Month: February 2018
South Bank 7s v Merton 7s
Glorious day, but cold… as in ‘bloody cold’. Off we go to south bank, trying to keep our 1 game unbeaten run going, the stats don’t look good, 2 wins in the last 10 and sitting 2nd from bottom.
The 7s are once again missing Kieran, who’s reportedly been kidnapped by the ‘Bar’ fairies at the local tavern, so in good old 7s fashion, we wing it with a few 4s and 6s!
Starting well with a 4-4-2, the 7s take the game to south bank, 2 early misses by Billy are soon forgotten when his third shot on target is parred into the path of Luke who calmly slots home from 20 yards for a well-deserved 0-1 lead
Still on top, and some good probing runs from the 7s ‘wing backs’, these producing further chances which go begging. Any SB7s attack is being well defended by the back 4, which in turn is being marshalled by the in-form Steve B, so it was to no surprise that the lead is doubled after some good work from Niall on the left wing, who picks Billy out with a great cross that see him volley in at the far post. 0-2
Half time and some minor reshuffles see the 7s start slow, not long into the half, a static team watch as Martin, who had a good game, is beaten by an unchallenged shot inside the area 1-2
1 becomes 2 when once again, South Bank work a good goal and Martin is left exposed, the old jitters are creeping in and an uncharacteristic mistake by Luke sees him back pass to a South Bank player to make 3-2
Trying to steady the ship, the 7s press and create a few chances that go begging, notably a free kick is floated in the danger area, which is skied over the bar from 8 yards, unchallenged!
South Banks are now playing with confidence and further good work from a counter attack see number 4 roll pass the stranded Martin, who was at no fault.
Still pressing, the 7s break away, Billy gets free and using his pace steals a yard on the defender, but before he can get the shot off, he has his heels clipped and at full pace, takes a serious tumble in the area, this results in a penalty. Billy however, must go off due to the injury and the reasonability goes to Niall to bring the 7s back in the game. Unfortunately, the keeper guesses correct and manages to get a good hand on the ball to keep the scores at 4-2
In the final 15 minutes, South bank break, and from a good 20 yards, pings a dipping shot into the top corner that not even 2 keepers could keep out..
So, in a nut shell, a game of 2 half’s, and they were much better in the second half than the Merton 7s.
MOTM: Steve Burchell, never stopped trying.
DOTD: Luke Pellet, was having a great game till his dodgy back pass or 2!
25th February 2018
Merton Under 9s 2
Kingston Town Academicals 3
Goal Scorers Faris 2
The last match report I wrote we played in the same cold (but not wet) conditions about a month ago. Thankfully this week’s game got switched to our home ground and the pitch was playable. The pitch actually looked in good condition, slightly frozen in places, but game was on at least. The boys (full squad) all turned up on time. Neal telling each of the boys to keep wrapped up warm until kick off. Again Joe braving the cold by wearing just shorts refusing to wear leggings. Louis braving the cold by refusing to wear a coat, so much so that his dad returned home to get him one, whilst there forgot to pick himself up some gloves. The parents, coaches and couple of siblings (with a hot water bottle) on the other hand wrapped up warm on the side line. Although by the end of the game feet and hand couldn’t be felt by all.
Starting line up this week was Max (GK) Harry, Archie, Ollie, David, Lewis and Faris. On the bench were Louis, Percy and Joe. This week Neal placed a running sensor on Percy to see how much he was performing. Pictures below with the results. We started off slowly but passed the ball about nicely. Unfortunately when we gave the ball away the opposition counter attacked and their centre forward taking his chances well putting Kingston Town 3 – 0 in the first half. One of his goals was put away nicely with his head from a right by-line cross. Few changes made by the coach .The boys continued to play some good football and linking up well. Faris put two away to bring the score back to 3 – 2 and that is how the half finished. Quick team talk and back for the second half. Not realising he had no shin pads on, ref ordered Percy to leave the pitch to go and put them on part way through the first half. Not sure if the sensor picked this up or not?
