Month: March 2018
25th March 2018
Under 9s 2
Goal Scorer Faris 2
With a later than usual kick off of 11.45, this week saw the under 9s host Moormead Wanderers. With the opposition playing in luminous yellow, and only having 7 players, Archie’s brother, Freddie, who was wearing the Real Madrid luminous yellow goalie kit, asked if could play for them. I would have let him, but given the final result I think there would have been arguments and gloating later that day about the score. Although the pitch was playable, it didn’t help that the Merton schools fun run competition, which took place during the week at Joseph Hood had marked out the running course through the pitch. Top side of the pitch looked as those 120 school kids including Archie, Faris and Louis had stampeded through the pitch. So the tactics for this game was to avoid this side of the pitch and keep the ball the other side. Easier said than done with youth football.
Both teams warmed up off the pitch to avoid any more damage. With Louis falling ill over the weekend we had a 9 boy squad. Line up this week was Max (GK), Ollie and Harry (defence), Lewis (captain), Percy and Joe (midfield), Faris (forward). That left Archie and David on the subs bench. We started slowly, under hitting our passing, losing possession and not passing quickly. This led to Moormead reacting to the mistakes and going 3 nil up in the first 10-15 minutes. An own goal by Joe which couldn’t be help and their second goal was a cheeky chip over Max and slowly rolling over the muddy goal line. Their keeper had a good kick on him and quickly cleared the ball when he had it to the front two. This did cause some problems but Harry and Ollie did well to defend the quick counter attacks. We did have some chances, Archie when coming on hitting the target, Lewis having a go also but goal keeper saving well. Faris made some good runs with the ball considering the pitch conditions and had some chances. One of those found the net and brought one back before the half time whistle. 3 – 1 at half time and a lot to do and improve on in the second half.
Changes made at half time; the second half was a lot better. The boys put in a lot more effort to get the game back level. We hit the post and bar a couple of times when eventually Faris bagged his second of the game to make it 2 – 3. At the other end Max pulled off his usual great saves when they broke through on the counter. Great rushing out to close down the striker. With the exhausting pitch conditions the boys got tired, but never gave up. Unfortunately with the time running out the boys couldn’t find the net to make it level and a well-deserved point. We had a free kick on edge of box, which up stood Percy who placed lovely in the top right corner. Sadly the goal was cancelled by the ref, due to Percy taking the free kick before the whistle was blown. His second effort not so clinical and went horribly wide.
Final whistle blew, 3 – 2 to Moormead in an entertaining but tiring game for the boys, spectators and dogs. Next league game is away to Barnes Eagles Colts on 15th April. Although no rest for the Easter break as two friendlies have been arranged to keep the boys fitness up and burn off those Easter eggs. One on Easter Sunday and the other on 8th April.
11th March 2018
Under 9s 6
Sheen Lions 1
Goal Scorers Faris 2
With the past weeks poor weather conditions, questions were asked whether the match was going to be on. Arrived at The Hood to find that the pitch was playable, just needed some forking to drain some areas. Neal and Stuart took care of this as they had experience of forking from their Saturday game. Chell forgot hers as they were all in the dishwasher!! Both team managers, referee and parents where happy for match to go ahead, so it was game on. Parents stood on the other side this week out of the boggy side line on the other side. Max’s and Lewis’s sister entering in the mud and teaching the dads on the side line the new dance crazy going about of flossing. The ref got the game on the way. The line-up this week was Max GK, Ollie and David (defence) Louie, Harry and Joe (Midfield) with Lewis up top. Percy, Archie and Faris on the bench. Considering the pitch conditions the boys started well. Trying to avoid the middle of the pitch, Neal instructed the ball to be played out wide. Although as the game went on it really didn’t matter which part of the pitch we played on. Breakthrough came from Merton, as Joe latched on to a shot by Lewis, which their keeper saved only for the ball to get stuck on the line in the mud. Joe sliding in to put into the net, one nil. Sheen levelled with some good one two passing and again their player following in on from a save from Max. Ollie doing well to sweep up at the back any balls that came through. Changes made half way through first half with all three subs coming on. The mud causing some tired legs out there. Both teams trying their best to grab the lead before the half. Half time whistle blew. 1 apiece at the break.
