4s vs Dorkinians – 30.10.17
Dorkinians 4s beat Merton 4s 3-2
After a mixed, but mostly positive start to the season, it was onto the Cup as the Merton 4s travelled to Dorkinians for this knockout fixture. And what a pleasure it was too. The beautiful surrounds of Boxhill provided the backdrop, and the leafy countryside of Surrey was the setting. Throw in some overcast but mild conditions, and the perfect stage had been set for a delightful afternoon’s football.
It started pretty well too, with Merton consolidating the flowing, passing football they had produced over the last couple of weeks. Dorkinians, though, were clearly a decent side, and there wasn’t much in it early doors.
The breakthrough came about 20 minutes in though, as Merton were undone – not for the first time – by a set-piece. A free kick came swirling in, and in went a header from an unmarked man. It smacked of the goal conceded in the recent Ibis game, and was a desperately disappointing way to go behind having given as good as they’d got until that point.
Merton once again got a good foothold in the game thereafter, but there was to be no further joy before half time, and 1-0 was how it stayed. In a bid to discover his inner Conte, manager-for-the-day John Gridley then pulled himself off to cajole his men. And goodness me, it worked a treat.
Not long after the restart, Merton benefited from a very dubious penalty – a handball which could just as easily have been waved away. Nevertheess, Dom made no mistake from the spot, and the Yellows now had parity.
And one soon became two, this time in impressive fashion, as Sonny ably assisted Dom, who then found himself one-on-one with the keeper. And, well, you know how that story ends… the little maestro put it away, and Merton were suddenly 2-1 to the good. Cue a charge down the touchline from the gaffer.
But the joy, sadly, was short-lived. With their winger going nowhere along the sidelines, Sonny saw fit to push/clothes line him, and thus give away a needless free kick. And, in a mirage of the first goal, the ball was duly whipped into the back post, and headed home for the equaliser. What a waste!
Frustration soon turned to heartbreak though, as Dan Gridley once again gave away a penalty with just 5 minutes to go. This time though, he was very unlucky, and, to say the least, it was a soft one. Perhaps the ref was feeling guilty from the one he’d given to the visitors earlier on, but this really was one that stuck in the throat. Even more so when the man who stepped up thumped it into the back of the net. 3-2, and not much time left to make it right.
Merton certainly gave it a go though, and, in the dying seconds with all their men forward (including Gubby), crashed one against the post. But it wasn’t to be, and a disappointing 3-2 defeat was how it finished.
Not the end of the world, and a good performance once again. The most important thing will be to turn it into points when normal league service resumes against Salesians on Saturday.
MOTM: Will Toms (special mention for Akram)
DOTD: Dan Gridley (unlucky)
DOTD: Dan Gridley (unlucky)