The second half we put on a bit more pressure. The opposition having the bare 7 players didn’t look like they were tiring. The continued to get us on the counter attack but now having two at the back we defended better stopping them from scoring. Max saving well as usual and David and Joe clearing a couple of balls off the line. We had some great play with some good through balls and wide play especially by Louis who continued to try and get crosses into the box. Chances came and went but no outcome of a goal. Their goalie pulling off a great save near the end to deny the leveller. The second half saw no goals and result finished 3 -2 to Kingston Town. Considering the cold weather and score, all the boys put in a good performance and worked hard.
Parents quickly cleared up the equipment, Taff pointing out and apologising that he had to get away sharp, this meant Stu had to put away one of the goals. I think he had a sun bed booked to top up his Goa suntan.
MOM this week was given to Louis.
Hampstead Heathens v Merton 2s
Scorers: Wilgo, Dan Rist, Haydn Dance
Going on the name of the oppo, Team Handsome assumed yet another north London away day was in store. But in an SAL first, we were grateful to be playing in Lewisham in bright sunshine.
It was a bright start from Merton, too: Dan Rist, on the left, pinged an arcing cross-field ball to Wilgo running beyond his marker on the opposite flank. The skipper cushioned a first-time header beautifully into Ackers’ path, in space 10 yards out. Sherbs in goal was already audibly celebrating the only possible outcome. But Ackers found only the post.
He made up for it two minutes later with a flicked header from a Conor throw-in. Heathens’ keeper couldn’t deal with the looping ball in the sunlight, palming it only as far as Wilgo, who cushioned a volley home from close range.
Things started getting tasty soon after, Man of the Match Haydn the first to suffer a full-frontal assault and a four-inch gash across his knee. That this continued as a theme for the remainder of the game was apparently of little interest to the referee, who completely ignored – among others – a stone-bonking DQ penalty shout, Conor being pole-axed and Gresty being kicked five feet in the air. He was, however, very keen on seeing that Sherbs took a little time out in the sin bin for asking politely about the first on that list.
That alone was enough to earn Merton’s number 1 Dick of the Day (as nailed on an award as we’ve seen, with turning up nearly an hour early and unsettling the squad and wandering out of his area ball in hand among Sherbs’ other offences). He was still furious three days after the final whistle.
It should have been all over bar the scything come half time. Wilgo could have made it two when through on goal but for an excellent save. Then there was that nailed-on DQ penalty. Gibbo and Rayner injected a little more zip after half time, the former’s wild shoot-on-site policy worthy of a DotD nomination. Dan Rist did make it two, having all the time in the world to cut in from the left and pick his spot at the near post and sorting it out for us all. Thanks Dan.
With around 20 minutes to go, a Haydn notched Merton’s third with a close-range volley from a corner. Conor made an excellent save while replacing a sin-binned Sherbs while Rayner did an excellent impression of a brick wall as a fill-in left-back. Conor was having none of that when subsequently restored to his usual spot, and gave away a penalty.
It finished 3-1, and Merton third in the table.
Team: Sherbs, Conor Murphy, Peter Quainton, Haydn Dance, Joe Grew, Ryan Gresty, Dom Preece, Dan Rist, Wilgo (c), Ackers, David Quainton; Gibbo, Chris Rayner
Match Report – 17/02/2018 vs Norsemen 6’s (AWAY – AFA CUP SEMI)
Well the biggest game of the season thus far was upon us and it was the small matter of an AFA cup final spot up for grabs.
Manager Smithy managed to convince the boys it was a 13:30 kick off (when it was 14:00), and everyone made their way to the venue on time. Well when I say everyone, George got lost at Morden and the boys had to get off the tube at the next stop to wait for him.
We had a strong line up and a massive thanks goes to Spense for agreeing to miss out.