We certainly had the better possession in the second half and best of the chances finding the net 5 times. Faris finding the net twice, Lewis, Percy and Ollie getting in on the act as well. Percy also rattled the crossbar with a thunder bolt of a shot. Each goal was set up and put away nicely. In fact every boy could have got on the score sheet week each with chances, video below of Louie’s missed header. Max as usual pulled off a few excellent saves, but had a quieter match this week. As the game went on the pitch got muddier in most places, as Faris and Lewis found out falling face down in to it. The question on all the parents minds were that these kids had to get in the cars once game was over and how to do this with minimal dirt getting on the upholstery. Considering the tiring conditions both teams played some excellent football.
This week’s man of match was handed to Lewis. Next week’s game is against rivals Croygas on a less muddy 4G pitch at their home ground.
Merton 3s v Alleyn Old Boys: 1-2
There is potential for confusion regarding which match this refers to as it could be read out of chronological order. This is due to Walshy’s apparent failure to successfully send the match report (from the previous game), to the right e-mail address. He claims to have written it. Why did he send it to the wrong e-mail address? Why is his e-mail not accessible through his phone? Why is he ignoring chaser messages in the WhatsApp group? Has he even written the report? To be able to successfully answer these questions is to understand the technological dinosaur with an inability to focus on detail, that is Walshy. To avoid any confusion, this match report refers to the Boars’ game against Alleyn Old Boys on Saturday 24 February 2018.
Friday 23 February 2018, the match day WhatsApp group is created. It’s evident that the availability epidemic has struck again, with a squad of 12 and 4 new lads in the group. As it was an away game, we knew Darcy wouldn’t be playing, also Mario seems to retired through injury and DK can’t quite shift his damaged toenail.
On to the line up, Walshy, fresh from a late night poker session and being our tallest player, didn’t seem to be keen to play outfield and started getting changed into the keeper’s kit. This was a clear indication that he was going to be replacing our goal scoring, elderly relative birthday partier, keeper Sam Singer-Ripley. As is quite standard these days, our entire back four was made up of players that don’t naturally identify as defenders, with Iain showing his versatility and playing at CB. The midfield 5 saw the introduction of 3 debutants, Akram, Sam and Vladimir. This left the Beast from the East as our sole striker and Matt Shreeve, who must have thought the kick off time was the meet time as our one sub. The crocked Fitz was running things from the sidelines.
Mustard’s first job was to win the toss, which he successfully did. He opted (after some deep analysis with Walshy) to play into the wind and allow the oppo to defend with the bright winter sun in their eyes. Keep it tight in the first half and then let them have the onslaught in the second half.
The Boars settled into the game well and on a small pitch were able to play a high pressing game combined with some good incisive football, which with Iain and Neal as ball playing CBs and Ricky as a Neymar like left back, we were always looking to play or take the ball out from the back. Akram and AHR led the pressing game really well and this resulted in the opposition losing possession a number of times. This gave the veteran Lofty a chance to showcase his passing game, given that he wasn’t required to do doggies all game. Vladimir showed a calmness on the ball, as well as penchant for Olympic diving, to link up very well with his teammates. In particular this led to the opening goal with the high press resulting in Denys receiving the ball and playing a one two with Vladimir before placing a calm composed (this really doesn’t sound like Denys) past the keeper to give the Boars the lead at half time. Another debutant, Sam Kapadia lined up on the right hand side of midfield and had a solid start to his Merton career by being a good outlet and providing good defensive cover when needs be.
Shortly before half time, Matt Shreeve was bought on for his debut (as he’d finally arrived and got some kit on). It was immediately evident that Matt possesses the pace of the like that we’ve never seen before, by latching on to a ball that the defender must have had a 30 metre head start – it all looked very promising for the second half.
In the second half, we couldn’t quite get our attacking game together, as the deemed advantage of the wind, meant in practice that we were over hitting our passes on the small pitch and therefore it was harder to utilise Matt’s pace and get in behind them. Matt did have a great chance when put through on goal but lofted the ball just over the bar. Tempers started to fray on the pitch (the oppo’s not ours) and this resulted in one of their players being sin binned. Composed defending at the back was keeping our lead in tact. Although with twenty minutes to go, the ball was lost on our left hand side and we didn’t clear our lines. This resulted in their left midfielder picking the ball up and shooting past Walshy, whom had been having an impressive game in goal (other than a reluctance to talk to his defenders and responding with “f*** off” when being advised to do so). Walshy made a few more good saves and Merton occasionally broke. One such opportunity saw Mustard break into the box and he was clipped as he went in, which naturally resulted in him hitting the deck (as a player of that speed and huge upper body strength, would clearly be knocked off balance, if kicked in the ankle). The opposition decided to call it as a dive, which it clearly wasn’t. Perhaps they’d been influenced by the other diving calls they’d made throughout the game and were just creating fake news. The ref clearly didn’t think it was a dive, as he didn’t give it as such but regrettably a large chunk of the Boars squad had been sucked into such fake news and felt it worthy of a dick of the day nomination. In doing so, not feeling that some even more compelling acts were not worthy of winning. Ricky was nominated for diving although his foul throw was missed. Vladimir then copied Ricky by doing his own foul throw and then proceeded to do at least two dives of his own. It was an absolute travesty that a non dive should be designated as a dive and then win the DOTD award ahead of more compelling acts!
