Month: September 2018
The 1’s welcomed HSBC to The Hood on Saturday looking to bounce back after a miserable 2-1 defeat away at EBOG the weekend prior (spoiler, we didn’t bounce back).
We arrived 90 minutes before kickoff to soil the pitch and do our best to avoid any broken ankles. A good job all around.
The level of commitment translated in to the first half performance as we came out with high energy and dominated possession. We should have been ahead at the half having created numerous opportunities and HSBC having very little play in our half.
Confidence was high at half time as we rightly felt they were there for the taking, and the domination continued for the first 20 minutes with Van, Ackers and George all causing problems. Unfortunately we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net and were made to pay midway through the first half when HSBC won a free kick just to the left our 18 yard box.
The ball was whipped in and I volleyed it in the top corner. Not much more to say really. There was some controversy as one of their players was drinking water on the pitch as the cross came in. An unusual, illegal tactic, but one the ref failed to spot nonetheless.
We had two glorious opportunities before the end of the game. The first fell to beardy Sam when the keeper brilliant saved his free header 8 yards out. The second fell to George right at the death which was again brilliantly saved at a tight angle.
We travel to Ally Pally this weekend looking to get our first points of the season. Onwards.
Merton 1-3 Polytechnic
With the return of Mustard to the Whatsapp group and the introduction of the newbies to the group rules, Merton 4’s were getting ready for some action away against Polytechnic.
A quick team talk by Iain before the start of the match gave the boars confidence to try and win the match.
The game started a bit slow with possession of the ball from both sides, however, Poly managed to complete more passes than us mainly playing on the left side with their winger and fullback joining the attack, producing a few instances that could have ended up in a goal. Luckily we had MOM Ryan playing left back and displaying some good and timed tackles that managed to keep the opposition from scoring and creating chances.
Our keeper also did put some good saves in the first half which enabled the team to try and counter attack. There was only one real chance for us in the first half to convert from a through pass from the middle of the park into the box which our striker (not sure of his name – Sam maybe?) didn’t manage to convert.
No changes made for the second half and after just under ten minutes Poly managed to score, 1-0 for the opposition and already under a lot of pressure. After a foul throw from Mustard, I think he decided he had enough (of his injury appearing again of course), and asked to come off.
I’m not sure how or why but our keeper suddenly struggled to kick the ball from his own area, unfortunately, this cost us a second goal from Poly as the ball did just manage to go over the penalty area. That was it 2-0 down.
I (Ricky) was increasingly frustrated with the referee decisions as no offsides were called off, allowing the opposition to play on few clear offsides occasions.
Even more when we were unable to complete good passes, or simply holding the ball, and yes I’m talking about you Billy!
When I thought that we were going to get one back as Neal put a lob pass over the defense, Poly’s last man handled the ball inside the box and the referee blows the whistle and to my surprise, it was for a foul from me apparently. No way, this ref is blind I thought and shouted.
The opposition managed to score after that again and I managed to get sin-binned and consequently DOD.
On the last few minutes, Merton carried on with ten men and somehow Willy (as he was going to post on Facebook) score with a decent finish. Final result 3-1 to Poly.
In every end, there is also a beginning. Let’s begin a good season on our next game and stay positive.
MOM – Ryan Burchell
DOD – Ricky
Merton 2-2 HSBC
Debuts for Jack Costello and Craig Bull (no, not that one – a considerable upgrade on the previous Merton man of the same name), the return of Gibbo after his London Marathon 15km and the reincarnation of Cookie were among the headlines for Team Handsome’s first league game of the season – away at HSBC.
That’s to take nothing away from Sam Singer-Ripley in goal, who saved his side more than once against an HSBC team with pace and no small intent. It was largely thanks to Sam’s heroics and savvy keeping that Merton came in at half-time two goals to the good.
Those goals, then: both intricate passing moves set in motion by the bravery, quick thinking and application of Merton’s defence and tireless midfield, epitomised by Cookie. Both moved from right to left, with Robert’s strength and quick feet buying him time and space to pick a pass. For the first, the ball found its way to Cookie, whose looped through ball bounced invitingly in front of Ackers. Our man was still at an acute angle, but his first-time (left foot!) half-volley was too much for the goalkeeper – who could only take a moment to admire the ball nestling in the opposite corner of his net. It was a passing move of awesome quality that got the finish it deserved.
Merton’s second was arguably better. Pearcey nicked the ball off his opponent’s foot and set us away. Robert–Cookie–Dan Rist, whose precise pass to Craig Bull gave Merton 2s’ new right-back-turned-left-back the space to cut in and fire the ball under the despairing keeper.