We welcomed back Lee after his long term injury, which was great news for the sixes as he has been missed in certain games.
The team talk in the changing rooms prior was making sure everyone was focused and knew their roles. After a bit of music we made our way to one of the back pitches for the game. It was a welcome sight seeing a ref and two linesman making there away across the field, as this is something we were not used too!
One last team talk and then the game started at a frantic pace.
Initially Merton were on the back foot, but we were looking very dangerous on the break. Disaster did strike in the 5th minute with Grant giving away a clumsy penalty. Word of advice Granty boy, when appealing its outside the box, make sure you are standing outside of the box first! They scored and we were thinking this may not be our day. This did give us the wakeup call needed, and as the saying goes, the scoring team are at the most vulnerable after scoring and within minutes Tony scored with a cool finish. 1-1!! The game then settled down, but didn’t lack the challenges and passion of a semi final. Moments before half time disaster struck. Merton failing to clear a corner, after numerous chances to do so and with Kev ball watching left their player to score with a good finish in the corner. 2-1 down at half time.
Half time team talk consisted of us trying to play our normal game as the result will take care of itself, as the sun and hill would come into play second half and it was to our advantage.
Second half began well for the mighty boars and we started to create chance after chance. The skipper had a goal bound header spectacularly cleared off the line and the resulting ball back found Nick after a flapping attempt from their keeper who slotted home. 2-2
The lads started to tire and a few changes were made with Matt coming on for the skipper and moving in to right back. Chance after chance went begging for Merton, so it was no surprise that we scored soon.
The self proclaimed Big Dog scored a third (can’t remember how this came about) to queue wild celebrations from the lads.
After we went ahead, Norsemen changed their formation and came back in the game, however this left them horribly exposed at the back. We missed numerous good chances as Tony and George missed 1on1’s to good saves from the unorthodox keeper.
With all these chances missed, the inevitable happened. Hitting us on the break, Norsemen equalised making it 3-3. The heads went down slightly and were out on our feet. Smithy came back on and managed to get booked for a minor scuffle as one of their lads couldn’t take a strong challenge!
Extra time came and Swanny was the busier of the two keepers, pulling off a couple of blinders. I was fearing the worst and was also worried about the players dropping like flies. This is where all the younger years of playing Champ manager came into its own, making changes and tinkering every couple of minutes!
With penalties looming, Merton created one last chance to which Tony, who was limping in pain, managed to squeeze a shot past the keeper. 4-3 to Merton and another hat-trick for Tony!
In the celebrations it was clear Tony couldn’t continue, on came the skipper to make a back 5 to protect what we had. The pressure to hold on was immense and everyone put their bodies on the line. With minutes to go Matt spotted an opportunity to finish the game and was clean though only to sky the chance – we were thinking the worse!!
Luckily the referee blew for full time and a great match came to end. Merton celebrated like mental and Norsemen were gracious in defeat and wished us well for the final. Even poor Tony shed a tear at the end, but think that was cramp!
So there we go, the lads move onto to the AFA cup final on the 24th March 2018 at EBOG and I hope we can get a decent travelling support coming from the Hood. On a personal note it was great to manage the lads on the day and everyone gave 110%. Nothing is won yet, but we have a great chance for a historic double!
The celebrations lasted long into the night and I gave up at 01:00, whilst a few hardy souls carried on!
Man of the Match: No votes taken as everyone was superb.
Dick of the Day: no votes again
Next week away to City of London
Written by the Gaffer
5s 2-1 HSBC
Following some poor results of late we started this game in the bottom 2. Hsbc were third in the league, so we faced a tough game to try and pull out of trouble. And the pitch signified the way our season had been going really – damp, bumpy and with poo on it (immunity from dick of the day goes to Josh for removing it). At least it wasn’t raining this time.
