The word ‘berserk’ derives from a group of Scandinavian warriors – ‘Berserkers’ – who wore wolfskin, got themselves into the sort of furious mental overload only usually witnessed on Arsenal Fan TV, and went into battle all flailing limbs and swords, taking down everyone in sight until their inevitable death in what amounts to an even more ancient form of Hara-Kiri. It made sense, then, that Merton 2s’ opposition, the hitherto unbeaten and admirably ball-on-the-ground Norsemen, spent 90 minutes in a relationship to “cool, calm and collected” akin to the one Denmark has with the planet Neptune: that is to say none whatsoever and most of a galaxy apart.
When the apparently blue boys in blue weren’t screaming at each other, us, the referee, and whichever poor saps stumbled across their path, there was, in fact, a decent match taking place.
“They can only play direct,” shouted one of the Norsemen, showcasing the way to his team’s weakness.
“CALM DOWN AND KEEP YOUR HEAD ON,” screamed another, centimetres from his face, in a manner anything but calming and including far more expletives.
There was a moment when the screaming, whinging and general grumbling stopped. It was the second or so Ackers’ lobbed opener looped 30 yards through the air in an arc so perfect God looked down upon it and wondered whether he should just pack up and quit. It was assisted by cross-field fade Gresty absolutely 100% intended, a ball begging to be professionally dispatched over the despairing, but unusually quiet, ‘keeper. It was the best surprise ball since Louis CK invited young female comedians into his dressing room.
Merton 2s harried and hustled, Ackers’ was presented with another opportunity following good work from AJ but narrowly dragged wide. Ackerman’s general hold-up play and quality would garner him man of the match ahead of the centre-midfield pairing of Big Scotty Scot and Ever-running Ever-ready Ryan Gresty who didn’t give Norsemen a moment’s peace all game.
Norsemen scored, a lovely goal that included some one-touch play and a smart finish. It whistled past debutant George who over the course of the match put in such a catlike performance that Pearcey spent most of the time in the changing room after stroking him behind the ears and talking to him in a baby voice.
Despite Norsemen’s quality, our heroes in yellow and black scored again. A long throw from Gresty, a flick from Ackers and DQ (putting in a Forest Gump performance: lots of running, often stupid) controlled with his head, rightly ignored the onrushing Ben Cook, and smashed the ball with such ferocity the only real surprise was the net stayed intact.
DQ was almost immediately given 15 mins rest to get over the excitement. AJ, up top in his place, skated through like Tonya Harding before the booze and leg-breaking and boxing and pornography, only to be denied by some excellent defending. Merton 2s were looking good but Norsemen’s threat was ever-present. Soon after, Jack did his best impression of Del Boy falling through a bar, only the bar was there, and was a football, and said football hit his arm, and it was a penalty.
“I can’t remember the last time the oppo missed against us. It never happens,” remarked Willgo from the sidelines. “They just seem to have remarkably clear heads.”
Berserkers to the last, the captain promptly missed the target altogether. Was it to be Merton’s day?
No, no it was not, because a win might’ve seen the 2s threaten to move away from mid-table security and that simply isn’t their way in 2018/19. Norsemen equalised, both teams pushed for a winner, one of the teams screamed more than the other, and a fair-ish 2-2 draw presented itself at the final whistle. An average single point return, but a match that wasn’t anything but.
Merton 6s v Old Wilsons 9s
Todays game will be Merton 6s v Old Wilsons 9s v The Pitch!
After an unsettled weather pattern and a cold start, the pitch was thawing out to be tad bit heavy. Even before the game started, you could see the middle areas cutting up pretty bad, so this made for an interesting leveller between M6s being physical and OW9s being quick (and very young!!)
