Month: October 2018
Merton 4s 2 v 0 Merton 5s (from the 4s perspective)
Following last week’s disappointing exit in the AFA Cup, it was back to League action for the 4s. This week however wasn’t just any league fixture, it pinned the 5s against the 4s. Not only three points up for grabs but bragging rights too.
Numbers were scarce in respect of the 4s, with only 11 players available. The 5s however arrived with 13. One of whom was approached to switch sides for the day. An offer that was declined without hesitation. In order to ensure that we had back uponthe pitch, Luke Newman, the 5s Manager, agreed to get kitted up and come on if required.
Due to the personnel available to us, we lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Kieran Lee taken his usual slot between the sticks. The back four from right to left consisted of John Gridley, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge and myself. In the middle of the pack, again from right to left was, Marcus Perkins, Roman Bilivitskiy, Mo Chouikhi and Callum Fisher. Leading the line was Dom Plumridge and Denys Zhurbiy.
There was nothing to separate either side in the first 20 minutes. It was after 20 minutes that the 4s, wearing all yellow, wereable to get a foothold on the game and overpower the 5s, wearing blue shirts and shorts with pink socks, in all areas of the field.
It was also around this time that Luke had to unfortunately get kitted up in yellow to replace Marcus. I have to commend the professionalism Luke showed. You wouldn’t blame him for coming on and making a few ‘mistakes’ to give the 5s an advantage, given that he is the Manager, however this was not the case. He put the effort in that was asked of him and stood out as one of the best performers on the day.
Getting a foothold in the game allowed us to play the passing game we knew that we were capable off. Our dominance paid off when Dom managed to score from with an overhead kick albeit from a standing position. Denys awarded the assist with a header from Johns throw in.
The talk at half time as a positive one, we just had to go back out there and put the same effort in as we did in the first half.
From the first whistle to initiate the start of the second period, the 4s were in control as the 5s were getting frustrated thata few decisions (offsides and handballs in particular) were going against them.
With 20 minutes to go, Denys doubled our advantage. His effort beating, assisted by Dom, beating Chappell at the near post.
As the clocked ticked down, the 5s had a sniff of goal when Dulanie was played through for a one-on-one. His tame shot however was comfortably held by Kieran.
This was a massive win and one that hopefully kick-starts our league campaign. Four points after two games is a decent return.
Next week we welcome City of London Reserves to Joseph Hood. We need to ensure that we go into the game as we finished this one. If we do, another three points are surely guaranteed!
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy
MOTM: Mo Chouikhi
DOTD: Kieran Lee
LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Marcus Perkins (Luke Newman), Mo Chouikhi, Roman Bilivitskiy, Callum Fisher, Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge
Bank of England 2 v 1 Merton 2s
High-quality game of football in the autumn sunshine was what Bank’s manicured pitch demanded. Merton and the hosts delivered.
Sherbs was superb in goal, saving from point-blank range shortly after Bank took an early lead. His athleticism and bravery keptTeam Handsome in it when their concentration was absent.
When it was, Merton were fast and fluid. A Conor throw-in found noble Ryan Noble-Gresty down the right channel, just inside the area. Gresty turned his man and dinked a perfect ball to the far post, where Ackers cushioned home one of the easier goals ofhis Merton career.
Cookie and man of the match Jack were superb as a centre-back combo. Conor and Ciaran were excellent either side of them. In midfield, it was Glenn’s introduction that really began to turn the tide in Merton’s favour. His pace caused any number of problems for Bank. But a second goal would not come before the half.
Bank scored again shortly after the break. Debutant Joe put in a fleet-footed and bright showing on his Merton debut. Dan Rist’spassing was, as ever, top notch.
The ref did his best to spoil a great game of football. He seemed, oddly, much more interested in giving Bank soft free-kicks than he did nailed-on penalties for Merton. That peculiar inconsistency remained a pattern throughout. He even booked Wilgo for asking him about it –but not Bank’s left-back for spear-tackling Joe (an illegal action in rugby, let alone football).