We tactically sent the oppo to the wrong pitches so we would have more time to warm up – we don’t seem to have long enough before a game as it stands! Unfortunately we forgot about the warm up part, however we started uncharacteristically well. We were stringing quite a few passes together despite the conditions and looking much more solid than recent weeks. They had the first chance against the run of play with speculative a looping header that was cleared off the line. It spurred them on to their next, with their player breaking through 1v1 against Kieran. His well struck shot was kept out by Kieran’s legs using his eagle-eyed concentration from the prematch beer. They were starting to get some rhythm which was worrying, however itdidnt last long.
Typically we were playing some good stuff in the middle of the park but failed to find the final ball. Some good play gave Nikko the space to finally pick the lock and play a killer through ball to Aaron b. In his current form he doesn’t need a second invitation. His first shot was saved but he reacted quickly to follow it into an empty net from just a yard out to make it 1-0.
The goal effectively killed the half and really, we should have created more after getting in some promising positions. We sensed at half time that this game was there for the taking, but it would be one hell of a battle.
Through necessity, they really came at us in search of an equaliser. We battled harder than we have for a while, putting in challenges at every opportunity, getting in their face and doing those cute tactical fouls that we hardly ever do. Despite our efforts to keep them at bay, we gifted them a way back into the game. Their striker latched onto a through ball and chipped the ball towards the goal. Chris did superbly to get back onto the line, however he did not quite so much with the clearance. It appeared something between a punch and a bitchslap – either way, a clear handball. The pen was a good one, and they drew level at 1-1.
Cue an onslaught. They threw everything they had at us, however we held out rather well. They managed only shots from distance and one clear cut opportunity where a blatant foul wasn’t given, their player ran through 1 on 1 with Kieran and shot low and hard. Kieran stuck put that trusty right boot yet again and kept us in with a good chance of winning the game.
A fundamental shift occurred when their player lost his head at the challenges we were putting in, with Josh’s the final straw. There may have been a little provocation centred around his cute little ponytails to throw into the mix, but nothing beyond the ordinary on a football pitch. His reaction resulted in some hardcore pushing with intent, and their team focused on calming him down and stop him trying to get to Josh – presumably with a kiss on the cheek. Whatever it was, it was clear that they were a little embarrassed by it. The call from their captain was for the team not to lose their heads, and very soon after they went 2-1 down. Funny how things work.
They had easy possession in their own half with Aaron B the only man high enough to press, however it was enough to force an error. A casual pass across the back line was well read and intercepted by Aaron, and he raced through to a 1 on 1 situation with the keeper. He kept his nerve (yet again) to slot under the keeper to put us ahead.
We had a great chance to extend the lead, with Aaron b played through yet again. He rounded the last defender however before he got to take the shot, Mike took over. His shot sailed over and I think it’s fair to say that Aaron B wasn’t too happy at the time, however secretly we are all sure that it was deliberate to avoid buying (or owing) the team yet another jug. And he did confess to this match reporter before the game that he thought he was only going to score a brace… all evidence points to a conspiracy.
In games gone by we have chucked leads away at will, and we gave this one a good go too. An overload on the right saw their winger break into the box. Running at pace and at Dan, he just about managed to get his toe to the ball to get it away from Dan and went over his legs to get the pen. It wasn’t as if the leg was outstretched so can be deemed to be a bit harsh, but it was given. Their new taker stepped up,, however Kieran read it perfectly. At full stretch, he caressed the ball to safety (out for a corner so not necessarily for us) and we held on to the lead from there. Terrific stop and a suitably dramatic way to end the game, however next time if we could be less mindful of Kieran’s golden glove points and more mindful on winning the game, that would be appreciated.
The team performed outstandingly as a collective, so picking a man of the match wasn’t the easiest this week. Darren and Dan at the back get a mention for being remarkably solid at the back, despite Dans insistence that he is a striker. They put several strong, at times last ditch challenges resulting in a welcome move away from our habit of conceding 3+ goals. Nikko was every bit as persuasive as the last game when he won MoM, complimented very well by Tiggsy who kept their dangerman quiet all game. Aaron B got a couple of votes for another couple of goals up top, and joshs and Dwaynes work in pressing and moving the ball through midfield shouldn’t be understated. The award, however, went to Kieran who had another superb game capped by an excellent penalty save.