Honourable mentions go to Robert, who had obviously spent the first 20 minutes on the bench working out exactly how he was going to dismantle HSBC’s left side, and EJ, who were a constant menace. Ackers was superb as our lone striker – though at least this week he received plenty of support. Gibbo easily ran further than he did at the London Marathon (perhaps his local newspaper will interview him about this). We have missed his presence. Risty’s use of the ball was, as always, top-drawer.
Haydn and Jack at the centre of our defence were in a no-man-shalt-pass sort of mood; they were dominant in the air, brave and brilliant throughout. Wilgo, filling in at left-back after Craig found himself too tired to pass, had to help them out only the once – throwing himself across the box in the final minute of the game to stop what would likely have been a hugely dispiriting winner for HSBC. Merton had earned this.
The final word should go to the Man Most Handsome: not only did Cookie avoid being booked or sent off for 90 minutes, but his industry and quality was at the heart of everything Merton did. Ben, where have you been?
Goals: Ackers, Craig Bull
TEAM: Sam Singer-Ripley (GK) Craig Bull, Jack Costello, Haydn Dance, Paul Pearce, Dan Rist, Ben Cook, Gibbo, Wilgo (c), EJ, Ackers; Robert
Merton 1-2 EBOG
Please excuse the brevity of this report but I’m having to write it in a hurry as our DOTD, Siri, hasn’t done it. Further cementing his DOTD status.
A long trip to High Barnet, it never gets any closer, was made longer for Siri, Jimbo and Harrison because Siri had left his football boots at work. Why wouldn’t you leave your boots at work on a Friday? DOTD was written in the stars.
The slope on the pitch at EBOG tends to dictate tactics a bit and when it’s rock hard and windy those tactics tend to get confirmed. Play over and around whichever poor sod is full back up the slope and work from there.
After an even first half we went in 0-0 and were pretty please. In fact we were very please having lost 11-0 the week before and given EBOG were relegated from Div 1 last season.
The second half started well but then we conspired to gift EBOG two goals. One down the right, after Ciaran (Dennis Irwin) stepped on the ball, and there full back crossed for the forward to get in front of an uncharacteristically slow Browner.
The second goal confirmed our man Siri’s DOTD vote as he miss hit his goal kick along the floor straight to their centre forward who turned and smashed it back over his head from 30 yards. Siri explained he didn’t jump for it because he knew he was beaten. We are still wondering why he didn’t jump for it!!
EBOG then had a man sent off for a head butt. A silly thing to do as he was their best player but also because it was into Browner’s shoulder. Sadly they coped with 10 men better and we didn’t have the wit to break them down.
We got our consolation goal with a minute to go. A great corner from Jimbo, lucky as the one before was dreadful, and a good header from DQ.
A draw would’ve been fair but life’s not fair.
Siri, Joe Grew, Harrison, Clappers, Browner, Jimbo, Pritch, Akram, Tom Rowe, DQ, George. Sub: Ciaran
Scorer DQ, assist Jimbo.
MOTM: Joe Grew
Claygate Royals Hares vs Merton Under 10s
16th September 2018 – Under 10s report
Brilliant sunshine greeted Merton as they stepped onto the pitch after a relatively short trip down the A3 to Esher to face Claygate Royals. The opening exchanges showed that the teams were evenly matched; gradually Merton started to dominate possession and more importantly turn that possession into clear-cut chances. After sixteen minutes, Faris went close with a shot that Claygate’s keeper just about managed tip over the bar. From the resulting corner, Rio hit the bar and then Claygate scrambled the ball clear.
Even though Merton were creating the majority of chances Claygate looked good on the counterattack and capable of scoring. Against the run of play they did just that, after a long goal kick and a big bounce Claygate’s striker was bearing down on Merton’s goal and managed to strike the ball low into the bottom right corner.
1 nil to Claygate.
Coach Neal made changes and on came Louis, Maxwell and Percy.
With his first touch of the ball Maxwell started on a run that took him to the right side of the Claygate penalty area. He then let fly with a fierce shot into the bottom left hand corner of Claygate’s goal. Claygate’s keeper dived the right way but could do nothing to stop it.
1-all. Game on!
The game remained incredibly open, no buses were parked and no-one was shutting up shop. The referee, who was very good at letting the game flow, eventually blew the whistle for half time.
The second half started the way the first had finished with good levels of energy and enthusiasm from both sides. Merton were slightly edging it in terms of possession but still needed good defensive work from Harry, Joe, Ollie and Max to keep the scores level.
Merton’s midfield trio of Dave, Percy and Louis were doing particularly well and ten minutes into the second half Percy crossed from the left wing towards Louis. In a desperate attempt to prevent Louis getting to the ball the Claygate defender put the ball into
His own net.
1-2 Merton lead for the first time.
