5s vs Actonians – 16.09.17
Merton FC 3 Actonians 4
The game started off as bad as it possibly could. Right from the kick-off they scored. It wasn’t long after that after a good string of passing and possession and clawing back into the game that they struck again. This time, it was through a contentious penalty decision that the ref gave based on ‘how guilty we looked’. If decisions were made this way we should simply smile and laugh when players go down in the box – food for thought for the next time we have this ref. Despite Sam’s best efforts, their striker put it away at the bottom left corner of the goal. It was about to get worse. Again, after clawing back and picking ourselves up they struck again. This time it was from a through ball from lost possession in the midfield. And then another right after that that is too painful to recall. We were on the ropes and half-time couldn’t have come sooner. The boys were distraught. There was so much hope and chat before the game about how well we can play and how we should come out firing but the exact opposite happened. We gave the ball away far too often and they were clinical in putting their chances away – plain and simple.
The half-time talk wasn’t bleak, it was one of uplift. We’re a better team than this, we’re better individually and there is a huge belief in each other and how well we can play if we just do the hard work, run for each other, stay calm and believe in ourselves. Games like this will happen but what happened next far outweighed what I thought was possible. Everyone was fired up and we came out swinging. Lenners moves into CB and Josh moved from LB to CM. Lenners barking precise orders at us gave us stability and direction whilst Josh gave us some much needed confidence in the middle of the park. One, two, three passes were strung together and switches of play ensured to an unmarked Dwayne ‘Forrest’ Bedford out on the right wing. Something he had been screaming for the whole game. We gained more confidence. More possession gave us more confidence as the wingers stayed wide and the midfield stayed compact. We finally managed our breakthrough goal from a great through ball from A-aron to Gibbo who finished with extreme patience and composure. Then our second arrived. It appeared scrappy, but a miracle ball from Dwayne found Gibbo in the the 6-yard box who showed his composure once again to bring the ball down and pass it to A-aron who finished and brought a huge roar from the capacity crowd (Bambi, Chris, Butters and Tiago). The third was a replica of the second. A beautiful ball from A-aron unleashed an unstoppable Gibbo. What the team felt then was pride. We came back from 4-0 down to going close to pinching a draw when the game seemed destined for a cricket score. There’s only one message this result sends to our team and it’s we’ll never give up.
MOTM: Aaron ‘my haircut will be right one day I swear’ Byrne. Every time he touched the ball and ran at the opposition it gave the team a renewed sense of confidence. His assists and goals were perfect but it was his drive and confidence that gave us the lift we needed. Special mentions: Lenners. Amazing performance as a CB nearly MOTM worthy that helped resurrect us from the brink of a drubbing to a proud performance. Delman or Duracell. He just keeps running. I think I counted twice when he sprinted back to thwart their attack singlehandedly and one (or two!) off the line clearances. Great performances by these two.