Dick of the day was less contentious. Trials for the GB beach volleyball team for the 2020 olympics start soon, and Chris put himself firmly in the loop for a place. The only way it could have been more obvious would be if he picked it up and ran with it!
Well done lads, and if we can play consistently like this for the rest of our games then we will have a chance of finishing in a respectable position.
Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 7s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 17th February 2018
Following last weekend’s exit from the SAL Cup, we were back in league action this week with Polytechnic 7s making the trip to Wimbledon Common Extensions. This was a game we needed to win in order to continue in our quest for promotion, if not the title.
Again, our squad was weakened with Sonny Kennedy, Akram Choudhury, Dan Gridley and Michael Elgar unavailable. We did however managed to piece a squad together with Darcy Yates, Ryan Burchell and Adrian Thompson (a Sunday League teammate of Frankie’s) being drafted in to help out. Jack Dethridge was also a new face within the mix. We would have been able to name two subs had Ricardo turned up however this did not materialise.
Having the right personnel we were able to line up in our usual 3-5-2 formation which has served us well throughout the season.
Although the playing surface wasn’t the best, we were on the front foot from the start. The wingbacks in myself and Ryan supporting the midfield three to cause the visitors all sorts of problems. Within the first ten minutes we got the breakthrough that we deserved. A slick move, which started from the back line, was completed when Ryan found himself in the box to fire a square ball from Dom into the roof of the net.
One soon became two and did so with one of the best goals witnessed since my time at Merton. A ball was played out of the back to Dom up top. With his back to goal, from 25 yards out, he teed up Jack, using a combination of his shoulder and chest, who unleashed a left footed volley into the back on the onion bag! 2-0 and cruising.
Twenty minutes before the break Jack bagged his second and Merton’s third after the keeper failed to keep out his long range effort. This however was as good as it got!
Joe Plumridge had to leave the field of play for ten minutes having picked up a booking for dissent, meaning he was the latest to participate in the sin bin trial. Fortunately we were able hold on without conceding during his absence which is how it stayed until the break.
The team talk at the break was a positive, which was expected taking into account the score line. Fast-forward to the team talk at the final whistle and it was far from positive, and this is the reason why….
Polytechnic reduced the deficit with a ‘worldy’ from the left which even had Gubby saying “What a goal” as it hit the back of the net. Polytechnic then reduced the deficit further when Gubby could only parry a long range effort into the side netting. The equaliser came shortly courtesy of a near post header from a corner. From 3-0 up at half time the score was now 3-3 with ten minutes to go. Then came the sucker punch!
The referee awarded a penalty to Polytechnic after Adrian raised his hands to protect his face. A harsh decision considering the distance travelled from foot to hand by we probably would have claimed had it been us.
For the third game in a row we have blown a three goal lead to lose. This result is a further blow to our promotion/title push but all we can do is keep going in the hope that other results go our way.
Next week we host the other Polytechnic side in our league which, on paper, should be an easier game if the reverse fixture is anything to go by as we won that 8-1. Unfortunaly football isn’t played on paper so we need to give all we can.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 4 Polytechnic 7s
SCORER(S): Jack Dethridge (2), Ryan Burchell
MOTM: Will Toms
DOTD: Joe Plumridge – Sin binned.
STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Gubby (GK), Joe Plumridge, Will Toms, John Gridley, Ryan Burchell (Adrian Thompson), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Will Harrison, Darcy Yates, Jack Dethridge, Aaron Loftus, Dom Plumridge
Merton 4s vs. Actonians Association 7s
ISEH Intermediate Novets Cup, Quarter Final
Saturday 10th February 2018
by Edward Plaistow
If there was any week in which you wanted a postponement, this was the one. With only seven regulars available, there was no other option but to seek help from elsewhere with Aaron Byrne, Luke Newman, Chris Outred and Phil Truman from the 5s stepping up to help following their postponement. Denyz Zhurbiy was also part of the squad. We were further strengthened when Matt Bosher, who had turned up at Joseph Hood for the non-existent 1s game, became our 14th man. When asked if he wanted to help out, it was pleasing that his response was ‘Well it’s better than going home’,
The playing surface at WCE was more like a swamp than a football pitch. In all honestly I wouldn’t have been surprised if the referee had called the game off due to the amount of standing water visible but with him and the opposition having “travelled a long way” the game went ahead.
Having not played the visitors before, we didn’t know what to expect. Their results in the league were nothing to go by having only played a fraction of the games we had. Although we had a shift in personnel, we were able to line up in our usual 3-5-2 formation. Michael Elgar replaced Gubby in goal with the latter unavailable with Chris Outred coming into the back three alongside Dan Gridley and Will Toms. The only other change saw Aaron Byrne partner Denyz up top in the absence of Dom Plumridge with Aaron Loftus dropping into a number ten role.
It was a slow start with the playing surface not helping. We were unable to string a succession of passes together which resulted in Actonians having a lot of the ball early on. Their number 4 in the middle of the park being the catalyst for everything they were creating. It wasn’t long until their dominance in possession paid off when Mikey was unable to keep out a low drive from 20 yards.
Conceding kicked us into gear. We were getting a foothold in the game creating opportunities. Denyz was holding the ball up well with Aaron Byrne causing all sorts of problems on the right hand side. On the half hour mark we found ourselves level courtesy of Aaron Loftus and that left foot of his. We were now on the front foot and we soon found ourselves in the lead with Sonny converting following a layoff by Aaron Loftus. We kept our composure for the remainder of the half.
We were playing some good football, as a result, the team talk at half time was possible. In order to freshen this up changes were made. John Gridley took the place of Mikey in goal as he was unable to continue following a collision in the first half. Luke came onto replace him taking Johns spot at RWB. Phil replaced Chris at the back and Matt came on in place of Aaron Byrne.
The second period started better than we ever could have imagined when two minutes in, Aaron Loftus gambled on a mistake by the keeper to fire a left footed shot into the bottom right of the net. This however was the trigger where things went downhill.
Within 10 minutes of increasing our lead, the game was level with Actonians bossing possession. Legs were tiring which were made worse when Sonny was sin binned for dissent. During his ten minute absence, which seemed liked a lifetime, the visitors used the extra man to their advantage. The extra man combined with some poor defending (the guys would agree!) the game finished 6-3 to Actonians meaning they were travelling back to Acton with a spot in the semi-finals.
This is a game to forget but hopefully we will have our revenge in the league fixtures.
With our cup run over until next season, we look forward to hosting Polytechnic at Joseph Hood next week hoping to continue our fine form in the league.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 6 Actonians Association 7s
SCORERS: Aaron Loftus (2), Sonny Kennedy
MOTM: Aaron Loftus
DOTD: Sonny Kennedy
STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Elgar (GK) (Luke Newman), Will Toms, Dan Gridley, Chris Outred (Phil Truman), Edward Plaistow, John Gridley, Akram Choudhury, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Denyz Zhurbiy, Aaron Byrne (Matt Bosher)
After last week’s debacle of the oppo turning up at the wrong ‘home’ ground (apparently), we travel out to contest the 1st v 2nd (from bottom) game of the day,…. verse the mighty HSBC 6s (or 5s or 4s or whoever they can get to play on the day… !)
As per norm this time of year, it’s grey, wet, muddy… really muddy… no really, really muddy!… and blowing a gale. So, perfect conditions for 2 of the supposedly worse teams in the division to get it on.