After a very lethargic warm up for the 6s, the game got underway with OW9s having first kick of the game, straight from the off, the pitch wasn’t allowing for any quick turns and forced the opening to be played in direct lines of play
After a minor scare in defence for Merton, first blood is drawn when Lewis is freed on goal for a 1v1 and manages to slot neatly passed the keeper from 16 yards. This is soon followed up by James being flicked through for another 1v1, the first shot being parred by the keeper, which James had to check back to gather the ball and roll into an empty net as the OW9s tried to regroup
2-0 and seemingly cruising, OW9s countered and worked the ball down the 6s left, into the area with simple side steps around the on coming slide tackles, the cross is meet with a looping header over the out stretched arms of MQ to pull the game back to 2-1
Not even halfway through the first half and the pitch is already getting heavy, once anyone is committed to a tackle, it’s a simple 50/50 if you get clattered or able to step aside! The game starts to get very gritty, with fouls now going either way due to the rash sliding around. The physical side of the 6s is on top as the young OW9s can’t quite get to grips with using their speed and footwork
6s now imposing their game, see’s DG receive the ball just inside the area, with a quick turn and move (for such a lump) El’cappo shot is placed away from the keeper to restore the 2 goal lead and a 3-1 score line
OW9s now looking a bit out of sorts are being run ragged by Merton’s front 3, twice Lewis and DG beat the keeper to great through balls, only for the both of them to go for goal instead of rolling the ball back for the better shot by a team mate, Steve H on the right pulls a great cross back to DG on the edge of the area, only for the shot to go inches wide
The pressure pays off with corners, James now swinging them in on the right finds DG in the centre who wins the header, the keeper does well to get to, but the follow up is slammed into the roof by the captain, for his 2nd on the day and to increase the lead to 4-1.
OW9s rally and bring themselves back into the game, once again, the young squad put together some neat football and march straight through the back line of Merton and slot the ball passed MQ, 4-2 and the signs are creeping in that mobility within 6s back line is becoming limited
Still time for another attack, this time by Merton, Lewis is freed by some good inter play from the front 3, with options in front of him, works his way around and powers a shot pass the stranded keeper and a half time lead of 5-2
Not much to say at half time and with limited options to change things, its much the same for the second half. However, with the pitch chopped to pieces from the first half play being manly in the OWs half, this now plays into the away team’s hands. The youthful squad are now able to string a few passes around, leaving the 6s at a stand still in the mud and helpless to even get a tackle off. Time and time again OWs waltz around the 6s who are now struggling to keep upright, the pressure pays off as OW9s pull a goal back with a mazy run from inside their own half, skipping the challenges and dropping the shoulder, MQ is powerless as the ball nestles in the corner from a well-placed shot, 5-3
Nightmare 10 minutes to follow and many DOTD rewards to be thought about. First up, Joe! A up and under ball gives Joe all the time in the work to either control and clear, head or just get rid, sees him routed to the spot, not moving an inch as the OW9s forward strolls in, takes the ball and leave MQ helpless. 5-4
Similarly… and not to long after Joes debacle, MQ (for once) comes tearing off his line, bellowing ‘Keepers Ball’.. only for (on loan) Tom to decide that, that’s not good enough, and attempts to clear the danger, resulting in the pair, comically colliding without even touching the ball!! A gift that OWs wasn’t going to turn down as the ball is rolled into an empty net!! Talk about master of your own un-doing… 5-5
Time running out, a bit of luck is needed. This is in the form of ‘Lofty’, still battling in midfield, he wins a good 50/50, the ball over the top frees up Lewis to skin the full and centre back, keeper comes out late as Lewis places a hard shot towards the corner, the keeper gets a glove on it, but the power takes the ball goal bound for his second hattrick for the 6s and lead restored. 6-5
The goal seem to break the OW’s and the luck swings Merton’s way, OW9s chasing the game are exposed at the back, DG receives the ball and carries it forward, Lewis times his run well as DG flicks the ball over the defender, in turn, Lewis spots James making a late run in behind the full back, the play is complete as James sweat scissor volley from 14 yards or so is destined for the top corner, but somehow the keeper reads the flight and turns the shot around for a corner. Best move and save of the game
The resulting corner sees James once again pick out DG at the far post, still with a lot of ground to make up, beats his marker and launches a diving header which gives the keeper no chance as the ball tucks inside the post for his first hattrick for the 6s and a 7-5 lead
With minutes to go, the pitch absolutely smashed and cut to pieces, it all finishes. A 12 goal thriller, which OW9s done well to get back in the game, be it by the mercy of the 6s attempt to shot themselves in both feet, the visitors just run out luck at the wrong time, the 6s however, must learn to stay switched on for the whole game, far to often the second half has been there undoing.
The result pushes the 6s into 3rd, having played a game more than the teams below them, one which will be next weeks oppo, as we welcome City 3s to the hood, if the pitch can recover in time!
MOTM: El Cappo (DG) with his first hattrick as wells as 3 assists
DOTD: Close one between a number of players for the second half collapse, not to name names (as it will take too long!), but Joe for static defending (which was quite comical!) takes the award
Team: There was only one in the first half, unfortunately they left at half time and was replaced with some mad hatters!!
Merton Under 10s vs FC Athena
27th January 2019 – Under 10s report
It was a bright, crisp and sunny Sunday morning at Joseph Hood Rec. A day when you can drive your car and justifiably wear your sunglasses because of the sun’s brightness. Once you step outside, it’s a slightly different story as the biting wind reminds you that this is still a British winter’s day and if you are not careful you could be punished for your overly optimistic assessment of the weather.