Things were all square with a minute to go when AOB had one last push and seemed to send everyone up in open play, which left a 7 foot 2 inches CB to tower over Mustard who had two players on him to get his head on the ball to claim a last minute winner. Gutting conclusion to what had been a really even game, with a much-improved performance from the Boars.
One footnote, the move from full back to CB for Iain seemed to have a massively calming effect on him and we saw none of the “Angry Iain” verbals that we’ve come to know and (not) love. This resulted in him having a very good game. More of the same please. However it seems that by him not being angry, it must have transferred to Ricky, who received 2 nominations for DOTD for his verbals (by unnecessarily picking fights with a team mate for nonsensical matters).
Finally, MOTM, Akram, a very solid debut typified with decent passing and tenacious tackling / hassling of the opposition. Well done.
Team: Walshy, Mustard (captain), Iain Evans, Neal Davison, Ricardo Iglesias, Sam Kapadia, Akram Choudhury, AHR, Lofty, Vladimir Melechestev, Denys Zhurbiy. Sub: Matt Shreeve
Goal: Denys Zhurbiy
DOTD: Mustard (for being fouled in the box without the referee awarding any infringement of football law)
Merton Reserves 2-2 Carshalton (h)
Scorers: Graham Willgoss, David Quainton
Team Handsome’s bare XI versus a Carshalton side looking to go top of the league: this was always going to be a tussle.
But then that’s a quality Merton Men can guarantee. Exemplified by Conor Murphy’s Man Most Handsome performance, the home side twice came from a goal down for a deserved draw.
Conor’s cohorts in defence were equally magnificent, with Joe Grew sorting out anything that came his way, Haydn imperious and PQ once again reminding everyone why he’s made the right-back spot his own.
Darcy and Dom in the middle of midfield crunched into their challenges time and again. Both also found scope to seek out Sherbs, in goal, from midfield while kicking against the wind. We can only assume they were hungry for more life-or-death 50/50s. And what a pleasure to have Pearcey back in the side. He showed this was exactly his sort of game, too, battling hard and showing no little skill in the right areas (but more of that later).
For his part, Sherbs not only remembered to stay in his box with ball in hand, he made one of the saves of the season to keep out a fine free-kick. Seeing the ball late as it arced over the wall, our man threw himself to his right and got an all-important strong wrist to it. PQ was alive to the subsequent danger, and his challenge was enough to put the onrushing winger off. Sherbs puffing out his cheeks as the ball finished up in the side netting was an absolute picture.
Up top, EJ was a pleasingly constant niggle and a persistent threat. DQ, meanwhile, had his best game in ages. It was the older Quainton, in fact, who set up Merton’s first equaliser. Sort of. A Conor throw-in from the left, and DQ tussled as only he can (like Mustard, but fairly). The resulting melee saw the ball bobble around the six-yard box before an attempted clearance by Carshalton rebounded off one of their own players and looped up for Wilgo, who volleyed home from eight yards.
Merton might have twice taken the lead at 1-1. Wilgo collected a Conor pass and skinned the right-back to pull the ball back to Pearcey, but his effort was well saved. Later, a Wilgo-Darcy-Wilgo pinball combo was cleared off the line three times. Frustrating. As it was, about as unsporting a Carshalton side as have visited the Hood instead scored in typically unpleasant fashion.
EJ was having none of that, however, and took the game to the oppo, working the ball into dangerous areas every time he received it. One such foray forward found Pearcey six yards out. Then, something wonderful happened: Pearcey and DQ agreed that one nawty back-heel deserved another. First, Pearcey’s, deliberately, to DQ. Second, DQ’s, to sweep the ball into the corner of the Carshalton net. Lovely.
Boys, if we score a more delightful goal this season, I can’t wait to see it.
Team: Sherbs, Conor, PQ, Joe Grew (DOTD), Haydn Dance, Pearcey, Wilgo (c), Dom Preece, Darcy, EJ, DQ