Month: April 2018
Merton 7s v South Bank 7s
Off to the Extensions on a reasonable Saturday morning, the squad is a little light but with 3 of the 7 Merton fixtures called off at late notice, its with welcome arms we get PQ, Sam F & Frankie along to help out. Changed up and on the pitch, both teams warm up waiting for the ref to turn up… after much deliberation, its decide that we will have to do a half each, just like the previous fixture between these two teams, so up steps Steve B with whistle in hand!
Staring with the old fashion 4-4-2, Lee takes up the roll between the sticks, Ryan at right back, along side PQ and Joe in the centre, Martin making a start at left back. Midfield 4 of Andrew on the right, Sam & David © in the centre with Luke out left, leaving Billy & Niall to run around up front… waiting in the wings, Tom, Frankie (and Steve!)
As the game gets under way, its Merton who take the game to SB7s, with good possession and using the flanks well, its not to long before SB7s keeper is brought into action. Luke Billy & Niall working well to test the keeper early are unlucky only to get a corner for there hard work.
The first 25 minutes is manly the 7s probing and working the ball well from back to front, Joe & PQ calmly dealing with any attack, and with Lee mopping up any over hit balls for the overlap, however he comes off worse in a clash after a freak 1v1 with the SB7s forward, hobbling around, but keen to continue, play resumes
Composed, Ryan works the ball with Andrew down the right, some good passing and moving sees Niall collects a through ball and threads Billy in with only the keeper to beat, he waits and slots low and right to break the deal lock 1-0
Confidence is up, and Merton now take control, 3 or 4 attempts go begging, Billy sees a volley on the run from 16 yards go the wrong side of the post, Luke unlucky not to make contact after a great cross from Niall.
2 free kicks in space of 5 minutes after Niall, twice is kicked in the chest, brings no joy. Firstly, Niall whips a shot over the wall but directly at the keeper, the second sees Billy also beat the wall but again, not the keeper. As the half comes to an end, the 7s should be out of sight and looking at a resounding victory
Second half, SB7s turn to Ref and elect 3 players to roll on/off as no one player wanting to do the whole half. This played dividends to the game as it went from free flowing and well refed to indecision and late or no calls, which in turned frustrated some players.
Now, the 7s are losing their composure, SB7s become more of a threat, winning corners and testing the Keeper more often, with the added pressure and loss of the first have fluidity, it comes as no surprise when a lucky shot takes a wicked bounce over the out stretch, diving arm of the 7s keeper to bring the game to 1-1.
After controlling so much of the game, the 7s find themselves level pegging, undeterred, they try to get back on track, only for the SB7s to stall with ref changes and subs.. either way, the game is now becoming unbearable, after committing everyone but PQ and the keeper forward, the ball is punted forward for the SB7s unorthodox winger to latch onto… released and bearing down on the injured Lee, the dispatch shot takes the SB7s into the lead, 1-2.
After being informed there’s 23minutes left, them correct to 18 minutes, the 7s step the game up, questions are being asked as once again there’s subs and ref changes to be taken, gilt edge chances are missed, Billy with a header that is to well-placed beyond the keeper and the far post, Frankie, Niall, David are wasteful with half chances, SB7s keeper is now rolling around after each save in an effort to run the time down
Chance free kick inside the SB7s half see PQ launch a missile into the box, Merton swarm the area and its David who goes 1v1 with the SB7s keeper, like a bulldozer, David uses his strength to hold of several players to head the ball over the line and bring the game level at 2-2.
Now with 5 minutes to go, Merton 7s are back on top and looking for the win, however, a clear throw in is deemed to be the ‘other’ way as well as a stone walled corner in the dying minutes waved away as a goal kick, this sees South Bank hold on for a draw.