LINE-UP: Sherbs, Conor, Ciaran, Jack, Cookie, Dan Rist, Niall Kelly, Wilgo, Gresty, DQ, Ackers. Subs: Glenn, Joe
Old Sedcopians 3s vs. Merton 4s
AFA Minor Cup, Preliminary Round
Saturday 22nd September 2018
In order to ensure our passage to the First Round of the AFA Minor Cup, we were tasked with taking on Old Sedcopians 3s of the Amateur Football Combination in New Eltham. The travel distance to New Eltham wasn’t that far however the roads you had to take to get there, unless you select the M25 route, made it seem that way.
As a result of the travel time, the first challenge was ensuring that we had enough players in attendance at the time of kick off. Fortunately out of our squad of thirteen, only Lewis Riches and Adam Lynch were running late. The former arriving fifteen minutes after kick off with the latter arriving as the half time whistle sounded.
Due to Adam’s late arrival, Denys Zhurbiy temporarily sat alongside Joe Plumridge at centre back, John Gridley took his usual right back spot and I slotted into my usual position at left back.
In the middle of the park we had Roman Bilivitskiy and Tyrone Fuller with Callum Fisher and Mo Chouikhi supporting them on the flanks with Mario Del Prestito playing just behind Nick Englefield up top.
The match started with high intensity from both sides however it was the hosts that were carving out the better opportunities. One attempt in particular striking the bar early on. Old Sedcopians started to overpower our midfield 20 minutes in and it was around this time that they took the lead. How? I hear you ask….I can’t remember fortunately. What I can remember though is that one soon became two and we were staring defeat in the eyes even before the half had come to an end. We did create one chance that should have been converted, Lewis, who has come on to replace Mo, used his pace to get behind the left back but his effort from Callum’s cross was blazed high and wide. 2- 0 to the host at the break.
We knew that if we were to get back in the game in the second half that we had to strengthen up the midfield. In order to do so, Adam can on in place of Tyrone to partner Joe at the back, Mario dropped back into the middle of the park alongside Roman and Denys partnered Nick up front.
These changes seemed to spark us into gear, it wasn’t long before we were bossing possession and creating chances that with a little more composure would have probably found the back of the net. I can’t decide whether we created more chances than there were balls that were lost over the fence and we created quite a few chances! I think the balls over the fence clinch it though.
The effort we were putting in was finally rewarded when Callum’s cut back, following a Messiesque run, was converted by Roman. Our opposition were clinging on to their lead and they knew that they had to switch back on.
The momentum however remained with yellow shirts outnumbering purple ones at every attack we had. One of these said attacks resulted in a corner from the left. Mario’s out swinging delivery connecting to Denys’s forehead to bring the game level. The momentum had definitely remained with Merton and our hosts were nervous! However they had nothing to be nervous about in the end…..we were able to add to our tally and they were able to grab the winner 10 minutes from time. A square ball across the six yard box tapped in at the back post.
Cue to final whistle and a cheer of relief from Old Sedcopians.
Once against, each and every player that pulled on that yellow shirt left everything out on the pitch. If we continue like this, results will come and we will be a force to be reckoned with.
Next week it’s a Merton Derby when we take on the 5s hoping to leapfrog them in the table.
FINAL SCORE: Old Sedcopians 3 – 2 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Jonas Cabrera
MOTM: Callum Fisher – A solid performance once again. Doesn’t look out of place.
DOTD: Adam Lynch – Nobody deserves it however if it has to be awarded to somebody it goes to the person who turned up nearly 2 hours late.
