3s vs Alleyn Old Boys – 24.02.18
Merton 3s v Alleyn Old Boys: 1-2
There is potential for confusion regarding which match this refers to as it could be read out of chronological order. This is due to Walshy’s apparent failure to successfully send the match report (from the previous game), to the right e-mail address. He claims to have written it. Why did he send it to the wrong e-mail address? Why is his e-mail not accessible through his phone? Why is he ignoring chaser messages in the WhatsApp group? Has he even written the report? To be able to successfully answer these questions is to understand the technological dinosaur with an inability to focus on detail, that is Walshy. To avoid any confusion, this match report refers to the Boars’ game against Alleyn Old Boys on Saturday 24 February 2018.
Friday 23 February 2018, the match day WhatsApp group is created. It’s evident that the availability epidemic has struck again, with a squad of 12 and 4 new lads in the group. As it was an away game, we knew Darcy wouldn’t be playing, also Mario seems to retired through injury and DK can’t quite shift his damaged toenail.
On to the line up, Walshy, fresh from a late night poker session and being our tallest player, didn’t seem to be keen to play outfield and started getting changed into the keeper’s kit. This was a clear indication that he was going to be replacing our goal scoring, elderly relative birthday partier, keeper Sam Singer-Ripley. As is quite standard these days, our entire back four was made up of players that don’t naturally identify as defenders, with Iain showing his versatility and playing at CB. The midfield 5 saw the introduction of 3 debutants, Akram, Sam and Vladimir. This left the Beast from the East as our sole striker and Matt Shreeve, who must have thought the kick off time was the meet time as our one sub. The crocked Fitz was running things from the sidelines.
Mustard’s first job was to win the toss, which he successfully did. He opted (after some deep analysis with Walshy) to play into the wind and allow the oppo to defend with the bright winter sun in their eyes. Keep it tight in the first half and then let them have the onslaught in the second half.
The Boars settled into the game well and on a small pitch were able to play a high pressing game combined with some good incisive football, which with Iain and Neal as ball playing CBs and Ricky as a Neymar like left back, we were always looking to play or take the ball out from the back. Akram and AHR led the pressing game really well and this resulted in the opposition losing possession a number of times. This gave the veteran Lofty a chance to showcase his passing game, given that he wasn’t required to do doggies all game. Vladimir showed a calmness on the ball, as well as penchant for Olympic diving, to link up very well with his teammates. In particular this led to the opening goal with the high press resulting in Denys receiving the ball and playing a one two with Vladimir before placing a calm composed (this really doesn’t sound like Denys) past the keeper to give the Boars the lead at half time. Another debutant, Sam Kapadia lined up on the right hand side of midfield and had a solid start to his Merton career by being a good outlet and providing good defensive cover when needs be.
Shortly before half time, Matt Shreeve was bought on for his debut (as he’d finally arrived and got some kit on). It was immediately evident that Matt possesses the pace of the like that we’ve never seen before, by latching on to a ball that the defender must have had a 30 metre head start – it all looked very promising for the second half.
In the second half, we couldn’t quite get our attacking game together, as the deemed advantage of the wind, meant in practice that we were over hitting our passes on the small pitch and therefore it was harder to utilise Matt’s pace and get in behind them. Matt did have a great chance when put through on goal but lofted the ball just over the bar. Tempers started to fray on the pitch (the oppo’s not ours) and this resulted in one of their players being sin binned. Composed defending at the back was keeping our lead in tact. Although with twenty minutes to go, the ball was lost on our left hand side and we didn’t clear our lines. This resulted in their left midfielder picking the ball up and shooting past Walshy, whom had been having an impressive game in goal (other than a reluctance to talk to his defenders and responding with “f*** off” when being advised to do so). Walshy made a few more good saves and Merton occasionally broke. One such opportunity saw Mustard break into the box and he was clipped as he went in, which naturally resulted in him hitting the deck (as a player of that speed and huge upper body strength, would clearly be knocked off balance, if kicked in the ankle). The opposition decided to call it as a dive, which it clearly wasn’t. Perhaps they’d been influenced by the other diving calls they’d made throughout the game and were just creating fake news. The ref clearly didn’t think it was a dive, as he didn’t give it as such but regrettably a large chunk of the Boars squad had been sucked into such fake news and felt it worthy of a dick of the day nomination. In doing so, not feeling that some even more compelling acts were not worthy of winning. Ricky was nominated for diving although his foul throw was missed. Vladimir then copied Ricky by doing his own foul throw and then proceeded to do at least two dives of his own. It was an absolute travesty that a non dive should be designated as a dive and then win the DOTD award ahead of more compelling acts!
Things were all square with a minute to go when AOB had one last push and seemed to send everyone up in open play, which left a 7 foot 2 inches CB to tower over Mustard who had two players on him to get his head on the ball to claim a last minute winner. Gutting conclusion to what had been a really even game, with a much-improved performance from the Boars.
One footnote, the move from full back to CB for Iain seemed to have a massively calming effect on him and we saw none of the “Angry Iain” verbals that we’ve come to know and (not) love. This resulted in him having a very good game. More of the same please. However it seems that by him not being angry, it must have transferred to Ricky, who received 2 nominations for DOTD for his verbals (by unnecessarily picking fights with a team mate for nonsensical matters).
Finally, MOTM, Akram, a very solid debut typified with decent passing and tenacious tackling / hassling of the opposition. Well done.
Team: Walshy, Mustard (captain), Iain Evans, Neal Davison, Ricardo Iglesias, Sam Kapadia, Akram Choudhury, AHR, Lofty, Vladimir Melechestev, Denys Zhurbiy. Sub: Matt Shreeve
Goal: Denys Zhurbiy
DOTD: Mustard (for being fouled in the box without the referee awarding any infringement of football law)