Claygate mounted more attacks in an attempt to get back into the game, Merton responded with their own attacks. As players tired, some of the composure of the earlier exchanges was lost. This was a fair battle that could have ended 10-all.
After 18 minutes, Maxwell managed to control a bouncing ball in the centre circle and set off toward the Claygate goal. Just outside the penalty area, he struck a powerful shot that went in to the centre of the goal just below the crossbar.
1-3 to Merton!
More waves of attacks from Claygate, more hearts in mouth moments for both sets of parents. With only minutes left to play, a long shot from Claygate is brilliantly saved by Max, only for Claygate to be first to the loose ball and slot home.
2-3 Merton still lead.
Unbelievably both sides continued to create chances right up to the final whistle. In truth, either side could have won it but Merton managed to hang on to their lead and their 100%
record. Two games and two wins!
Well done boys!
Let’s keep it going for Match Day 3.
Author: Mike Pitt
Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 6s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 8th September 2018
The first game of the 2018/19 season say Merton 4s host Polytechnic 6s.
With squads yet to be settled following an exodus 4th team regulars from last season, there were more new faces than old with only myself, Kieran Lee, John Gridley and Dom Plumridge surviving.
The first half was one of few chances for Merton however for the visitors, they hit the bar and had a ball cleared off the line courtesy of Matt Nightingale. For an individual of his stature, it was probably the best goal line clearance I have witness during my 14 years at Merton. 0 – 0 at the break.
Where the first half was a period that was easy to forget, the second was one full of action.
Following a push in the back, Polytechnic were awarded a free-kick from about 25 yards out. From the resulting set piece we found ourselves a goal down when a composed header found the back of the net. 1-0.
1-0 soon became 2-0 when a spot kick was harshly awarded. John Gridley unable to move his arm out of the way in time when the ball was ‘pelted’ at him from 2 yards all. Regardless of the appeals, the penalty stood and was converted into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
For a team that had not played together before, not even in pre-season, everyone was grafting and working for each other. This was evident when Dom managed to pull a goal back. Merton were back in the game!
This however was short lived! Less than 5 minutes from the restart, the visitors managed to restore their 2-goal advantage through a goal reminiscent the Luke Shaw/Marcus Rashford linkup against Spain a few hours later.
Disappointment was showing having worked so hard to get back into the game however we continued to press and was creating chances. Finally, one of these paid off. Denys delivered a delicate ball into the box which Dom again managed to latch onto to reduce the deficit once again.
With less than 5 minutes to go, it was gung-ho. With every offensive opportunity we committed men forward, never giving up.
Our resilience was rewarded. A free-kick was award to Merton just inside the oppositions half. With Andy Bitmead on the ball and Kieran Lee in the mix, Andy’s delivery was cleared however only as far as John Gridley on the edge of box. His ball back in could only be parried by the keeper which allowed Jonas Cabrera to unleash a right footed volley (might have been half-volley!) into an empty net. Jubilations!
This was a draw which felt more like a win! Each and every player gave it their all and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
We keep up this hunger, who know what we could achieve this season.
Next week would have seen us travel to Chiswick to face off against IBIS Eagles however this match has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 3 Polytechnic 6s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Jonas Cabrera
MOTM: Chris Outred – A solid performance having been called up from the 5s.
DOTD: Kieran Lee – A sliced clearance that could have been VERY embarrassing had he not recovered.
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Chris Outred, Jonas Cabrera, Callum Fisher, Matt Nightingale (Mohamed Chouikhi, Denys Zhurbiy, Roman Bilivitskiy, Andy Bitmead, Dom Plumridge
Saturday 8th September 2018 KO 14:15
Mighty 5s 2 – 0 West Wickham 6s
By Luke Newman
Dulanie Richards (Assisted by Andrew Stears)
Phil Truman (Assisted by Luke Newman apparently)
This Saturday marked the 5s first game in Division 4 having ran an extraordinary promotion campaign last term that saw us finish 7th but still get promoted; a feat only eclipsed by Poly 8s finishing bottom of the league but still getting promoted 2 years ago. Pre-match preparations were nothing short of shambolic. First, the kit was still at the Kimbers with no one home. Luckily we used the Merton time machine to go back to the 60s [a decade which Steve B remembers well] to find one that sort of resembled our traditional colours, so problem solved. Also the Council with their usual efficiency forgot to put the nets up, meaning that we had to do it ourselves. Seeing our shambles, the opposition matched it by having one player turn up 15 minutes late [which we sportingly delayed the kick off for] and 2 not showing at all, meaning that they were playing with 10 men.
