3s vs Nottsborough – 25.02.17
On a blustery afternoon at the Hood, Merton FC’s last game of the season was to follow on a day that coincided with a few Merton farewells and an end to a character building season on and off the pitch.
After an unusually indifferent season of highs and lows on the pitch, Merton were cheered on from above by one of our beloved boars who we lost this season (smiler boar) Nick P.
Our oppo got the better of us earlier in the season when the need for substitutes was ever so apparent. Merton had an almost full squad to pick from for the final home game.
Joe (with beard)
A few familiar yet mainly absent faces back in the team for this one.
Merton started off the game from the kick off pressing high up and won the ball back from a Nottsborough start. The ball was collected in midfield and played out to Glenn on the right hand side of the area, a swift cross in to the box, and Denys was on hand 7 yards from goal to finish well in the bottom left hand corner to make it 1-0 to Merton within 30 seconds of the kick off. Good finish and pressure from Merton, and a finish to start the tempo for the first half for Merton.
Merton were pressing constantly and after a few challenges on the Nottsborough forward players early on, Merton had a lot of the ball and were spreading the play across the midfield and to the two forwards well.
10 minutes in, a ball in to midfield from defence was played out to the left wing, crossed in to the area to Darcy who stuck the ball past the keeper from 5 yards to make it 2-0. Merton cruising and playing great.
A few fouls were given by both teams (but mainly Tony P) as Nottsborough tried to keep the ball, and the Merton back line stuck together well. 25 minutes in, Merton possession, chances created, and not an opposition chance on target to note.
30 minutes in and more Merton pressure and pressing resulted in another goal. Great pressure from the Merton defence gave the ball to Ricky on the left wing, who combining with Mustard/Glenn, gave Ricky a sight at goal from 30 yards out. The keeper only slightly off his line, Ricky lobbed in an audacious effort (and screamed as if giving birth) over the keeper which nestled in to the side netting. Great strike, and rightly so a Merton bundle followed…
3-0 up and in complete control. Some say it was the handsome (and rightly so missed) faces that were back for Merton on the day, some say it was Denys’ relentless effort chasing down the Nottsborough back line, some even say it was the fear of being replaced by the fluorescent boot wearing, ‘pregnant’ substitute Donno that spurred the team on?! However a great first half from Merton and with a full team and all round commitment- showed us what the season could have been like had the personnel being consistent.
Second half and Ross and Donno were on for Denys and Joe (with beard).
The second half did not start as comfortably as the first half did. The Nottsborough players pressed higher up (possibly a last throw of the dice) to try and gain some momentum in the Merton half. 10 minutes of pressure from the oppo was dealt well with by the Merton back four. 15 minutes in and a through ball from Tony at right back was knocked through to Donno by Ross – as seen many times this season Donno has a tendency to think he is faster than he is – legs moving faster, and upper ‘torso’ area lagging slightly behind; the keeper came out of his area to collect the bouncing through ball. Donno managed to nick this past the keeper slightly in the air (or so he thought) until the oopo keeper decided to stop his effort, and handled outside of his area. Red card. Oppo down to 10 men. Free kick to Merton.
After a few minutes from the oppo complaining and Merton discussion on who to take the free kick, Glenn took responsibility. Most of the Merton teams’ pancakes on Tuesday night were as flat as this free kick – as Glenn confessed (whilst chuckling to himself) ‘errr – that was rubbish Tone’ – yes it was Glenn. Yes it was.
Shortly after a free kick given in Mertons’ half after Tony wrestled had their left winger to the ground and in the same movement pulled his shorts down – (great technique) – a Nottsborough attacked resulted in their centre half cuddling Neal violently, dragged him to the floor whispering sweet nothings’ in to his ear (who can blame him?!) – a free kick was given quickly and taken by Dan up field to Ricky. Through ball to Donno and those pink boots were deliberating whether to go to the keepers left, right, over the top – in the end a toe-poke through the keepers’ legs was good enough to make it 4-0. Good finish in to the bottom corner of the net.
The opposition at this point had their heads down, but kept bombing forward and trying to hold the ball up in the Merton half. Their forward intent led to a lot of chances for Merton to score more, as their back line was nowhere to be seen.
Ross had a great chance to make it 5-0 when a through ball from Donno with only the keeper to beat, smashed an effort off the post. Donno then had 2-3 chances to wrap the game up and… didn’t. Ball was won by Ross within the Merton half, edge of the area, squared to the opposite side of the box to Donno, Tony was free with an open goal in front of him – yet inexplicably gravity pulled Donno and his excess ‘muscle’ to the floor for the umpteenth time. An open goal or two from Donno were quickly forgotten about when the final whistle went on what was a great end to the season and showed a great team spirit throughout the team.
Great performance from the boars and no bookings (unbelievably)!
Best of luck to Donno on his new venture in Spain – last appearance for him in a Merton shirt and farewell to those pink boots…
4-0 home win.
Dave ‘Dad bod’ Donovan