Today’s opponents, were FC Athena and presumably named after the Greek Goddess for wisdom and warfare. Hopefully warfare would not be necessary, Merton are a family focused club and I am sure that the Surrey Youth League would take a dim view of ‘warfare’ during matches. It is not conducive to player development.
The first half commenced with Merton playing right to left.
During the first few minutes both sides were finding their feet on the muddy pitch.
Both Merton and FC Athena started moves that broke down in the midfield. This was entirely understandable because the middle of the pitch was very muddy and heavy going.
After 4 minutes, FC Athena had the first corner of the match.
After 5 minutes, Max was called upon to made a double save as Athena were starting to have more possession and work the ball more effectively.
Six, minutes gone, another corner for FC Athena, they were now knocking at the door.
7 minutes gone, Merton were coming more into the game. A good challenge by Harry and forward run was followed by a Percy run down the left. This was more promising for Merton.
8 minutes in, an Athena attack breaks down as Ollie won possession and is then fouled. Merton free kick.
11 mins into the game, Faris has Merton’s first shot of the game. It’s on target but straight at the keeper. Their keeper gratefully collects and rolls out to his defender.
One minute later, a similar scenario with a different outcome. Faris shoots, the keeper manages to get to it but is unable to prevent it trickling over the line.
1 nil to Merton
14 mins, another Faris shot – cleared by Athena.
15 mins, a Maxwell shot hits the post.
17 mins gone, Athena on the offensive; good approach work by them followed by a sharp shot. Max makes a good save.
With 18 minutes gone, their efforts are rewarded. After a breakdown in play in the midfield, Athena advance on the Merton goal and their striker shoots into the top right corner of the Merton goal. Max was unable to get to it. Goal to FC Athena.
Attempted through balls from both Merton and Athena were not reaching their intended target because they were getting stuck in the mud. It was difficult to dribble, because of the mud. Merton’s trademark ‘pass and move’ football was difficult to execute…because of the mud.
With 19 minutes played, after an attempted Merton clearance failed, Athena were able to capitalise. When it came, their shot was to the bottom right of Max’s goal. It went in.
1-2 to FC Athena
Encouraged by coach Neal and watching parents, Merton kept their heads up and attempted to get back on level terms.
With 24 minutes played, the ball reached Maxwell on the left midway in his own half. He set off on a run and drifted past three Athena players before arriving in the Athena penalty area and unleashing a thunderbolt shot that went just wide of the right-hand post. Close!
Moments later the referee blew for half time. Still 1-2 to FC Athena.
The second half started with Merton kicking left to right and uphill.
After 2 minutes, Percy was able to get a shot away after some good Merton pressure.
His shot was saved.
After 4 mins, the match ball was so covered in mud that it had to be replaced. It’s not often that the match ball gets subbed off, but it happened today.
5 minutes in, after a turnover of possession, a fast break for Athena results in a low shot that hits Merton’s right-hand post. Athena are first to the loose ball and shoot again. Max makes another good save.
Bobby, Percy and Louis were working hard in midfield. It was not easy for them because of the mud. Both teams had to contend with the same conditions of course.
If there was a difference between approaches it was that Merton stuck to their footballing principles and always played out from the back always whereas Athena were more pragmatic. They were more willing to kick the ball long from their goalkeeper and try to build attacks from further up field. To be fair, they did also play out from the back.
Ollie and Harry had the difficult task of receiving the ball under pressure and then trying to find a good outlet pass each time. They did well in the conditions. Rio was also making his presence felt and a solid contribution to the team.
10 minutes played, Bobby had a shot that was saved.
14 minutes gone, Merton win a free kick. Bobby takes it and his shot is blocked.
The ball came to Maxwell who shot and hit the post.
After 15 minutes, after advancing on goal Percy shoots to the right- hand side of Athena goal. The bounce of the shot fools the goalkeeper and it is in!
Merton had worked hard to get back on level terms and their efforts had been rewarded. A draw would have been a fair result, but it wasn’t to be today.
After a few more chances for either side, Athena came away with the winner and all the points when their 24th minute shot trickled over the line to the bottom left of Max’s goal.
2-3 to Athena
Football can be cruel sometimes. Shortly after the re-start the referee blew the final whistle.
MOM – Bobby
Special shout-out to Joe and David who were both unable to play today.
