league and stood out on more than one occasion. This was the case again as he was calm and composed on the ball at all time and picking the right pass 99% of the time. And it was The same person that contributed to our equaliser. His ball from the left was squared to Lewis Riches, who was in acres of space down the right. With pace to burn, he beat of challenger and delivered a low ball into the box. Attempting to put it out for a corner, the opposing defender didn’t get enough on it and unfortunately for him it nestled in the bottom corner.
A difficult game but I think a far result. That is now our 4th draw of the season so we need to think about what can be done to turn the draws into wins.
Next week we host Actonians Association which is when we hope that 3 points, rather than 1 (or none) are award in favour of Merton.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 2 – 2 West Wickham 6s
SCORER(S): Nick Englefield, OG
MOTM: Andrew Stears
DOTD: Dan Kelly
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge (Dan Kelly), Thomas Murphy, Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivitskiy (Andrew Stears), Andrew Minkevich, Lewis Riches, Nick Englefield, Denys Zhurbiy
It was a pretty typical Saturday in November, it was cold and it had been raining all morning but the pitch seemed to have coped quite well so it was boggy rather than sopping wet. We were playing a team that was doing well in the top division albeit in the AFA league so we didn’t quite know what to expect.
The game kicked off and Merton started squeezing quickly considering the rather lack lustre warm up. The front 3 closed them down quickly with full of energy which the opposition didn’t seem to know how to deal with, within the first 5 minutes Ivan had got onto a loose pass back inside there penalty area and unselfishly played it back to a screaming colleague who was running into the box……this should have been a simple stroke into the goal, little did he know it was Jimbo….the shot was smothered. Another 5 minutes later and George had hassled the defenders and won the ball back, dangerously running to the by line, he managed to pull it back to Vanny who tried to direct it first time into the goal but narrowly missed the far post. Dorkinians were in trouble and the Merton lads had their tails up……blood was in the water! Unfortunately, although there seemed to be enough chances to get a goal, it didn’t materialise. The game settled a bit until a bit later when George ran down the right wing and squared to Pritch (our stand-in striker) who calmly slotted home with a surprisingly good finish. 1-0 Merton and it looked like it might be an enjoyable day.
The first half seemed to change significantly after this and the Oppo got into their stride, keeping the ball well and attacking with purpose. Their left winger started to really show his quality by causing trouble every time he got the ball, tricky for a big fella. Soon after this they scored with a well worked move and a clean strike from the right hand side of the box. They seemed to realise they had got themselves out of trouble and Merton couldn’t seem to get and hold on to the ball……Dorkinians seemed to cause problems each time they attacked and after a simple throw in, their winger flicked the ball over Joe Grew and volleyed the ball from a tight angle into the top left corner, a good goal but it was pretty lucky to nestle in the only place our keeper couldn’t get to. The first half ended 2-1 down after a good start.
There were a few forced changes at half time and Max had volunteered to go in goal and had reassured Clappers that he has significant experience between the posts. The second half seemed to be a completely different game, we seemed to have more of the ball but we were unable to really create much and didn’t have any clear cut chances. The quick distribution from Max didn’t let Dorkinians settle and they didn’t seem to like the end to end game. There seemed to be plenty of fight left in the Merton boys who all pushed and battled to the end but then Merton conceded a free kick about 35 yards out, to the right hand side of the box. Merton expected a well whipped in cross but what resulted was even worse, the player hit a clean shot which again found the top corner of the Merton goal with little our deputised keeper could do. 3-1 to Dorkinians.
All in all not a great day but Merton did well with the players that were available.
MoM: George (A good performance again)
DOD: Vanny (For no particular reason)