A point gained for SB7s, 2 points once again dropped by Merton 7s, regardless, the fact of the matter, South Bank dug in first half and was lucky to go in 1-0 down, second half they adjusted and got the ‘rub of the green’… as one player said, ‘now we go onto next week and continue the good work’
MOTM: Billy G – didn’t stop running and played some great football, unlucky not to have bagged ate least a hattrick
DOTD: Frankie… Running all the way across the pitch, screaming ‘my corner, my corner, my corner…’ (Corner ends up in the side netting!! LOL. )
Team: Lee, Ryan, PQ, Joe, Martin, Andrew, Sam F, David, Luke, Niall, Bill
Tom, Frankie, Steve
It was a gloomy Saturday afternoon in Catford as the 5s arrived to equally gloomy changing facilities for a chance for the 5s to move further away from the relegation zone at City of London. The players arrived and there was already a major shock on the cards as Aaron Byrne was one of the first players to arrive! (Judging by the shock on Ackers and Chris’s faces this was a rare occurrence!) The rest of the team arrived in dribs and drabs and the atmosphere in the changing room was good, despite the dreary setting we were in leading to the comment “I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a dead body in here”. After settling in the changing room we were approached by the opposition manager who informed us that the game had not been assigned a ref (classic) and somebody from their club would be overseeing the game. This changed nothing for the 5s and the mentality remained that we would go out and get all 3 points. The 5s were out and getting warmed up, but as kick off drew nearer there was still no sign of the home side, until eventually they emerged from the changing rooms.
Warm up complete and Dwayne announced the line-up which was: Kieran in goal, a strong back four which could be described as something of a family affair with Ryan Burchell (Finally making an appearance for the 5s this season) on the right, Steve Burchell and Chris Outred in the centre, with Dan Outred on the left. The midfield was comprised of Endy and Nikko in the centre with Dwayne on the right and Josh on the left, with Dulanie playing just behind Aaron Byrne who was the sole striker. A bench of Ackers, Bitmead and Delman left the 5s with good options off the bench should they need them.
The game eventually kicked off and the 5s were dominating the early stages, Aaron picking the pocket of their defender and only the keeper being quick of his line prevented the 5s from taking an early lead. We kept up the pressure with chances for Endy who waited too long to get his shot off and Dulanie having a venomous shout from 20 yards out whistle past the post. However the 5s couldn’t make this pressure count and City of London started to grow into the game. The defence remained solid with Steve and Chris winning everything in the air and Dan and Ryan sweeping up every threat on the ground. City of London had a chance when a ball was whipped into their bearded winger, but upon realising that he was unable to control the ball threw himself to the ground and released a sound similar to that which emanates from Chris and Ackers work van on those cold winter weekdays. It appeared this particular player had a similar type of relationship to Ackers and Chris only he was infatuated with the ground as he spent as much time on it as he could. We managed to limit the oppo’s chances until Kieran decided he wasn’t having enough fun and decided to try and help City of London out. A free kick from the half way line was whipped into the box and Kieran looked to be in the perfect position to deal with it. However what followed was a cross between a Superman impression and a pisshead attempting to play beach volleyball, which given that Kieran had been to 2 pubs that morning leaned towards the latter. The ball sailed over Kieran but fortunately Ryan, having witnessed similar antics for the 7s this season, anticipated this and was there to spare Kieran’s blushes. There was another scare not long after when a ball was played over the top and a lack of communication lead to Dan two-footing Kieran just outside the box as they both went for the same ball. Their striker managed to get a shot away but Chris sensing the danger was on the line to clear the ball away before play was stopped due to the injury to Kieran. Halftime came and the 5s had largely dominated the first half, with Josh running riot down the left and Endy and Nikko controlling the centre of the park. (When Endy wasn’t doing keppy uppys on the edge of our box!) The team talk was positive with the 5s playing well and the request was simple, more of the same.
The second half began and the 5s were immediately on the front foot, Josh still dominating the left hand side and Dan was backing him up given the option to whip the ball in. The possession was good but the 5s were struggling to create chances and get a much needed goal. With City of London only having the counter the defence stayed in control and there were no real threats, except a couple of speculative long shots. Bitmead came on for Dulanie to try and give us a different outlet in the middle of the park. (Bitmead requested that it be mentioned that the score was 0-0 when he came on like “a knight with a sword, shining armour and a white horse to save the day!”) The 5s were in complete control of the game and the elusive goal finally arrived after a period of constant pressure. Josh again making a run down the left got the ball back to Dan who whipped in an outstanding cross to the back post for Aaron to head the ball across the keeper into the opposite corner. A brilliant and thoroughly deserved goal, which seemed to cause a surge in confidence of the whole team. A second shortly followed with Bitmead picking the ball up in the centre and playing through Josh who again beat his man and put the ball on a plate for Aaron to beat the keeper and pick up his second of the game. The 2 goal cushion was just what was needed and the 5s began to feel the game was secure. The defence remained strong with strong but fair tackles going in from Ryan and Dan, and the confidence was clear to see when arguably the moment of the game happened. With the ball rolling back to Ryan on the halfway line and one of their players chasing it down, Ryan delicately chipped the ball over the players head and collected it the other side as the player carried on running, presumably to go and get a hot dog. Unfortunately Ryan got carried away with this and his speculative volley didn’t have enough power to trouble the keeper. The nail in the coffin came right at the end of the game when Josh picked up the ball on the left and whipped it in to the head of Dulanie who nodded it past the keeper and the defender on the line to make it 3-0 and seal the three points for the 5s!