Author: Mike Pitt
Video credit: Scott Dowsett
Merton 6s v Old Sals Reserves
With the manager back from a winter scouting trip in the alps, just in time for the 6s first home game in 2019. Mix start to the new year, with a loss and a win so far. Today’s test will be stern, with OSR fielding a very youthful, good passing team.
The 6s struggling with a few knocks and injuries, no Joe with a foot injury, Daban out with a knee injury, No Ty or Steve B means 6s are down to the bones. Niall K and Sam S answer the call and step in to help out
MQ in goal, and a back four of Kev, Tom, Mark, Steve H, midfield 3 of Phil, David and Ricky, leaving a forward line of Andy, Lewis and James E.
Game away with an early exchange, honours even for the opening 10 or so minutes, the pass and move of OSR is matched with a lot of aggression of the 6s, a few soft freekicks set the tone and the ref needs to speak to a few players.
First blood to OSR when a melee in the box results in Phil sliding to block a shot, the resulting rebound is then blasted at point blank range into the arm and a shouts for a penalty ensue, Ref has no doubt, even under protest that it’s a Pen, which is dispatched with MQ stranded on the line.
Rattled, 6s begin to put some passes together, however are open to the counter, OSR play some neat football, with pass and move through the middle and draw in the niggling fouls which breaks up the game. Making some headway, Lewis and David are both unlucky with shots from distant, but its still OSR that look the more threatening. In a break of play, Niall comes on for Phil whose struggling with a groin injury
OSR wins the ball outside there 18 yard, the exchange of passes bring them with in shooting range, a sideways pass sees a first time shot from 20 yards sail into the top corner, MQ had no chance.. 0-2
30 minutes gone and backs against the wall, the introduction of Niall brings some great long balls to the forward line, 6s are now making a bit of headway until Andy is judged to have given away a foul. Protesting his innocence only results in the ref sin binning for 10 minutes. OSR capitalise on this a stretch the score line further to 0-3 before halftime
Half time talk is a bit colourful, a change of Steve H for Sam S, sees Ricky drop back into right back, Sam slots into midfield with Niall, David now has the holding roll to go man to man.
The change up works well, Sam from KO takes the ball and slips pass 2 players, looking though he lost control, somehow drags the ball back and passes a further 2 players, now over stretching with his back to the goal, somehow regains control and slots james in for a 1v1 which ends just wide of the goal. DG snuffing out the link between the CAM and forward (and given away a few free kicks for being over enthusiastic with the tackles), Ricky at right back does his part, winning the 50/50s and playing out for the counter attack.
Finally the 6s are able to play the ball around, Ricky and Andrew down the right flank, bring in Lewis. The cross is deflected and Lewsi is there to nod in from close range, 1-3. A further change is needed, El cappo is blowing and makes way for Phil
Tails up, tackles in, bossing the game for the first time. Still end to end, but the 6s are clearly on top. Nails pulling the strings in the middle and Sam’s looking dangerous when on the ball, it’s like its glued to his foot!
Winning the battle in the middle is the key, Niall is feed the ball and he makes his way forward, the racking cross balls have been doing the damage, but this time from 35 yards (or so!) he unleash a left foot drive that catches the keeper flat footed and only able to watch as the ball sails top corner for goal of the day and brings the fight to 2-3
Still 20 minutes to go, 6s forced once again into another change, Ricky now is struggling with a hamstring, and Steve H is back on.
The game is now even, OSR are fighting their way back into the game, however, it’s a freekick to the 6s on their own 18 yard line, that shifts the power back to the oppo. Mark over passing the ball to a tired Kev, se’se the ball returned with interest and punished in the worse way, a few quick passes see MQ 1v1 and the scores increase to 2- 4
This takes the wind out the sails, Kev now struggling, swaps with DG, the changes are taking the toll as the formation is now suffering and OSR sucker punch the 6s and extend the lead 2-5.
Clock ticking down, 5 minutes to go, Niall is now in a heap in the corner with Cramp, removed from the game, Kev has to come back on and go up front. Phil now drops in a centre back, chappel left back, DG somewhere in the middle… it’s a bit of a miss mash affier. Still, with the confusion, Kev somehow finds a third wind and has a jolly up and finds himself in the box, takes the shot that the keeper pares, gets to the rebound which looks clearly over the line and is cleared by the defender, Ref waves play on, James manages to cross the ball back in to lewis who slots pass the stranded keeper and defender on the line, 3-5… and thw final kick of the game
Not a pretty game, but the woeful first half was the undoing of the 6s, coupled with the forced changes in the second half, Old Sal’s Res are worthy winners in the end, with some really good pass and move football
MOTM: A close vote with 4 people all on 1 vote and Ricky winging it as his now off to have a knee op and will be out for eh season, hoping he will make a full recovery and able to re-join us next season
DOTD: Although no one was nominated, it could have been Dobby for the sin bin, Chapple for the odd freekick pass to Kev, Phil for the pen! DG for saying at half time to stop giving away pointless free kicks and arguing with the ref… only to give away 2 free kicks and argue the with the ref in the opening minutes of the second half! Kev, for not running quick enough, MQ for the near post goal.. again, Chappell again for arguing with the ref about yellow cards and sin bins! Niall for asking if anyone has salt while in agony with cramp (everyone knows you only bring pepper to a game!!), and Daban for having a car that breaks down !!!!
