It was a pretty typical Saturday in November, it was cold and it had been raining all morning but the pitch seemed to have coped quite well so it was boggy rather than sopping wet. We were playing a team that was doing well in the top division albeit in the AFA league so we didn’t quite know what to expect.
The game kicked off and Merton started squeezing quickly considering the rather lack lustre warm up. The front 3 closed them down quickly with full of energy which the opposition didn’t seem to know how to deal with, within the first 5 minutes Ivan had got onto a loose pass back inside there penalty area and unselfishly played it back to a screaming colleague who was running into the box……this should have been a simple stroke into the goal, little did he know it was Jimbo….the shot was smothered. Another 5 minutes later and George had hassled the defenders and won the ball back, dangerously running to the by line, he managed to pull it back to Vanny who tried to direct it first time into the goal but narrowly missed the far post. Dorkinians were in trouble and the Merton lads had their tails up……blood was in the water! Unfortunately, although there seemed to be enough chances to get a goal, it didn’t materialise. The game settled a bit until a bit later when George ran down the right wing and squared to Pritch (our stand-in striker) who calmly slotted home with a surprisingly good finish. 1-0 Merton and it looked like it might be an enjoyable day.
The first half seemed to change significantly after this and the Oppo got into their stride, keeping the ball well and attacking with purpose. Their left winger started to really show his quality by causing trouble every time he got the ball, tricky for a big fella. Soon after this they scored with a well worked move and a clean strike from the right hand side of the box. They seemed to realise they had got themselves out of trouble and Merton couldn’t seem to get and hold on to the ball……Dorkinians seemed to cause problems each time they attacked and after a simple throw in, their winger flicked the ball over Joe Grew and volleyed the ball from a tight angle into the top left corner, a good goal but it was pretty lucky to nestle in the only place our keeper couldn’t get to. The first half ended 2-1 down after a good start.
There were a few forced changes at half time and Max had volunteered to go in goal and had reassured Clappers that he has significant experience between the posts. The second half seemed to be a completely different game, we seemed to have more of the ball but we were unable to really create much and didn’t have any clear cut chances. The quick distribution from Max didn’t let Dorkinians settle and they didn’t seem to like the end to end game. There seemed to be plenty of fight left in the Merton boys who all pushed and battled to the end but then Merton conceded a free kick about 35 yards out, to the right hand side of the box. Merton expected a well whipped in cross but what resulted was even worse, the player hit a clean shot which again found the top corner of the Merton goal with little our deputised keeper could do. 3-1 to Dorkinians.
All in all not a great day but Merton did well with the players that were available.
MoM: George (A good performance again)
DOD: Vanny (For no particular reason)