The MOTM and DOTD voting in the bar was a close and controversial affair. With Josh and Dwayne having a strong debate as to why the other one deserved to be DOTD, the votes were in and Kieran just stole DOTD for his Superman attempt and being late due to missing his train as he was in the pub! Ryan was voted MOTM just edging it ahead of Nikko who also had a fantastic game running the middle of the park.
A strong performance and a well deserved victory in a game that the 5s dominated from start to finish earning a valuable 3 points that should see relegation be avoided!
Merton 3s 3 – 4 Alleyn Old Boys 4s
With the recent wild weather and the SAL’s “we don’t fancy it so we’ll cry off” policy conspiring to deprive the Boars of football for over a month, appetite was high leading up to this clash. After it, another month off would work for me as Merton lost a distinctly unpleasant contest by the odd goal in 7.
Merton Council’s policy of turning the changing room heating up to full whack just in time for summer didn’t help an already ailing Glenn, suffering from another presumed STI. Barry and Ricky didn’t even see the inside of the changing room, thanks to the unforeseen Saturday traffic that also delayed the oppo. Regardless, both teams started with 11 and the ref blew his whistle right on time, not that you could hear it above the din the 1s were making on the top pitch. Glenn set his health concerns to one side and put the Boars ahead before calling for the touchline oxygen. Mustard and Lofty engaged in a bout of head tennis in the centre circle, before the latter nodded forward to Denys whose flick put Glenn in on goal where he made no mistake. Mistakes were made down the other end as Gresty flicked a free kick into his own net to level it, and sort out the DoTD debate nice and early. Before that, a frantic minute in the Merton box saw the workwork hit 3 times (one being the crossbar miraculously hit from a yard out), the ball cleared off the line a couple of times and a penalty shout turned down. Merton had little to shout about themselves up the other end but all square at half time felt about right.
The half time break was notable for Ricardo asking if anyone had a spare pair of boots, because he hadn’t brought any to this particular football match. Cue incredulous looks all round. Back underway, Merton took the lead when Gresty nicked the ball and played a rampaging Barry into the box, where he was promptly scythed down. Penalty, and even the gobby oppo couldn’t complain about this call… not that it stopped the gobby oppo complaining about this call. Denys hammered home the spot kick and with half an hour to see off Merton were looking good. This triggered a decisive substitution as Alleyns brought on a ridiculous looking character sporting pink locks like a My Little Pony doll. In fairness, he was a fine player and a minute after coming on beat a couple of men and rifled past Sam to make it 2-2.
The goal of the game followed. Lofty knocked a solo kick off out to the left for Barry to run on to. Barry stormed down the wing and whipped a sumptuous cross into the Alleyns box… where not a single yellow shirt could be found. No matter, as the left back strode onto the cross and clinically half-volleyed it beyond his bemused keeper into the net. Back came Alleyns again as a cross from the right saw My Little Pony steal in to add his second. 3-3, and a game that could have gone either way. By this point, Alleyns had committed what seemed like hundreds of men forward and they were on the ascendancy. Welchy and Risty did their best to repel the onslaught, while PQ made up for an unusually quiet Iain by moaning loudly about the lack of Merton midfield cover, including that from big brother DQ, now deployed in a latter-day Mark Hughes role somewhere between midfield and attack.
The winning goal came controversially, as their forward controlled a bouncing ball with his hand before firing into the net. The eagle eyed ref spotted the infringement, but decided this was accidental and the goal stood. Thanks.
