HSBC 5s were the visitors to Joseph Hood in a week where three points were vital to kick-start our league campaign. Only one point out of a possible nine going into the game explains how important it was that we claimed the points and not the opposition.

With Sam picked up a double wrist injury while playing for his School team, it was down to Chris Outred to step in between the sticks. Joe and Glen made up the centre back partnership with Chris Dodd playing the holding role to give support to the midfield but also provide that extra cover at the back. Dan Plaistow came in for Ryan on the right of midfield with Dulanie once against starting on the left leaving Dom and the lone striker.

We lost Michael and Joe pretty early on so Jake came into the middle of the park to partner Dan Gridley with John reverting to centre park and Ryan coming on to replace him at right full back. It was an even contest for the first 20 minutes of the half. Both teams playing some good football with HSBC maybe shading it….just. The second quarter was when the opposition stepped up a gear, getting a head to every goal kick that Chris took making the defence work to clean up constantly. 10 minutes before the break was when we found ourselves go behind, albeit controversially, Manny (of all people and who has been in every single HSBC team that I have come up against during my time with Merton) managed to beat the offside trap according to the ref and side foot the ball past Chris to his bottom left. 1 – 0 to the visitors at the break.

A few changes were made for the start of the second period. The defence stayed the same however Dulanie and Dan Plaistow pushed up to support Dom up top as he was getting no support. The formation change seemed to work with some good possession however the end product seemed to let us down. We did manage to equalise fifteen minutes after the restart through and own goal. Dulanie chased what seemed to be a dead ball however he managed to keep it in a deliver a ball into the box. With Dom waiting in anticipation, the only thing that the HSBC defender could do was head it into the back of his own net.

The game progressed steadily with a few penalty shouts not going the way they should have. With our midfield and attacking three failing to track back and support when the visitors were on the offensive, it was left down to the defence to try and keep them at bay. It was only a matter of time however before HSBC did managed to find what was eventually the winner. Manny, unchallenged, managed to find the smallest gap between the defence to fire into the bottom left again.

Apart from a disallowed goal after Manny had kicked the ball out of Chris’s hands (he swore blind that he didn’t) there was nothing exciting to mention with the game finishing 2 – 1 to the visitors to condemn us to are third defeat in four games and still looking for our first win.

Next week we travel to East Molesey to face Old Tiffinians in the First Round of the AFA Cup. Let hope our cup run is better than out league run or current!

FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 1 – 2 HBSC 5s SCORER: Own Goal MOTM: Jake Hewitt

STARTING LINE-UP: Chris Outred (GK), John Gridley, Glen Porter, Joe Plumridge (Ryan Burchell), Edward Plaistow, Chris Dodd, Dan Plaistow, Dan Gridley, Michael Elgar (Jake Hewitt), Dulanie Richards , Dom Plumridge.

Posted in Match Reports 4s