Merton 2s, usually as steady on the road as Prince Phillip, nevertheless arrived in Dulwich with a full squad, full hearts, and, in Gibbo’s case, a full belly.
Dan ‘The Tinkerman’ Rist, the Ole Gunnar Solskjær to Willgoss’ Alex Ferguson, had ruminated long and hard over how to get the best out of his erratic team and ultimately decided on 4-3-1-2 – a narrow but attacking formation. Esoteric down to the last detail, Risty looked at the oldest person in the squad and said ‘you run the channels all day long’. Top management.
Much like Haydn on a night out, though, sometimes football’s simply a numbers game. Merton 2s had tried many different formations this year in easing themselves to mid-table obscurity; but, finally, Risty stumbled across a winner.
How so? Well, partly it was aided by a less-than-impressive opposition. South Bank lacked a great deal of pace or finesse, although they did boast the sort of goalkeeper who gets snow on his hands when he does a star jump.
Early doors, then, and it’s all Merton 2s. A four man midfield of Pritchard, Mario, The Great Scott and Everrunning Everyready Gresty controlled the game like Harold Shipman controlled patient numbers – efficiently. Chances were created and, with some predictability, DQ spurned the first because it was nowhere near his head, catching the 8ft goalie’s heel with an attempted nutmeg that resulted in a corner. The chance had been created by Sutton’s finest black cab filmmaker, Lewis Ackerman, who made like he does in the back of his fake taxi and promptly scored from two yards during a melee after another corner.
“I like the easy ones,” he said, and no-one knew whether he was referring to work or scoring goals.
DQ found himself in the once-always-and-now-increasingly-rare situation of being quicker than the entire opposition backline. Probably definitely onside, he promptly scored twice. The first saw a Pirlo-eque pass from Mario that had the Italian Galleon mamma-miaing in delight. Showing rare control and composure, DQ killed it and then dinked the world’s tallest man. The second saw big Scotty eschew his left leg and instead cross with the outside of his right while running down the left channel. It sounds beautiful. It really wasn’t. DQ scored from five yards while falling over.
And the chances continued, largely from Mario’s top quality set pieces or the occasional sojourn down the right-hand side from Rat, taking a day’s vacation in the 2s because he’s a lovely man.
3-0 at half time and all was well. Special shout-out to Max, in goal, who kept a clean sheet and couldn’t get the kit off quicker if he tried when handing over to Sam Pritchard for the second half.
Half two, then, and all did not go well. Pritch admired a fairly smart volley so much he waved it in at the near post like Mr Tumble signing to a deaf child. He then decided to mix things up by perfecting the along-the-ground goal-kick into the centre of the pitch.
Risty Dan had a plan, though, and changed to 4-5-1 to stem the tide, which kind of worked because the second half was largely appalling. Pearcey and Haydn had more to do but stood fast at the back. Conor moaned and crunched into tackles, because that’s what he does best. And Rat wondered just how bad 2s football could be. Willgoss, back from a lengthy lay-off, engaged in the odd enterprising run down the right and also Jackie Chan-ed a centreback in the head.
They scored again, mainly through Merton 2s being a bit pants by this point, but we still ended-up more than deserving winners.
And, thus, like the 19th president of the USA, a Mr Rutherford B. Hayes, Merton 2s’ season continues to happen, but not in such a way that anyone’s likely to remember it. A 3-2 win, if anyone’s counting.
Spelthorne u10s vs Merton u10s on Sunday 20th January 2019
A crisp, sunny morning greeted our team as they almost all drove straight past the correct turning and then did a tour of the local area to find their way back. Satnavs were roundly blamed. Another innovative warm-up with Neal and Roy prepared the group who were today missing the power-houses of Maxwell and David. Anyone who had parked a car behind the goal was relieved.
Merton made a strong start and won an early corner through the pace of Louis and Farris. They took it short between them and worked the ball across the box but Farris could not quite get his shot off.
