Merton 0-3 Old Wilsonians
After a heartening performance against Carshalton the week before, the Merton 4s had every reason to feel positive going into this relegation 6 pointer at Old Wilsonians. Despite the dire weather predictions, the game went ahead under sunny skies.
There were a couple of absentees, with Mike pulling out due to a ‘back’ problem, while Kieran Lee’s non arrival was almost half expected, given his birthday celebrations the night before. But all in all, a pretty strong squad took to the field, and they began the game well, despite being into the sun and up the slope. Aaron, as ever, was very incisive on the wing, while Will Harrison did what he does best in midfield – the ideal screen for any defence.
Unfortunately, the breakthrough came at the other end, and somewhat against the run of play. Merton might have done better to clear their lines, which allowed the Wilsonians left winger time and space. He got in behind the defence, and ended up one on one with stand-in keeper Chris Outred. His finish was clinical, and with that, the hosts led 1-0.
It knocked the wind out of Merton’s sails, and they were fairly poor the next 15 minutes. Wilsonians’ second was deserved, albeit a worldie from 30 yards out.
At 2-0 down, Merton came back into the contest though, with the wings bearing fruit. The flashpoint came a few minutes later, as Frankie was played in. He took the ball well, beating one defender in the box, before being savagely smashed in the face. It was a blatant penalty and a red, but that was almost beside the point. Frankie was writhing in agony, and somehow the ref waved play on! Wilsonians nearly scored at the other end before sanity eventually prevailed and play was halted.
Frankie gingerly made his way off the pitch, and in some pain too. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.
It was all Merton at this point, but with five minutes to go until half time, another worldie from outside the box made it 3-0. Chris had no chance, as their little forward turned into space and shot in a flash from 25 yards. Incredible goal, but at 3-0 down, it was now a long way back.
Credit to Merton, they put in an excellent second half display, pretty much in keeping with the performance against Carshalton. But, like the week before, the Yellows were guilty of flagrance in front of goal, and they spurned a number of golden opportunities to haul themselves back into the game.
They gave as good as they got right to the end, but were unable to get on the scoresheet. A real shame, and the final result all but condemns them to a second relegation in succession. But this is a team starting to play some good football, and there is now a great opportunity for them to string some results together and build the confidence that’s just lacking a bit. This team will be back, you can bet your bottom dollar on that.
MOTM: Aaron Loftus
Team: Chris Outred (GK), Ed Plaistow, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge, John Gridley, Will Harrison, Michael Vogt, Frankie Kaligorou, Sonny Kennedy, Aaron Loftus, Dom Plumridge
Subs: Mikey Elgar, Lee Lenihan