4s vs West Wickham 6s – 17.11.2018
Merton 4s vs. West Wickham 6s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 17th November 2018
Following a break from league action last weekend, this weekend we welcomed West Wickham to Joseph Hood.
With the 5s having defeated them earlier in the season (albeit against 10 men) and us having defeated the 5s already this season, on paper this should have been a routine three points, everyone knows however that football doesn’t work in that way…
With KO delayed by 5 minutes due to the opposing keeper running late, it gave us that little extra time to discuss the best formation possible. We opted to line up in a 4-4-2 formation with Kieran in goal, from right to left the defence was made up Ed Plaistow, John Gridley, Joe Plumridge and Thomas Murphy, the midfield from right to left was Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich and Lewis Riches. The driving force up top consisted of Nick Englefield and Denys Zhurbiy.
It was West Wickham that started the game on the front foot, passing the ball around with confidence and finding gaps that seemed to open up our midfield. This confidence on the ball resulted in the first goal of the game. How it came about was a blur….
So was the second!!!!
Shortly after conceding, a change was forced upon us. Dan Kelly came on to replace Joe Plumridge. This meant that with no other option, Denys slotted into the heart of the defence alongside John. Dan Kelly partnered Nick up top.
If we were to get something out of the game, we knew that we had to pull our fingers out, work as a team and graft.
10 minutes before the break we managed to get ourselves bank in the game when Nick rifled in a right footed shot into the top corner. Nothing the jeep could do about it. I don’t know what was more remarkable, the technique to finish how he did or the fact that he managed to get through 90 minutes without getting injured!
Having reduced the deficit to the single goal, we were forced into another change before the break with Roman suffering an injury. Andrew Stears came on in his place.
Due the second half and it seemed like it was a different Merton team that took to the field. West Wickham we’re starting to tire early on which allowed us to take advantage. Although chances were created, composure in front of goal let us down. A prime example was when Dan Kelly blazed over the bar following a peach of a ball from Andrew Minkevich. It was harder to miss than score! That miss awarded him with the Dick of the Day award.
Since being introduced into the 4s setup, Andrew Stears has adapted to the competitive nature of the league and stood out on more than one occasion. This was the case again as he was calm and composed on the ball at all time and picking the right pass 99% of the time. And it was The same person that contributed to our equaliser. His ball from the left was squared to Lewis Riches, who was in acres of space down the right. With pace to burn, he beat of challenger and delivered a low ball into the box. Attempting to put it out for a corner, the opposing defender didn’t get enough on it and unfortunately for him it nestled in the bottom corner.
A difficult game but I think a far result. That is now our 4th draw of the season so we need to think about what can be done to turn the draws into wins.
Next week we host Actonians Association which is when we hope that 3 points, rather than 1 (or none) are award in favour of Merton.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 2 – 2 West Wickham 6s
SCORER(S): Nick Englefield, OG
MOTM: Andrew Stears
DOTD: Dan Kelly
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge (Dan Kelly), Thomas Murphy, Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivitskiy (Andrew Stears), Andrew Minkevich, Lewis Riches, Nick Englefield, Denys Zhurbiy