3s vs Carshalton – 17.12.16
Carshalton 3s v Merton 3s – 1:0
With the 3s up against top of the table Carshalton and on a run of defeats by one goal, a tough game was to be expected. Additionally, amateur football wouldn’t be amateur football without a late squad change occurring somewhere across the club – this time it was the turn of the 3s, with two players pulling out on the day (one with an unexpected and understandable reason and one, inexplicably, less than an hour before the meet time). With late changes to the squad required, Lee Lenihan answered the call up to don the keeper’s gloves and Walshy, who came along just to watch the game, had thankfully bought his kit and became 13th man. Walshy’s addition to the squad was seemingly lost on Mustard, as during the pre match team talk, he kept referring to the good 12 man squad the 3s had. Walshy leading the warm up seemingly wasn’t memorable enough to enter Mustard’s mind that he was part of the squad. Mentally, a number of players already had decided their DOTD vote at that point.
The game itself was standard fare for Merton 3s, a tight, hard fought game with few clear cut chances, decided by one goal. Both defences played well, with Merton’s led by Alan Clowes, at centre back. Carshalton marginally shaded things in the first half but as the game grew on, Merton 3s came more and more in to the game. Lenners kept a first half clean sheet but injured his hamstring and was replaced at half time by 13th man, Walshy.
Jason Thomas was brought down when through on goal – the ref reached to his pocket for his cards and gave a yellow. Carshalton’s goal was scored mid-way through the second half – it came from a long throw that was aimed at their central midfielder who held off a challenge and knocked it back to a striker to give Walshy no chance from six yards. Jordan had a couple of (half) chances to score, but wasn’t able to make the breakthrough. To the amusement and the adulation of the spectators, Walshy raised the entertainment levels by displaying, on a couple of occasions, his juggling skills whilst shutting out their attackers. Emmanuel was lively when he came on and started to stretch their defence but the 3s still weren’t able to create the chances to properly test the keeper.
Given that Merton were playing against the top of the table team, it could be considered that this was a credible score but as per most of the games this season, the 3s have held their own in terms of competiveness and if a few things had fallen differently, results could have been different. There’s a lot of positives within the Merton 3s squad and they need to find a way to make the marginal improvements to turn one goal defeats into points.
Team: Lee Lenihan, Dan Rist, Jack Rowe, Alan Clowes, Conor Murphy, Iain Evans, Neil Davison, Mustard, Jordan Cox, Jason Thomas, Denys Zhurbiy. Subs: Walshy, Emmanuel Amoakoh
MOTM: Alan Clowes
DOTD: Mustard (for forgetting that Walshy was a late addition to the squad).