2s vs Oldsmiths – 17.09.16
Merton Res 4 Oldsmiths Res 2
Scorers Willgoss (2) Cibwabwa (2)
Lofty demanded Team Handsome 2.0 make Joseph Hood a fortress. The 2s delivered. But it wasn’t that simple.
It looked like it might be for a while. A cross-field ball bounced up for Wilgo on the edge of the area, 12 yards from the touchline. His half-volley arced from right to left over the goalkeeper and into the side netting. 1-0. Wilgo bagged his second when the Oldsmiths keeper found him in space outside the area minutes later. Merton’s skipper advanced, sat the keeper down and knocked it into an empty net. 2-0. Half-time.
It was more of the same to start the second half, with Merton’s back four an outstanding unit and Sherbs an assured presence in goal. With the tireless, selfless running of Tom Benham up front and James Laughton and Elz menacing on either wing, the 2s looked dangerous every time they broke forward. Tom’s hustle in particular was vital to his team’s superiority. And so it proved, with the best team goal of the day.
Wilgo won the ball from an Oldsmiths break and set James away down the right. His cross made its way via Tom to Elz, who cut in to beat two defenders before firing home with confidence. 3-0.
Then came the nerves: Oldsmiths who had already won their first league game were not going to give up easily and battled all the way. Their determination paid off and at 3-1the away side were back in it. Sherbs made his outstanding save of the day at his near post to counter an Oldsmiths break down the left; he and his defence threw themselves in front of plenty more as the game ticked into the final half hour, but could do little about a powerful header from a corner with 15 minutes to go. 3-2.
More chances came Merton’s way as the game became stretched. Tom was unlucky not to score at least one. Then, with 10 left, the Laughton-Elz combo – who lit up the match whenever they were on the ball – combined again for Merton’s fourth, with Alberto playing the telling ball in for Elz’s second. 4-2. A result all worked hard for. Particularly the manager.
“I ached from about 30 minutes in, but the smile is big now,” said Lofty afterwards. “Great to bounce back from last week.”
Lofty had an outstanding game in midfield and organising and managing the team. Wilgo deserved his ‘Man Most Handsome’ award for his on field leadership alone, never mind the two goals.