5s vs Ibis Eagles – 17.09.16
Despite the torrential storms that hit the UK on Friday, we arrived in Chiswick with the pitches in good
nick, playing to our Barcelona-esque style. We did, however, arrive in dribs and drabs due to serious
traffic around the Mortlake area – rumour had it that a still-drunk Big Chris was still partying in the
middle of the road from Thursday night, such was his level of rowdy drunkenness. Not an ideal start.
As the clock hit 7pm, the ref arrived and the game was on. Both teams took a while to get going, feeling
like a start of the season clash. It would be Merton, however, who would who would hit first. The ball was played through by Dwayne, agonisingly close to the defender but yet just out of reach. Knowing the race was lost, the defender went tumbling in a manner that Ashley Young would be proud of – dramatic, and screaming as if he’d have joined Clive in his regular “shower fun times” sessions. With Dulanjie just to beat the keeper, he calmly slotted home to put the 5s one-nil up. Cue the probing from Ibis Eagles. They began attacking with some purpose, putting the ball in the box at every opportunity. Luckily, the rear-guard action of Darren & Lenners, men who are used to their fair share of probing, dealt with it stupendously. It was, in fact, the 5s who had the best chance to make it 2, with Dulanjie one-on-one again. Perhaps too confident second time wide, he scuffed his effort which tamely rolled into the keeper’s arms. Not too long after, a cruel deflection was to undo our good work. They sent a corner in, which was again very well defended. The ball broke to the edge of the box, where one unfortunate [but very good looking] fellow toe-punted it straight to the opposing player outside the box. He took a touch, and let fly with an effort that deflected cruelly off Lenners for a goal that their pressure arguably merited. Lenners OG, 1-1 at half-time.
We knew that the game was there for the taking in the second half. After another cagey start from both teams, the 5s were to spring ahead again, with a second halfsubstitute instrumental in the build-up. Aaron Ackerman picked up the ball from our own half, playing it through towards the left. Dulanjie managed to latch on to it just before it went out of play, and drove inwards. Too fast for their defense, Dulanjie found himself in front of goal, only at a very tight angle. A keen eye for tight gaps, Dulanjie managed to squeeze it between the keeper and the near post to make it 2-1. They piled on the pressure in order to find an equaliser, however we defended resolutely all over the pitch, resulting in them not creating a clear cut chance in the last 30 minutes of the game. It was only down to Richard thoughtfully deciding that 2 was enough that we did not win by more; maybe less Gareth Bale, more Gareth Gates on this occasion. He’ll gladly save them for when we need them, and we played out the 2-1 victory to put ourselves within 4 points of equalling our points total from last season.
Those who bemoan young people for not voting may have a point, as only 3 nominations were received. Such was the difficult task of picking a man of the match, it resulted in a three-way split. Dulanjie wins one for his two goals, Aaron Byrne for his impressive balance between first-half offense and second-half strong defensive work that saw us see out a victory, and Darren Avey for being an immovable object, winning everything in the air despite their bombardment. Many more people are worthy of a mention; Delman and Josh ensured nothing came down the wings, Dwayne and Aaron got good assists, Miguel impressed with his composure in the middle when coming on and Sam in goal managed to deal well with all that came his way comfortably. This was a very strong team performance, on to next week!