The 7s welcome back ‘El cappo’ from his overextended snowboarding trip, along with top scorer, Billy, unfortunately, this also brings about the loss of, Steve (being abused by the SAS again), Dan (Getting his hair done then on to afternoon tea, (we have photos Dan!!!)) Ram (Got lucky and went to the NLD) Tom (something about speed dating and farms!) Joe (deported back to Thailand) Daban (forgotten who he is?!) Adam (tailing Dan and keeping us posted with sordid pictures!) Chris (Must be with Daban) Noor (Is this Daban in disguise!) Luke (Got lost somewhere north on Friday, sounded like ‘Mudchester’, under the ruffled call from what only can be presumed was the back of a police car!)
This, leaving us with no choice but to put the call out to the 5s & 6s for help, and they come to the rescue to bolster the squad to bring the numbers up to 14. This turns out to be a shrewd move, as apparently, HSBC had the same problem and also field similar amount of ‘new recruits’
After Ryan dispatches 2 decent balls into the stream behind the goal while warming up, he takes the early lead in the DOTD nominations as Kieran runs off to wade in a good 500 yards or so further down the fast flowing mini-river… thus delaying the squad announcements till just before kick off
Starting with Kieran between the old chop sticks, Josh at right back, Darren and Kev as the centre pair and Delman on the left, David as the single holding midfielder, pushing a 3 of Ryan, Josh FS, Andrew, finally Billy and Niall up top…. 4-1-3-2 (Just made it up as we went along really!). On the bench Martin, Dwayne, Nikko
First 10 minutes, see the 7s5s&one6s get there feet together, with such a mass of different personnel, the communication is limited. This helps HSBC who play down the flanks and test Kieran early on. As ever, old safe hands keeps the score at zip all with 2 good, if not cracking saves. However, a soft throw in sees HSBC split the defence and volley low and hard beyond the 7s keepers glove. 1-0, only 10 minutes gone
Coming to terms with the state of the pitch and being ankle deep in mud, the Merton Hybrid team rally and create a few chances of their own, Billy using his pace to get between the HSBC centre backs, notices the keeper off his line and tries an audacious lob from 40 yards which just goes wide, further good work from the front 5 and the very impressive Josh FS who is trying his best to boss the central area, is interchanging with neat passing, sets up Andrew, who’s goal bound shot from 6 yards is deflected over the bar by the HSBC defenders HAND and out for a CORNER!
Billy whips in a fierce ball to the near post, with Niall losing his marker and guiding the ball with a deft touch with his chest, the ball nestles for 1-1
In true 7s fashion, straight from kick off, the 7s entertain a FIFA glitch and watch as HSBC take 3 touches and slots pass the advancing 7s keeper, without even being challenged… that didn’t last long! 2-1
A lot of cursing and moaning, the game draws to half time, it seems the pitch, weather and conditions are getting the better of the Merton squad. Aggrieved to be 2-1 down, the ‘mish-mash’ team rally and get back into the trenches for the second half. 2 changes see Delman make way for Nikko and Andrew for Dwayne, Ryan drops as a sweeper to cut out the through ball. Nikko and Dwayne on each of the wings. Now with a bit of grass below the 7s boots, its HSBC turn to be stuck in the treacle end.
Start of the half, Its HSBC who are the more composed and start well, creating the early chances which are dealt with by the rearranged formation. Good strong tackles from Darren, Kev & the art of the slide tackle by Ryan, 7s seem to be copping with the early stages of the 2nd half. HSBC break down the left, sees the ball passed square, before the shot is off, Darren times a perfect interception/sliding tackle that’s see the ball spin off for a throw in, however the ref seems to think that the players was impeded first and awards a penalty! Protest aside, and luckily no cards, up steps HSBC for a 3-1 lead, but justices is served as the kick is wide and off the post, score remains 2-1
Opposite end, the 7s are now getting the better of the game, being more composed and working the ball down the flanks, win another corner, Billy whips this near post, a melee of players throw themselves at the cross, the ball rebounds and sits up, David first to react, lofts the ball over the keeper and towards the far post, clearly over the line, the defender has to scissor kick clear the ball out and on to the cross bar, Ref waves play on! Not much protest from the 7s as it was all over in a flash and now HSBC are on the counter.