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Mohamed Chouikhi (Lewis Riches), Roman Bilivitskiy, Tyrone Fisher (Adam Lynch), Callum Fisher, Mario Del Prestito, Nick Englefield
Merton 3s vs Carashalton 3s
Saturday rolled around once again and the 3s were looking to pick up their first win of the season. The opposition were the notoriously tough Carshalton and everyone was aware it was going to be a hard match in which preparation before the game would be key to get everyone prepared. Luckily everyone in the team had been briefed the week before by Mustard about the importance of turning up on time and how it would help turnaround our wayward start to the season. Iain sent out a message in the group chat about turning up early to support the lower teams in the club, so there was no possibility of anyone turning up late today surely?! How wrong that turned out to be! Not long after midday the first worrying text arrived from Billy who informed us that his train was cancelled and the next was not until near 1pm. One player late is not that much of an issue and it wouldn’t be a drastic problem… if not for the fact that off the football field Billy, Britney and Nathan are rarely seen more than a metre apart from one another! (You really do have to feel sorry for the ladies in their lives) So the three musketeers were late and stranded, fortunately Vin swooped in to save the day and get them to the Hood. The late brigade didn’t stop there though with Joe also suffering from his train arriving late, which makes a change from himself as he normally arrives too soon (According to his Mrs). With the team arriving in dribs and drabs the biggest shock of the day happened, Aaron Byrne arrived only 10 minutes late! A massive congratulations to him on his struggle of living so much further away from the hood than the rest of us and also his daily battle with the concept of time. With the playlist of Reality TV booming out in the background and with Alexandra Burke’s ‘Hallelujah’ in the mix how could the team not be motivated for this massive cup game!
Anyway onto the football! The boars were looking to build upon their fantastic end to the game last week and starting with a strong lineup of Iain in goal after his De Gea-esque performance last week (De Gea during the World Cup that is), in front of him a pacey back 4 of Mustard at right back, a returning centre-back pairing of Vin and Adam, with Ryan at left back. In the middle of the park we had Sam, Lofty and Joe which followed on from the pacey theme shown in the back four… Then up top that left Billy, Aaron and Britney, a relatively slow front three in comparison to the rest of the team. With Fitz and Nathan on the bench we had the perfect combination of pace, power, youth and Fitz was also there. (Please don’t bench me!) With the Carshalton players bringing down all their family and friends to support we were playing in front of a sellout crowd as the game got underway. The boars started the livelier of the two teams and picking up from the energy and fight we were showing last week, we largely dominated the opening proceedings although we were struggling to make the ball stick up top with Billy and Britney opting to flick the ball on instead of controlling it. The midfield was a good battle which we were largely winning as they only had one real threat who we were managing to keep quiet. With Adam and Vin dominating in the air there were not many chances of note in the first half. The one stand out moment being when we were heartlessly denied a penalty by the ref after Aaron was played through and beat the keeper to the ball but was caught by the keeper in the process, yet the ref allowed play to carry on! Nobody ask Aaron about this in the future though as he will point out the tiny mark on his leg where the keeper brushed his thigh. Half time rolled around and for once the boars were going into halftime with a clean sheet and a goal less game so far! The team talk was asking for generally more of the same and the team went out into the second half unchanged. Again the boars were dominating from the start and set pieces were aplenty with the number of fouls Carshalton were giving away. We won a corner and Adam went up to take it, whipping in a lovely ball from the right, Lofty winning the flick on at the near post and the ball ping-ponged all over the place before falling to the feet of Aaron Byrne who volleyed the ball into the ground and it bounced up and came back off the bar! So close to making it a deserved 1-0 to Merton. It was clear their centre backs didn’t like it in the air and Iain’s kick were causing them plenty of problems. We were pushing them further and further into their own half when we won a freekick on the right hand side of the box. Adam again whipped it in with his left foot and again the ball was bouncing around the box before falling to Aaron again! This time he made no mistake and with his left foot buried the ball into the bottom corner! 1-0 to the boars! Unfortunately this goal seemed to light a spark in Carshalton, they came out fighting and we were firmly on the back foot. Wave after wave of attack came with Merton resisting every single one of them. Until disaster struck! A Carshalton corner whipped in was headed back across at the back post, their player toe poked the ball on the six yard towards goal…
The following is a completely unbiased and accurate description of the events that unfolded.
