Merton 4s vs. Actonians Association 7s
ISEH Intermediate Novets Cup, Quarter Final
Saturday 10th February 2018
by Edward Plaistow

If there was any week in which you wanted a postponement, this was the one. With only seven regulars available, there was no other option but to seek help from elsewhere with Aaron Byrne, Luke Newman, Chris Outred and Phil Truman from the 5s stepping up to help following their postponement. Denyz Zhurbiy was also part of the squad. We were further strengthened when Matt Bosher, who had turned up at Joseph Hood for the non-existent 1s game, became our 14th man. When asked if he wanted to help out, it was pleasing that his response was ‘Well it’s better than going home’,

The playing surface at WCE was more like a swamp than a football pitch. In all honestly I wouldn’t have been surprised if the referee had called the game off due to the amount of standing water visible but with him and the opposition having “travelled a long way” the game went ahead.

Having not played the visitors before, we didn’t know what to expect. Their results in the league were nothing to go by having only played a fraction of the games we had. Although we had a shift in personnel, we were able to line up in our usual 3-5-2 formation. Michael Elgar replaced Gubby in goal with the latter unavailable with Chris Outred coming into the back three alongside Dan Gridley and Will Toms. The only other change saw Aaron Byrne partner Denyz up top in the absence of Dom Plumridge with Aaron Loftus dropping into a number ten role.

It was a slow start with the playing surface not helping. We were unable to string a succession of passes together which resulted in Actonians having a lot of the ball early on. Their number 4 in the middle of the park being the catalyst for everything they were creating. It wasn’t long until their dominance in possession paid off when Mikey was unable to keep out a low drive from 20 yards.

Conceding kicked us into gear. We were getting a foothold in the game creating opportunities. Denyz was holding the ball up well with Aaron Byrne causing all sorts of problems on the right hand side. On the half hour mark we found ourselves level courtesy of Aaron Loftus and that left foot of his. We were now on the front foot and we soon found ourselves in the lead with Sonny converting following a layoff by Aaron Loftus. We kept our composure for the remainder of the half.

We were playing some good football, as a result, the team talk at half time was possible. In order to freshen this up changes were made. John Gridley took the place of Mikey in goal as he was unable to continue following a collision in the first half. Luke came onto replace him taking Johns spot at RWB. Phil replaced Chris at the back and Matt came on in place of Aaron Byrne.

The second period started better than we ever could have imagined when two minutes in, Aaron Loftus gambled on a mistake by the keeper to fire a left footed shot into the bottom right of the net. This however was the trigger where things went downhill.

Within 10 minutes of increasing our lead, the game was level with Actonians bossing possession. Legs were tiring which were made worse when Sonny was sin binned for dissent. During his ten minute absence, which seemed liked a lifetime, the visitors used the extra man to their advantage. The extra man combined with some poor defending (the guys would agree!) the game finished 6-3 to Actonians meaning they were travelling back to Acton with a spot in the semi-finals.

This is a game to forget but hopefully we will have our revenge in the league fixtures.

With our cup run over until next season, we look forward to hosting Polytechnic at Joseph Hood next week hoping to continue our fine form in the league.

Merton 4s 3 – 6 Actonians Association 7s
SCORERS: Aaron Loftus (2), Sonny Kennedy
Aaron Loftus
DOTD: Sonny Kennedy

STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Elgar (GK) (Luke Newman), Will Toms, Dan Gridley, Chris Outred (Phil Truman), Edward Plaistow, John Gridley, Akram Choudhury, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Denyz Zhurbiy, Aaron Byrne (Matt Bosher)

Posted in Match Reports 4s