They continued steadily for 10 minutes. Neal was demanding more pace and urgency on the side-lines. He knew the boys had more to give.
There followed some nice quality passing play from the cultured opposition who had a couple of players showing great comfort over the ball. Our boys were not quite finding their final pass. Max was also forced into a couple of blocks from good passing moves.
Then the ball was won on the right by the effervescent Ollie, who was once again giving 100% at the back. He found Louis who put Rio through on goal for a solid finish in the bottom left corner of the goal and 1-0.
From the kick off there followed another 2 shots. Louis first and then the ball came out and Bobby played in Percy for a shot wide. Merton were responding to Neal’s calls from the side.
Farris now made a lovely jinking run and was tripped at pace on the edge of the box. Bobby squared up to the ball, took a run and struck the ball sweetly. It crashed off the bar and away from the Spelthorne goal.
Now Rio broke on another through ball and suddenly it was 2-0. This felt no more than the boys deserved.
In search of more Louis now won the ball in midfield and passed to Farris who found Rio in a one on one with the Spelthorne keeper but he was tackled by a retreating defender as he was about to shoot.
Harry, who was his composed self throughout was suddenly off the pitch with some unexpected breathing issues. This clearly concerned his dad, Dan, who ran back from seeing him saying “he must be struggling to carry all that hair around. I tried to get him to have it cut.” There is no love like a man has for his son.
Half time came and it was 2-0, Merton deserving their lead after bossing numerous phases of play despite a well drilled and silky opposition.
The second half kicked off and Spelthorne were working extremely hard to close their deficit. Their manager was offering plenty of positive encouragement from the side-lines and deserved plenty of credit for the quality of their play. This looked like the smallest side Merton had faced of late but possibly one of the best passing sides at the same time with players who knew how to shield the ball.
They created two chances in quick succession but both through balls were a touch heavy and found the grateful gloves of Max, who had been busy without having to over-stretch himself.
Harry was breaking up play as he does so well and Joe was working his socks off at the back alongside him in this phase of the game.
Next Ollie found Louis who played in Bobby but the ball ran too long and went out. Bobby was clearly comfortable playing in any position on the park. Another good passing move by Merton flowed across the Spelthorne box and Percy had his shot blocked for a corner. Nothing came of it again.
Spelthorne made a nice break and crossed the ball to create a powerful headed chance which sailed over the bar. Merton were now getting a little ragged and causing as many problems for themselves as their opposition.
Neal was asking for more forward play and we needed to avoid self-inflicted wounds.
Then, suddenly it was 2-1. Another moment of disjointed play deep in their own half led to Merton giving away the ball and it was eventually worked to a Spelthorne forward who squeezed it in at the far post.
Merton picked up their pace now and had a spell of pressure and kept going forward. Farris played in Bobby. The Spelthorne keeper managed to stop it and then Farris had a pot shot which inexplicably crept under the keeper and in for 3-1, triggering a wave of relief on the side-lines. The game looked won.
Percy continued to work as hard as anyone in the middle of the park and made a powerful run and won a corner. Nothing came of it again but Merton were strong in this final phase of the game. Joe’s game had settled well in the second half and he was playing some nice passes with his team-mates on the left now to get the ball forward.
The final whistle blew and it was a hard fought 3-1 win for Merton. That’s 2 wins from 3 at this new league level.
Rio was awarded a deserved man of the match trophy and the gang took in the final words from Neal and Roy ahead of a dash to the cars for their lunch-time jaunt home.
City of London 3XI v Merton 6XI
The team agreed that this win is dedicated to by younger Brother Niall, passed away after a relatively short battle against Cancer on Thursday the 10th January 2019.
Niall played for a few years in the early 1980’s and was a regular in the first team.
After over 890 games this was the first visit to City of London although they are a new club in the league. There facilities are rather run down and the pitch didn’t look great either.
This week we had 12 players arrive eventually, Daban car started, however we were still missing El Capt. Dave and Mad Dog Burchell (all his training), we were also missing any obvious strikers. In discussions with Kev we decided to play a 4-3-3 system.
We took at bit of time to settle into the new line up and City of London were the more attacking and created a few long range chances. One chance did beat me from range however they were offside. They also hit the post and Mark Chappell managed to scramble away from the goal. The defence began to gain control and we did start to create half chances, particularly after bring Daban on for Dobson. We reached half time goalless.
After Kev & Phil’s half time talk, we came out stronger. We changed Steve H for Dobson. However Steve was soon back on as Daban was injured and had to good off.