Ryan, who was on the post, sensed the danger and in a desperate bid to prevent his team from going behind threw his leg in front of the ball in a split second reaction! He did all he could given the circumstances and did the unimaginable and managed to make contact with the ball, which was already heading firmly for the back of the net. (From his perspective) Unfortunately the contact was off his shin and the ball found the back of the net anyway, but the heroic attempt to stop it did not receive the adulation it deserved and was met with comments like ‘Shocking own-goal’ which we will get to after the football.
So it was 1-1 and Merton’s lead was shattered. The remainder of the game was all Merton once again with them throwing everything forward. A good interchange on the left between Nathan and Ryan, who was determined to make up for his earlier ‘mistake’, lead to Ryan firing a delightful ball across the face of the six yard box that alluded everyone and went out for a goal kick. Merton launched attack after attack but no goal came and the 90 minutes were up. Extra time was to follow! The team had given there all and there were some tired legs out there and to make things worse the water bottles were all empty! Water was scarce and what little we had was being shared out amongst the team.
We interrupt this match report to launch an urgent appeal, for just £20 a month you can help provide clean fresh drinking water for Merton 3s at all their games. In this tough climate, playing football is becoming more and more difficult and clean water is hard to come by, please give what you can and help keep your football team hydrated. Thank you.
Extra time kicked off and the boars were raring to go. With tired legs the game became very end to end with chances a plenty for both sides. Neither could take advantage though, the best chance came from a Merton counter attack Nathan ran onto a ball on the left wing and found Ryan on the edge of the box supporting him. Ryan dropped the shoulder and got the ball onto his right and unleashed a venomous shot that was curling and seemed destined for the bottom corner, could this be his redemption?! Unfortunately not as the Carshalton keeper somehow produced an incredible save and tipped it just around the post! The pressure was growing though and Merton seemed due a goal, with us winning a freekick just in the Carshalton half could this be our chance? The delivery couldn’t beat the first man and the ball fell to a Carshalton player who started a counter. With a ball played over the top their quick winger got there first and was baring down on goal. The defence desperately tried to keep up to no avail and their winger played the ball past Iain to their striker who was the only player in the six yard box and was clearly offside… Not according to the ref as he pointed to the centre circle and the boars were 2-1 down completely against the run of play.
The team went all out attack in an attempt to just nick a goal to keep us in the game, however Carshalton defended resolutely and the goal was not forthcoming, meaning we again were beaten by just the one goal! The positive signs of improvement were there again though, with the front three gelling well and the fight and desire being shown by every player if we continue in this form the win must surely be on its way! In the bar afterwards the man of the match votes and dick of the day nominations were being cast. MOTM was a clear winner with Adam dominating everything in the air and on the ground as well as proving himself as a fantastic set piece taker. DOTD was also a runaway with Ryan being brutally victimised and blamed for his apparent ‘Own goal’, although Joe did give him a run for his money with votes in such as not being able to play a pass. However it wasn’t enough to save Ryan from gracefully necking a pint and claiming the honour of writing the match report. Hopefully that’s the last time this season and I apologise to those I did not offend, I will do my best should there be a next time! Onto next week where we will pick up our first win of the season!
Squad: Iain, Mustard, Vin, Adam, Ryan, Sam, Lofty, Joe, Britney, Billy, Aaron #
Subs: Fitz, Nathan
Merton FC Under 10s Vs NPL FC under 10s, 30th September 2018
Another glorious September morn greeted the boys and parents for this latest Sunday fixture as Merton Under 10s sought to continue their 100% start to the season.
After multiple dads claimed to be carrying match balls thereby needing to park inside the ground everyone gathered around the Subbuteo sized pitch. Well, nearly everyone. Percy had a prior engagement, Dave needed an extra bacon sarnie so Neal (his chauffeur for the day) had to hang on while Dave ate some After-Eights and supped his Earl Grey to finish off and Maxwell was relying on Mike’s satnav which had them confidently parking up somewhere just east of the Etihad Stadium on account of the postcode from the Twilight Zone.
Spot on 10 o’clock the ref got us under way and both teams were straight at it.
