Merton 3s vs Carashalton 3s

Saturday rolled around once again and the 3s were looking to pick up their first win of the season. The opposition were the notoriously tough Carshalton and everyone was aware it was going to be a hard match in which preparation before the game would be key to get everyone prepared. Luckily everyone in the team had been briefed the week before by Mustard about the importance of turning up on time and how it would help turnaround our wayward start to the season. Iain sent out a message in the group chat about turning up early to support the lower teams in the club, so there was no possibility of anyone turning up late today surely?! How wrong that turned out to be! Not long after midday the first worrying text arrived from Billy who informed us that his train was cancelled and the next was not until near 1pm. One player late is not that much of an issue and it wouldn’t be a drastic problem… if not for the fact that off the football field Billy, Britney and Nathan are rarely seen more than a metre apart from one another! (You really do have to feel sorry for the ladies in their lives) So the three musketeers were late and stranded, fortunately Vin swooped in to save the day and get them to the Hood. The late brigade didn’t stop there though with Joe also suffering from his train arriving late, which makes a change from himself as he normally arrives too soon (According to his Mrs). With the team arriving in dribs and drabs the biggest shock of the day happened, Aaron Byrne arrived only 10 minutes late! A massive congratulations to him on his struggle of living so much further away from the hood than the rest of us and also his daily battle with the concept of time. With the playlist of Reality TV booming out in the background and with Alexandra Burke’s ‘Hallelujah’ in the mix how could the team not be motivated for this massive cup game!

Anyway onto the football! The boars were looking to build upon their fantastic end to the game last week and starting with a strong lineup of Iain in goal after his De Gea-esque performance last week (De Gea during the World Cup that is), in front of him a pacey back 4 of Mustard at right back, a returning centre-back pairing of Vin and Adam, with Ryan at left back. In the middle of the park we had Sam, Lofty and Joe which followed on from the pacey theme shown in the back four… Then up top that left Billy, Aaron and Britney, a relatively slow front three in comparison to the rest of the team. With Fitz and Nathan on the bench we had the perfect combination of pace, power, youth and Fitz was also there. (Please don’t bench me!)  With the Carshalton players bringing down all their family and friends to support we were playing in front of a sellout crowd as the game got underway. The boars started the livelier of the two teams and picking up from the energy and fight we were showing last week, we largely dominated the opening proceedings although we were struggling to make the ball stick up top with Billy and Britney opting to flick the ball on instead of controlling it. The midfield was a good battle which we were largely winning as they only had one real threat who we were managing to keep quiet. With Adam and Vin dominating in the air there were not many chances of note in the first half. The one stand out moment being when we were heartlessly denied a penalty by the ref after Aaron was played through and beat the keeper to the ball but was caught by the keeper in the process, yet the ref allowed play to carry on! Nobody ask Aaron about this in the future though as he will point out the tiny mark on his leg where the keeper brushed his thigh. Half time rolled around and for once the boars were going into halftime with a clean sheet and a goal less game so far! The team talk was asking for generally more of the same and the team went out into the second half unchanged. Again the boars were dominating from the start and set pieces were aplenty with the number of fouls Carshalton were giving away. We won a corner and Adam went up to take it, whipping in a lovely ball from the right, Lofty winning the flick on at the near post and the ball ping-ponged all over the place before falling to the feet of Aaron Byrne who volleyed the ball into the ground and it bounced up and came back off the bar! So close to making it a deserved 1-0 to Merton. It was clear their centre backs didn’t like it in the air and Iain’s kick were causing them plenty of problems. We were pushing them further and further into their own half when we won a freekick on the right hand side of the box. Adam again whipped it in with his left foot and again the ball was bouncing around the box before falling to Aaron again! This time he made no mistake and with his left foot buried the ball into the bottom corner! 1-0 to the boars! Unfortunately this goal seemed to light a spark in Carshalton, they came out fighting and we were firmly on the back foot. Wave after wave of attack came with Merton resisting every single one of them. Until disaster struck! A Carshalton corner whipped in was headed back across at the back post, their player toe poked the ball on the six yard towards goal…

The following is a completely unbiased and accurate description of the events that unfolded.

Ryan, who was on the post, sensed the danger and in a desperate bid to prevent his team from going behind threw his leg in front of the ball in a split second reaction! He did all he could given the circumstances and did the unimaginable and managed to make contact with the ball, which was already heading firmly for the back of the net. (From his perspective) Unfortunately the contact was off his shin and the ball found the back of the net anyway, but the heroic attempt to stop it did not receive the adulation it deserved and was met with comments like ‘Shocking own-goal’ which we will get to after the football.

So it was 1-1 and Merton’s lead was shattered. The remainder of the game was all Merton once again with them throwing everything forward. A good interchange on the left between Nathan and Ryan, who was determined to make up for his earlier ‘mistake’, lead to Ryan firing a delightful ball across the face of the six yard box that alluded everyone and went out for a goal kick. Merton launched attack after attack but no goal came and the 90 minutes were up.  Extra time was to follow! The team had given there all and there were some tired legs out there and to make things worse the water bottles were all empty! Water was scarce and what little we had was being shared out amongst the team.

We interrupt this match report to launch an urgent appeal, for just £20 a month you can help provide clean fresh drinking water for Merton 3s at all their games. In this tough climate, playing football is becoming more and more difficult and clean water is hard to come by, please give what you can and help keep your football team hydrated. Thank you.

Extra time kicked off and the boars were raring to go. With tired legs the game became very end to end with chances a plenty for both sides. Neither could take advantage though, the best chance came from a Merton counter attack Nathan ran onto a ball on the left wing and found Ryan on the edge of the box supporting him. Ryan dropped the shoulder and got the ball onto his right and unleashed a venomous shot that was curling and seemed destined for the bottom corner, could this be his redemption?! Unfortunately not as the Carshalton keeper somehow produced an incredible save and tipped it just around the post! The pressure was growing though and Merton seemed due a goal, with us winning a freekick just in the Carshalton half could this be our chance? The delivery couldn’t beat the first man and the ball fell to a Carshalton player who started a counter. With a ball played over the top their quick winger got there first and was baring down on goal. The defence desperately tried to keep up to no avail and their winger played the ball past Iain to their striker who was the only player in the six yard box and was clearly offside… Not according to the ref as he pointed to the centre circle and the boars were 2-1 down completely against the run of play.

The team went all out attack in an attempt to just nick a goal to keep us in the game, however Carshalton defended resolutely and the goal was not forthcoming, meaning we again were beaten by just the one goal! The positive signs of improvement were there again though, with the front three gelling well and the fight and desire being shown by every player if we continue in this form the win must surely be on its way! In the bar afterwards the man of the match votes and dick of the day nominations were being cast. MOTM was a clear winner with Adam dominating everything in the air and on the ground as well as proving himself as a fantastic set piece taker. DOTD was also a runaway with Ryan being brutally victimised and blamed for his apparent ‘Own goal’, although Joe did give him a run for his money with votes in such as not being able to play a pass. However it wasn’t enough to save Ryan from gracefully necking a pint and claiming the honour of writing the match report. Hopefully that’s the last time this season and I apologise to those I did not offend, I will do my best should there be a next time! Onto next week where we will pick up our first win of the season!

Squad: Iain, Mustard, Vin, Adam, Ryan, Sam, Lofty, Joe, Britney, Billy, Aaron #

Subs: Fitz, Nathan

MOTM: Adam

DOTD: Ryan

Posted in Match Reports 3s