The first game of the 2015/16 season saw a new look 4th XI travel to Chiswick with Polytechnic 5s the hosts. Following last week’s performance, consistency in availability was vital. The only changes were John Gridley, Chris Dodd and Dan Plaistow coming in to replace Glen Porter (work), Ricardo Iglesias (3s) and Kevin Medina (5s).

With most players jumping up two leagues from last season, we knew that we were going to have a difficult time out on the field but we were buoyed by the great performance that everybody gave last week. If we managed to start how we left of last week then the hosts were in for a tough day.

We were on the back foot from the start, some sloppy passing along with players not tracking their runners allowed Poly to dominate possession. They had pace on each flank which they used to their advantage, with the majority of the time causing our full backs (one of them being me!) problems all game. We managed to keep them until ten minutes before the break. A corner from the left wasn’t cleared properly and following some pinball in the box the ball was blasted into the roof of the net. 1- 0 to the home side going into the break.

The team talk during the five minute break was one of many works with everyone chipping in with improvements that needed to be made. Changes were made; Aaron came back on to replace Chris Dodd and Arnold replaced Ryan. These changing didn’t really change much, neither did the team talk!

A sloppy free-kick was given away on the left ten minutes into the second period. More concerned about ensuring a tight line is kept, I allowed their number eleven an easy header that Sam could do nothing about. 2 – 0. We were being dominated at the point when the second goal was conceded and this allowed Poly to add to their tally. Sam did well to parry a shot following a break down the left only for their number 11 to bag his second by smashing the rebound into the bottom left. 3 – 0.

With just under thirty minutes left to go at the moment the third goal went in, we knew that there was still enough time to get back in the game. It was going to be tough but there was still a chance. With each and every one of us encouraging each other we were able to get into the game and dominate for fifteen minutes or so. During this time we reduced the deficit. Great hustling by Dan Plaistow on the right allowed Dom possession to free the ball to Dulanie on the left. A ground pass found Arnold, who under pressure, found the back of the net. A great team goal and I would say the best of the game. Not that I am biased!

We were putting more and more pressure on the opposition and pushing players up at every opportunity that we had. This backfired as they caught us on the counter to add another to their tally. 4-1 is how it finished.

Even though the score line doesn’t suggest it, Sam put in a Man of the Match performance between the sticks. Great distribution and playing the sweeper keeper role in a way that even Manuel Neuer would be proud of.

Obviously there are a number of things that we need to improve on however many positives to take from the second half performance. Next week we host Weirside Ranger at Joseph Hood where hopefully the end result is three points that will kick-start are season.

FINAL SCORE: Polytechnic 5s 4 – 1 Merton 4s SCORER: Arnold Collier MOTM: Sam Singer-Ripley

STARTING LINE-UP: Samuel Singer-Ripley (GK), John Gridley, Chris Outred, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow, Ryan Burchell (Arnold Collier), Aaron Ackerman (Chris Dodd), Dan Gridley, Dulanie Richards, Dom Plumridge, Dan Plaistow.

Posted in Match Reports 4s