4s vs Weirside Rangers 3s – 19.09.15
The second game of our 2015/16 league campaign saw the visit of Weirside Rangers. A team that personally I had not face in the ten years that I had been at Merton. Having been thumped by five goals to nothing last week, we knew that Weirside would be trying their utmost to get their first three points of the campaign. With the defeat we suffered at the hands of Polytechnic last week, the three points were vital to us also.
Unfortunately we were missing the presence of Dan Gridley in the middle of the park due to work commitments and our Captain Chris Outred after he was called up to assist the 2s in Acton. We welcomed Michael Elgar into the squad along with Steve Burchell as a defensive back-up. Arnolds impressive display last week earnt him a start meaning Dulanie re-joined Dom up top.
It was a slow start to the game by both sides; most passes were misplaced and attempted through balls intercepted every time. It wasn’t until 20 minutes in that we managed to work our way through the visitors defence and break then down. Dom, showing great skill and determination, managed to beat three defences on the left of the penalty area and roll a ball to Dulanie who then beat the keep with a composed side footed finish. We didn’t manage to hold onto the lead for long with Weirside managing to equalise through a header.
A good period of play, where we managed to play the same football that we did against Old Salesians during pre-season, resulted in us going into the break one goal to the good thanks to a solo effort from Dom.
A good first half was followed by a pretty poor one. The opposition started brighter than we did using the speed of their wingers successfully on each flank. This resulted in second equaliser that was probably deserved. After conceding the second, we tightened things up at the back and let Dom and Dulanie do what they do best. With the way that we were playing it was clear that we could score again and that is exactly what happened when Dom unleashed a 25 yard left footed shot into the roof of the net. We were now deservedly leading 3 – 2 with 15 minutes to go. A number of injuries meant that we had to switch people around slightly. The last thing you want to do is change your back four when leading however we had no other option with Steve Burchell coming on to replace Joe at the back with the former moving into the middle of the park.
Weirside kept pilling the pressure on but found it hard to break through. The changes did not seem to be having an effect on the performance. With five minute to goal Weirside were awarded a corner. Unable to track my man in time, more concerned with organising who was marking who, the ball was floated to the back post to be met by a bullet header in the roof of the net. 3 – 3 is how is finished. A result we felt should have been bettered.
One of the main things that came out of the game is the need to organise set pieces earlier. Had we done so in this game then we would have walked away will all three points. Next week we travel to Old Actonians looking to improve on our slow start. If we keep the consistency flowing then it is only a matter of time before results start improving.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 2 Weirside Rangers 5s SCORER: Dom Plumridge (2), Dulanie Richards MOTM: Arnold Collier
STARTING LINE-UP: Samuel Singer-Ripley (GK), John Gridley, Glen Porter, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow, Ryan Burchell, Aaron Ackerman, Michael Elgar, Arnold Collier, Dulanie Richards (Dan Plaistow), Dom Plumridge (Steve Burchell).