Behind for the first time in the game, Merton pushed forward. Walshy made a rare foray into the box from open play then theatrically flung himself to the floor. Then Mustard went on whatever the opposite of a mazy run is; dribbling in a dead straight line from the centre circle to goal line near the corner flag, where he kicked it out for a goal kick. Good stuff. Merton had one last chance when Glenn, back on field after the all clear from the doctors, couldn’t beat the keeper from a tight angle.
That was that, another tight loss and in truth an outing in which Merton never really found top gear. At the final whistle, Alleyns decided to forgo the traditional handshakes in favour of a bit of a ruck which continued into the changing rooms. Classy.
Merton: Sam S-R, Iain, Walshy, Risty, PQ, Mustard, Gresty, Lofty, Glenn, DQ, Ricardo, Barry, Fitz, Denys
Match Report – 24/03/2018 vs Old Finchleans 6’s (AFA CUP FINAL)
The time had come for many to venture into the unknown and actually play a cup final for the mighty Merton. After weeks of build up, which included an additional training session and numerous what’s app messages, the day had arrived. First of all the gaffer would like to say picking the cup final squad was one of the hardest decisions of being a manger and letting people down isn’t my forte! But the people that wasn’t selected took it with dignity and accepted the decisions made – fair play to them.
So onto matchday – I would like to thank Dodge and all the people that assisted in making the day feel special to us. First of all by providing breakfast rolls and coffee at the hood was a great touch and for all those that helped pay for the coach, it really meant a lot.
Once we arrived at EBOG there was a sense of disappointment that this ground had been selected for a cup final. The pitch wasn’t the best (but can be expected after all the bad weather) and the fact that the ground was 5 minutes away from our oppo soon become apparent with their large and hostile support arriving on mass.
So the starting 11 was as follows: Merton number one Swanny in goal, back four of Gaffer, Chappell, Grant and Andy. The midfield consisted of Ty, Lee, George and Callum with the strikeforce of Nick and Tony upfront. Supersubs were Reece, Matt and Pete.
So with a team talk, war cries and exchange of pennants (which I forgot!) out of the way it was onto the match.
We knew this would be a battle, anyone that smashes a Polytechnic team in the semis on their own ground were gonna be a good outfit.
The oppo crowd of mostly drunken youths were making themselves heard and booing every touch from Merton along singing some lovely songs which will recreate at some point!!
We were under the cosh for the first ten minutes but stood firm and started to get into the game. Then the first big moment of controversy. Some neat play by Merton resulted in Tony nicking the ball in front of an onrushing goalkeeper and then was taken out. Stonewall penalty! Referee didn’t think so and waved play on. Merton were incensed!! As it turned out this was our big chance and maybe the ref was intimidated by the crowd or felt it was too early on in the game. But after this it was pretty much one way traffic and we were on the ropes.
Around 20 mins in, a good ball in from Finchleans resulted in there player volleying home from the penalty spot. We were 1-0 down, but still tried to play our game on a pitch that was against us.
Unfortunately Lee suffered a nasty injury from a late tackle – which again went unpunished and had to be replaced. Matt came on and was putting in his usual shift trying to win tackles and break up play.
Half time came and we were still in the game. We were just hoping for that one chance!
We held our own in the second half but soon began to tire. Nick was forced off with a dodgy hamstring and again Pete came on and tried to influence the game. By now though the oppo began to flood midfield and were overrun. When they scored their second it was no surprise as a long range effort drifted in. 2-0 down.
After that changes were made to try and salvage something. We tried everything and with players giving 100% I couldn’t ask for anymore. Unfortunately as we chased, we gave away 2 more sloppy goals and ended up losing 4-0 to an unbelievably strong 6’s team.
The crowd on the sidelines and things that were said (and smoked) did take the shine off the day, but hey we were young once!
In the spirit of the game the Merton lads were gracious in defeat and applauded the winners off the pitch when they collected the trophy. It did hurt to see them celebrate, so let’s use this as motivation to go and get this league title!!!
I would like to thank the Merton support that made the long journey down to support us. I defiantly think my brother and Connor boosted EBOG’s bar takings!!!
Also hope that Lee and Nick make quick and strong recoveries from injury!
Man of the Match: No votes taken as everyone was superb.
Dick of the Day: no votes again
Next game: away to City of London
Written by the Gaffer