We were more attacking, as the game opened up and our defence remained strong and the midfield of Phil, Ty and Steve H working hard. We final created a clear chance, however Phil was brought down just outside the box. There guy got lucky remaining on the pitch and over free kick came to nothing. It was their goalkeeper how was busier although they did have one shot for the edge of the box which I comfortable handled.
We contained to press and the City of London were giving away free Kicks which we finally capitalised with a deep free kick from the right knocked back across the crowded six yard box and James headed in from close range.
City of London final push didn’t really happen and apart on free kick from 20 Yards which I easily caught, they didn’t create anything. Inside the last 10 mInutes Phil final scored a simple header from another good corner from James. Phil also missed another header late on.
Once we scored are second the main aim was to keep a clean sheet, which we did comfortable.
This was a great team performance everybody working hard and playing well.
Niall this was for you RIP
MoM – Mark Chappell although it was close with vote for Tom Johnson & James Emery
DoD – None 6th player put a foot wrong. However City of London No 3 or an outside shout for Ed breaking protocol in tapping up players.
Team – Martin, Mark, Tom, Joe, Kevin, Andrew, Phil, Ricardo, Ty, James & Steve H
Merton 0-2 Bank of England
It was the second game of the New Year on Saturday and a trip back to the Hood for the first team.
The visitors were old rivals Bank of England, who had returned to division two following relegation last year. However, they were sitting in third place and having a decent season thus far.
Overall, the first half was an extremely cagey affair with not too much to write home about. Both teams defended well and there wasn’t a whole host of chances. Until the final phase of play, where Van has the ball fall to him 12 yards out only to blaze it over the bar.
The first goal was always going to be critical in game like this and after 70 minutes it went to the away side. Good play from their winner who split Rat and Jimbo before squaring it to the striker to tap home.
Following that the game was far more open. Bank tried to exploit the space that opened up as Merton tried to push for the equaliser. They were more chances including a good strike from substitute Joe, a terribly tame free kick from Jimbo and another miss from Van.
Less than 10 to play and the game was put to bed. 2-0. Jimbo tried to volley away a high ball down the channel, only managing to clear the ball over his own and perfectly playing in their striker.
A day to forget for the newly converted centre half.
No game this Saturday.
Team: Sherbs, Rat, Jimbo, Browner, Max, Josh, Sam, Josh F, Van, George, Jamie
Subs: Woody, Clappers Joe
Claygate Royals Griffins vs Merton Under 10s
13th January 2019 – Under 10s report
After a short trip down the A3 to Esher, Merton were able to warm up and prepare in near perfect football conditions at the Claygate Recreation Ground. This was not Merton’s first time preparing to face Claygate opposition this season. Back in September, Merton had beaten Claygate Royals Hares 3-2 away. Today’s opponents were Claygate Royals Griffins. The referee for today’s match was the same referee from the September match. Could Merton deliver a similar result?
Merton started the match kicking left to right on the relatively small pitch. The pitch may not have been large but it was green and in good condition. When the match started, the opening exchanges saw both teams turn over the ball cheaply. With just two minutes gone, Faris won the ball and attempted to clear behind Max’s goal but his clearance accidentally nestled in the bottom left corner of Max’s goal. It was a fluke own goal that stunned both sets of watching parents into silence.
1 nil to Claygate
For the next couple of minutes, both teams continued to give away the ball with possession often lost in the midfield. For Merton, Harry was particularly effective in breaking down Claygate attacks. After 5 minutes, there was a noticeable change, urged on by Coach Neal, Merton began to ’wake up’ and started to play some of the fast moving two touch football that they are capable of. Merton were linking up more effectively in the midfield.
Six minutes gone, Maxwell won a tackle, raced toward goal and shot. He hit the left-hand post. Merton were now in the ascendancy; after some great link up play between Faris and Dave, Dave’s shot was pushed out for a corner. Claygate were blocking and clearing most of what was being thrown at them and as a consequence, they were holding on to their lead.
Their goalkeeper was having a particularly good period, during the eleventh minute he made 3 saves in quick succession. Would Merton be able to score today?
The answer to that question came in the 16th minute, Faris’ through ball found Maxwell who dribbled away from his marker and chipped the keeper who was rushing off his line. It went in!
Merton’s pressure had paid off and they were back in the game. Claygate responded in the best way possible for them. With 18 minutes gone, Merton turned over possession in midfield, Claygate attacked at pace and their resulting shot hit the underside of Max’s crossbar and bounced over the line before spinning out. The referee took a second to consider and the goal was awarded. She did not need V.A.R.