As the game ticks over, it’s a slug fest, attack and counter attack, poor finishing, great keeping… it has it all.
7s on the push down the right flank, ball worked towards the corner, cross comes over, defender tries to clear but falls about 20 yards out to David, who dispatches a curling, top corner shot, Ryan watching from behind and has the best view is already celebrating, arms are being held aloft by the 7s team, hands on heads from the HSBC team as the ball arrows into the angle of the goal…
Somehow though….. The keeper has found momentum to cover the ground and get a full hand to tip the ball onto the post, AMAZING SAVE!!!! Everyone was slow to react, that had goal written all over it… only Niall anticipated the rebound and slotted in from 6 yards as the keeper looks on, crushed that his effort came to nothing. 2-2
Determined not to let the lead slip again and with only 18 minutes left to play, 7s dig in, a few exchanges and near misses to wrap the game up, a lack of concertation see Kev give the ball up cheaply, HSBC on the attack slots in the only gap Kieran left available and if asked, the striker couldn’t hit that spot if given a further 99 tries… (We call it 7s luck… just bad!)
12 minutes left, Josh at right back goes off for Martin, David makes way for Delman, Ryan pushes forward to make a 3 up for the last throw of the dice
The change plays dividend, Nikko pulling the strings out wide and having a strong finish to the second half, torments HSBC, likewise on the opposite flank, Dwayne seems to be having more of the ball and the leggy winger looks to be getting the better of his counterpart, Josh in the centre is now bossing the game. The last 10 is all Merton.
The pressure pays off, once again good work down the wing from Nikko and Billy, sees HSBC panic as the ball is once again arrowed to the back stick, not dealing with the cross sees, Ryan at the far post and a good 10 yards out, strikes the ball back across the goal, just beyond the keepers reach for a fantastic 3-3
From HSBC kick off, the Merton rag tags are all over them, Josh winning the ball, straight on the offensive, HSBC do their best to clear the lines, but Merton aren’t going to make the same mistake four times (says the manger under his breath… from the side lines… with one eye shut and the other looking away!) Ref indicates the games is almost up, Merton 13s on the attack… ball played into Billy 8 yards out and has both centre backs as company, instead of trying to shot, gives the eyes and rolls in Ryan, only the keeper to beat….. TO BE CONTINUED
Next week we have a home game, ‘away’ at Wimbledon common extension! Be sure to turn up, not like last week’s oppositions!!
As the 7s walk off, a 3-3 draw stops the rot. First point earned this year. The 4 game losing run comes to an end, although possible hard done by that it wasn’t all 3 points. Not because the savage miss at the end to wrap the game up, but the continued bad luck and decisions going against the 7s. A blatant handball first half, a decent tackle second half being deemed a penalty against (although missed) and a perfectly legit goal ruled out because HSBC can’t afford VAR yet! Never mind, there’s always next week’s goal fest to look forward to!!
MOTM: Josh FS (5s) done the job of 2 in the midfield and was unstoppable. Can’t see the 5s keeping hold of this youngster for long, especially if Madrid come calling (Or Ed if he gets hold of his number!!)
DOTD: … to continue the above… slots the ball just wide of the keeper… and the post by a yard or 2… clearly had too much time to think about it. However, Ryan wins the DOTD for kicking, not 1 but 2 balls into the bloody ‘river’ in the warm up! The miss at the end was just… well, unlucky!
7s – Kieran, Josh, David, Andrew, Billy, Ryan, Niall… and a cameo from Martin!
6s – Kev
5s – Darren and his band of merry men! (Josh, Nikko, Delman, Dwayne)
A match report in Limericks…