Merton drew first blood with a nice finish after 5mins as Dave rounded off some good inter-play. Soon enough the busy NPL outfit had their striker belt the ball into the roof of Max’s net to make it 1-1.
Merton went on to miss some nice chances including good openings for Dave and Farris. Dave hit the woodwork with a belting shot and that was as close Merton got for a while. The cultured Merton passing was not quite in evidence so far.
Half-way through the first period, Louis played a nice through ball for Rio who took a good position but then narrowly dragged his effort just wide of left hand post. Oohs and aahs emanated from the Respect Line. Merton were taking ownership of this game more and more but needed to find the goals to seal the deal.
End-to-end football continued with chances for both teams. Max remained the quieter of the keepers with pick-ups rather than saves to deal with whilst the NPL keeper had to be on his toes more than once to make decent stops.
As the half wore to a close Rio won a free kick and took it himself with some aplomb to put Merton deservedly 2-1 up with power and accuracy. After the restart a typically power and pace filled run by Maxwell (yes the homing beacon had brought him in by now) led to a sweet pass to Farris who turned his defender and shot. The NPL keeper parried and his own defender reached ball just ahead of Louis to put it out for corner which Merton failed to convert. Another chance gone begging.
Merton needed to just pas a bit more and use their training pitch skills to make more chances. Half time seemed to come fast at 2-1 which seemed about fair at that stage.
The second half so passages of even pressure in the opening minutes. Rio and Joe had shots but no avail. Ollie was working well across the backline and Harry was breaking up play and bringing the ball out with maturity as we have come to expect. But the team was still missing some of their usual magic. NPL used pace well in wide areas (if you can call them wide areas on such a narrow piste). But neither side was converting well in the final third.
Subs continued to be rotated and the pattern remained the same with Merton v slightly on top of this finely balanced contest. In the final quarter of the game NPL eventually forced Max into a trademark save with a header and then moments later scored as the ball squirmed narrowly below Max from powerful shot. 2-2 and all to play for as the game wore to its end.
After the re-start Ollie played Louis in and he passed first time to Maxwell with a through ball and Maxwell then controlled and shot with power just wide of post. Cue more oohs from the side-lines. Did either side have it in them to win this?
The game continued end-to-end as both sides tried to answer this question. NPL had a good shout for a penalty turned down by the ref. This was a surprise as the ref had such an eagle eye for foul throws (about 10 were given against NPL in the match) that you would have thought him a stickler for a spot kick too. Regardless, nothing was given and play continued.
An episode of pin-ball in our box led to a good clearance but an injury to NPLs midfielder held up play.
In the final passage of play from a corner Rio made contact with a good header and Louis shot from the resulting position but it was cleared on the line to leave the contest feeling unresolved at 2-2 as the ref blew the final whistle. The 100% record was at an end on aday when the boys did not quite find their usual rhythm against a decent opposition.
Neal decided no one stood out on this occasion so Man of the Match was not awarded due to “ok performances all over the pitch.”
Having said that, the author would like to point out that Harry deservedly won Man of the Match 3 weeks’ ago but this accolade was not recorded in the annuls of Merton FC due to no bugger telling him at the time. In pointing this out it is his sincere hope that Dan will stop banging on about this innocent oversight through the long winter which lies ahead! 😊
Here’s to a return to their passing excellence and another win next week.
Merton 6s V South Bank 7s
A single game into the seaon, we find ourselves back in the SAL cup, City of London forfeited the previous cup game to both us and our opposition, it’s now a game to find out who will top the mini league for a Q-F place, or the payoff against either Civ 7s or Park 8s.