2-1 to Claygate
The game became more frenetic, Merton had chances but did not convert them. Claygate also created chances but did not extend their lead.
At half time, the score remained 2-1 to Claygate.
The second half kicked off at precisely 10.25 am with Merton now kicking right to left. Faris had a shot to the right-hand side of the Claygate goal. Near miss. Rio had a shot that also went close; this time just wide of the left-hand side of the Claygate goal.
3 minutes into the second half, after Merton failed to clear their lines, Claygate were advancing on the Merton goal. Their striker shot to the bottom left of Max’s goal. It went in.
3-1 to Claygate
The match entered a critical phase, if Claygate were to score again the match might be out of the reach of Merton. The game was very entertaining, a little composure on the ball was lacking at times but everyone was giving their maximum effort. Coach Neal’s beast of a fitness training session had clearly paid off. Crucially Merton got the next goal.
Five minutes gone, after a scrappy passage of play, the ball came to Percy who was able to slot home from close range.
3-2 Game On!
After 7 minutes, Merton won a free kick. It was quite a long way out. Claygate didn’t really expect a shot. Dave had other ideas and launched it into the top right corner of the goal. Top bins! Claygate’s keeper couldn’t stop it. It was a goal!
This was when Merton really began to dominate and to make their control of the game pay. There was some great play in the midfield from Louis, Percy and Dave. In defence, Harry, Joe, Ollie and Max were also playing very well.
With 9 minutes gone, Dave started on a run toward Claygate’s goal, He fed Rio who raced towards the Claygate goal. He struck a powerful shot to the bottom left corner of the goal.
It was a great finish!
3-4 to Merton
Merton were now leading for the first time. They continued to press home their advantage in an attempt to put the result beyond doubt.
After 11 minutes, Joe took a throw on the left-hand side. His throw was blocked and the ball came back to him. He struck a great shot into the top corner of the Claygate goal. Their keeper wasn’t expecting it and in went straight in.
3.-5 to Merton
Claygate were not finished yet; they were still creating chances of their own.
In the 12th minute, Claygate forced a corner. When the corner came in from the right, it was bundled in at the far post.
4-5 to Merton
More chances created by either side. Play continued at a fast pace, both sides showing good energy and enthusiasm levels. Claygate hit the post in the 21st minute.
In the 22nd minute, Dave won the ball in midfield and drove toward the Claygate goal. He feigned a powerful shot and instead rolled it into the bottom left of the goal. A very calm finish.
4-6 to Merton
2 minutes later, Claygate went close again with a header that went just wide. Soon after the referee blew the full-time whistle to confirm a great away win for Merton. A great effort from all the boys including Bobby our 11th man.
Well done boys!
Dave was presented with the Man of the Match award.
Author: Mike Pitt
South Bank CUACO 7XI v Merton 6XI
Christmas & New Year break over, all looking to start football again, well if not snowboarding, shopping etc. didn’t get in the way. So from a team of 13 in midweek we finally turned up with the bare 11. Daban’s car not starting around 1.00pm.
We still had a reasonable line with youth up front and age at the back, however the pitch wasn’t going to help longish grass and heavy plus South Bank had 14 players.
We Start well and scored reasonable early with a good finish by Ricardo from inside the box. We continued to frustrate South Bank’s attack limiting them to long range efforts, whilst continuing to cause them problems but we did score again until nearly half time. Lewis continuing his fine scoring form.
Unfortunately we let our guard down just before half-time when we failed to clear full a free kick. So we go in at half time 2-1 up.
In the second half our efforts from the first half began to tell and the fact that South Bank had 3 sub meant our tired legs faced fresh legs and the number of free kick we (Ricardo) gave away told and South Bank scored 3 Goals including a OG.
Our attacking force also suffer with James having to good off for the last 10/15 minutes with an Achilles problem.
The good points were we didn’t stop running and trying to score right to the end, but without any luck. Our 10 men attacking line did mean that holes appeared at the back and enable Martin in goal to make a few saves.
The final result being 2-4 was disappointing but there were positives. The centre midfield pair of Ricardo & Phil worked tirelessly as did Lewis & James up front and the defence was solid for the most.
It was between Ricardo who seemingly wanting to get into the referee’s note book and Kevin get some early practice for the six Nation we giving away too many free kicks in dangerous areas.
MoM – Ricardo Inglesias with a mention to Tom Johnson
DoD – Daban (my car doesn’t Start) Babaker
Team – Martin, Steve, Tom, Joe, Kevin, Andrew, Phil, Ricardo, Matt, James & Lewis