They started with more possession despite being a man down, which was a regular feature throughout the match, however it was mostly across the backline/defensive midfielders and once we pressed, they had to go direct which our defence dealt with easily. We hit them on fast, sharp counters and had some moves of great promise. The first was a great ball through to Dulanjie who was running on to it past a static defence. Arms were raised and the referee blew for a dubious offside – much to our annoyance. They did not heed the warning though and minutes later, the same thing happened again. Andrew ran on to the ball in the centre of the pitch and played a lovely waited through ball to Dulanjie. Consensus seems to suggest that we thought he actually was offside this time, but this time the whistle didn’t go. 1 on 1 with the keeper, D calmly slotted it home to put us 1-0 ahead. The second followed not long after, with D instrumental once again. He unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards which the keeper did well to parry wide. The ball came back in the box and some good movement from Phil saw him get in front of the keeper and chip the ball over him. With a defender on the line, Phil fired high into the net above the despairing goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
The lead was entirely deserved. Lenners in goal had nothing to do apart from come out and punch the ball away from a couple of corners, doing so in such a way that you can tell it’s not the first time he’s punched something. The only thing that mired the half was a little bit of moaning, epitomised by Tiggy throwing a strange tantrum over Tom wanting to take a throw in. All was, however, forgiven and we knew if we kept it as tight as that in the second half, we would win the game.
They put us under some pressure at the start of the second half, manufacturing a couple of half chances. A good ball from deep caught us out a little, however their player at the back post was stretching and headed wide. They also had their first [and last] shot on target when their midfielder broke lines to run onto a through ball. 1 on 1 from a wide angle, Lenners closed him down well and palmed the ball wide of the post to pull off a very good stop. Other than that, we were comfortable and had some great chances to seal victory. D’s cross went a little wayward, almost catching the goalkeeper out at the near post. A pullback with D and Yaw in the box just lacked a little quality, otherwise they would have had an easy tap in. The highlight though was a mazey run by Tom who picked the ball up from about 40 yards and just ran. He beat 2 or 3 players and the space opened up on the 18-yard box. He dragged just wide, however it was a great individual effort. We lacked a little bit of incision in the final ball with the game stretched, possibly a little more than we would have liked it to be as quite a few players were going forward quicker than they were getting back. All in all, it was a great performance and a fair result to kick off the second chapter of our quest for two promotions in a row.
There were a few contenders for man of the match. Lenners did everything he needed to well, the back four were solid throughout with Tom, Darren, Scott and Lyndon all getting the best of their attacking players. Our midfield dominated and pressed very well with Tiago holding, Andrew getting on the ball well and keeping the team ticking, contributing a very good assist, and Sam’s pace causing a problem for their defence with Steve coming on and adding some much-needed energy in the second half. Phil and Dulanjie were dynamic in attacking positions and caused the opposition all kinds of problems, with both getting vital goals, and Yaw coming on in an attacking role looked a threat. Man of the match was close between Scott and Tom, however Scott edged it in his first competitive game for Merton in what was a fine performance.
MOTD Scott Brown
DOTD Tiago Carvalho
As the Indian Summer got into gear the new season finally kicked off at The Hood with a 10.00 start against BarnesEagles. There was a bit of a kerfuffle pre-match as parents marked out a temporary pitch since the usual turf resembled Death Valley.
Our 2 subs (Maxwell out of action this week) looked in envy at the opposition who literally had a (foldaway) bench with them. Amazon got a bit of a hammering as parents figured out the best way to get their hands on one for the coming cold Sunday mornings. And to give everyone a boost the club had organised hot drinks and bacon butties. Result!
As the match got underway it was clear that Merton could make the most of the wide pitch and command the play which is what they did for the entire half. Barnes had some possession when they could get out of their own half, especially through the player with no number but failed to make it count on most occasions due to some fast working back by Ollie, Harry and Joe and a lack of numbers.
Merton got on the score sheet soon enough with 2 quick fire goals from Rio and Percy. But Merton also created some of their own issues having pushed high up the pitch and got caught out as Bedfont made it 2-1 with a great finish.
No sooner had the second half kicked off than Rio got his second and Merton’s 3rd to make the game feel like it would only end up with one winner. Subs rotated but the general pattern of Merton dominating possession and working for goals continued.
Faris, working very hard throughout was rewarded with his goal to make it 4-1 after creating and missing 2 chances mid way through the half. A lovely 5th followed when Harry won the ball and played a delightful pass for Dave who pushed it round the defender for the umpteenth time and slid it in at the near post.
We were then caught out up-field and saved by Max as he got to a shot from a Barnes breakaway. to keep the score at 5-1.
In the later stages a lovely bit of inter-play between Louis, Joe and Percy led to a shot we deflected ourselves to send the ball spinning wide of the far post.
To bring proceedings to a close Louis played the ball to Joe whose cross-cum-shot was tapped in by Louis at the far post for a resounding 6-1 win to start the season.
Well done boys!
On to next week!