A sunny day brings another 12oc ko, squad rolls in with Martin in goal, back four of Matt H, Joe D, Tom J, Steve B, midfield of Andrew D right, Lyndon C and Steve H centre, Reese S left, Captain David G just behind Grant S for 4-4-1-1 formation
SB7s kick off and keep possession well, passing around the back, M6s hold with the 2 banks of 4. Any pressing from SB7 is soon cut out and the opening stages are cagy
After the first ten minutes or so pass, M6s grow in confidence, back 4 looking comfortable and once again break up any SB7s attack, Tom J releases Matt down the wing, a power pass to David brings on a back-heel flick between the SB7s centre backs to Grant for the first M6s attack which ends in a corner. Said Corner is whipped into the back post, the 50/50 challenge is cleared by SB7s, but any counter is soon stopped by Tom J and Steve B
With the opening 20 minutes passing by quickly, good play by the centre pairing of Lynden & Steve H keeps M6s on the front foot, Reese down the left is having most of the play, and is instrumental in most of the attacks, a good build up play is cut out on the SB7s left, an excellent counter attack from back to front, sees SB7s fluent passing rewarded with a well-deserved goal, be it against the run of play
Not deterred, M6s get back on the attack, David, Grant & Reese all unlucky not to bring the game level keep probing away, however a good cross to David see the SB7s centre back handle the ball inside the area and after a slight hesitation from the Ref, penalty is awarded. David steps up and places the ball just far enough away from the diving keeper to bring the game level, 1-1
Still on top, M6s keep probing, but once again, SB7s break away, Martin, having another good game in goal, finds himself 1v1, the chip beats Martin and looks destined to put SB7s up until Steve B somehow manages to get back and clear the ball over the cross bar from what looked like a yard out!!
Advancing forward, a throw in deep in the SB7s half, sees Reese launch the throw directly into the oppositions 6 yard area, with his back to goal, Grant manages to swivel and place his shot in to the top corner to bring the game 2-1 to M6s
Halftime, a few words from the captain and some changes to keep it fresh see 2 new players make there entry, Matt H makes way for Faycal ‘Fizzy’ Radjoul at right back, Steve H for Leo S on the left wing, with Reese moving infield
M6s start the game as they finished the first half, very much on top with some good opening pressure. A SB7s attack down the right is again countered and he ball comes to Steve B, advancing forward, Steve picks David out with a curling cross, which is flicked on by the captain into the path of Grant, adjusting himself as the ball drops, a sweet volley from the best part of 30 yards see the keeper rooted to the spot as the ball sails into the top corner, a worthy goal of the season contender
3-1 up and cruising, but SB7s are still in the game, a change of formation with a holding midfielder seems to unsettle the M6s, the counter attacks seems to be getting more frequent and its not long before more neat football from SB7s brings the score to 3-2
The sucker punch knocks the 6s, now looking tired and hanging on for the victory, another attack and the game becomes level as Martin is beaten by either a lucky deflection or a great back heel, either way, the ball finds the back of the net for 3-3
Ref signals for the last 10 minutes, many players are now running on empty, Grant on for a hattrick is unfortunate to pull up with calf strain soon after going 1v1, Matt H replaces him up top
The game is slowly ticking away when SB7s break down the left wing, ‘Fizzy’ is faced up with the young striker who drops a shoulder and skips passed, but is seemingly going nowhere, but Fizzy makes a lunge for the ball, gets contact, but at the cost of going through the player, the ref has no choice but to award a penalty,
Although going the right way, the ball is tucked away into the bottom corner for 3-4… what a comeback, what a capitulation by M6s who had seemed to have this in the bag
Out of time, SB7s run out winners, on the day, it would seem the changes in both personal effected the result in different ways, so it would seem the now M6s are scheduled to play a playoff in January to see if they can still make the Q-finals
Next week, its back in league action against HSBC 6s away, a game that needs to see a change of fortunes for the not so mighty yellows
MOTM: Tight call between Grant and his excellent debut up front, and Tom J, who nicks it with another solid performance and so far become Mr Reliable for the out of sorts 6s
DOTD: A debut to forget for Fizzy after lunging in and giving away a late penalty that sealed the 6s doom
Team: Martin, Matt H, tom J, Joe D, Steve B, Andrew D, Steve H, Lynden C, Reese S, David ©, Grant S
Faycal ‘Fizzy’ Radjoul, Leo S.