5s vs Actonians 8s – 09.12.17
Actonians Association 8’s vs Merton FC 5’s
Saturday 9th December 2017 14:00
It was a cold Saturday morning and having seen all home games being called off early we thought there may be a danger of our game being called off as well. The sun obviously shines a bit more in west London as the pitch had thawed out, game on.
Once changed, we were treated to an additional warm-up. The 5 minute walk to the pitch. Not that this seemed to have warmed our players up as half of them went to the café for a hot chocolate and brownie. Not the sort of warm up Dwayne was hoping for the team. Josh needing an extra bit of warmth played the first 20 minutes with his hoodie under his shirt. Aaron Byrne tried to get an extra pair of socks on but his hands were too cold to pull them up. Even the boy from the Valleys, Richard Gibbs was wearing gloves.
After everyone was unsuitably dressed with more layers than the Michelin-Man and the ref finally arriving at 14:05, obviously not realising that we wouldn’t be on the main pitches, we kick off.
Actonians started confidently, which we thought they would do seeing as they are near the top of the table, we manage to contain them by winning the first ball, but we were failing to pick up the second ball. We weathered the storm well with Lee commanding the area to collect anything that came through.
About halfway through the first half we start to create a few more chances and we earn a corner. Josh took the corner from our right hand side swinging it in to the near post. Darren making a good run from the back stick arrives unmarked for a free header to go over narrowly the bar. Opportunity missed.
Not much later Actonians attack down our left hand side and put in a great cross to the back stick, Stormzy wasn’t close enough to the winger who heads the ball into the net.
We do a time check as Lee mentions he needs a bathroom break, there’s still 10 minutes to half time. Then about 3 minutes later the whistle goes, halt time. We can then hear cries from the opposition, shouting that this half was only 38 minutes long.
Halftime team talk went as well as can be expected. Lee dashed off to the toilet, and we knew what we were doing wrong. This game is not over. Two changes made with Jamie Clark coming on for Aaron Ackerman and Ricardo Iglesias replacing Stormzy at right back.
We started reasonably well but didn’t manage to create anything concrete in the final third and the long ball was being goggled up by the Actonians defence. We concede a corner which was well defended and Dwayne was in possession at our left hand post, trying to get it on his stronger foot to clear, his clearance went across the box and landed to an Actonians player on the edge of the box, he had time to bring it down and loft it into the goal for 2-0.
We still had plenty of time, assuming the second half is longer than the first half. Actonians keep up the pressure and attack well forcing Lee out to make a great save, the ball breaks to another Actonians player on the edge of the box, just like 5 minutes ago, but fortunately Chris clears this off the line.
We get control of the ball in the middle of the park and it is slipped through to goal machine Aaron Byrne who drives into the box and is taken down, penalty. Aaron steps up and puts it past the keeper, 2-1, game on with 20 minutes to go.
We finally manage to get the ball down and play our kind of passing football creating a great chance where Jamie Clark hits a powerful long range shot from distance, but it hits Aaron Byrne, who was offside. Not much time left and again the second half was cut short at this time about 40 minutes.
Not the best day out for Merton 5’s, however it could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for a great performance from Lee in goal
MOTM: Lee Lenihan – Was outstanding in goal, no fear and channelled the inner-spirit of the Monk.
DOTD: Dwayne Bedford – Dodgy clearance leading to Actonians’ second goal.