Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 6s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 8th September 2018

The first game of the 2018/19 season say Merton 4s host Polytechnic 6s.

With squads yet to be settled following an exodus 4th team regulars from last season, there were more new faces than old with only myself, Kieran Lee, John Gridley and Dom Plumridge surviving.

The first half was one of few chances for Merton however for the visitors, they hit the bar and had a ball cleared off the line courtesy of Matt Nightingale. For an individual of his stature, it was probably the best goal line clearance I have witness during my 14 years at Merton. 0 – 0 at the break.

Where the first half was a period that was easy to forget, the second was one full of action.

Following a push in the back, Polytechnic were awarded a free-kick from about 25 yards out. From the resulting set piece we found ourselves a goal down when a composed header found the back of the net. 1-0.

1-0 soon became 2-0 when a spot kick was harshly awarded. John Gridley unable to move his arm out of the way in time when the ball was ‘pelted’ at him from 2 yards all. Regardless of the appeals, the penalty stood and was converted into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

For a team that had not played together before, not even in pre-season, everyone was grafting and working for each other. This was evident when Dom managed to pull a goal back. Merton were back in the game!

This however was short lived! Less than 5 minutes from the restart, the visitors managed to restore their 2-goal advantage through a goal reminiscent the Luke Shaw/Marcus Rashford linkup against Spain a few hours later.

Disappointment was showing having worked so hard to get back into the game however we continued to press and was creating chances. Finally, one of these paid off. Denys delivered a delicate ball into the box which Dom again managed to latch onto to reduce the deficit once again. 

With less than 5 minutes to go, it was gung-ho. With every offensive opportunity we committed men forward, never giving up.

Our resilience was rewarded. A free-kick was award to Merton just inside the oppositions half. With Andy Bitmead on the ball and Kieran Lee in the mix, Andy’s delivery was cleared however only as far as John Gridley on the edge of box. His ball back in could only be parried by the keeper which allowed Jonas Cabrera to unleash a right footed volley (might have been half-volley!) into an empty net. Jubilations!

This was a draw which felt more like a win! Each and every player gave it their all and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

We keep up this hunger, who know what we could achieve this season.

Next week would have seen us travel to Chiswick to face off against IBIS Eagles however this match has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 3 Polytechnic 6s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Jonas Cabrera
Chris Outred – A solid performance having been called up from the 5s.

DOTD: Kieran Lee – A sliced clearance that could have been VERY embarrassing had he not recovered.

STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Chris Outred, Jonas Cabrera, Callum Fisher, Matt Nightingale (Mohamed Chouikhi, Denys Zhurbiy, Roman Bilivitskiy, Andy Bitmead, Dom Plumridge 

Posted in Match Reports 4s