6s vs Civil Service 9s – 17.10.15
Match Report – 1710/2015 vs CIVIL SERVICE 9 AWAY
Another away day for the Mighty Merton Sixes and this time it was across the river to Chiswick to play Civil Service 9.
The squad were nearly 3 members light due to the hair raising journey made by Smithy, as he was put off from the smell of the local brewery, and nearly took out 4 vehicles in the process!
With half of the squad arriving early and the other half lost, it was not the most promising start prior to kick off.
Once the team was changed, it was down to the now infamous 5 minute quick stretch and warm up routine, this time led by Ram.
Starting line-up was as follows: Merton’s new number 1, Dharmesh in goal, new centre half pairing of Smithy (Gaffer) and Chappell, full backs of George and Quinlan. Holding midfielder was John with Matty at the top of the diamond. Ram and Paul were on the wings with Kyle and sixes debutant Richard up top. Impact subs were new lad Ricky and ex-civil service player Pete.
Smithy gave the team talk and outlined the well thought out pre-match plans to the troops and off we went.
So now to the game, as per usual, the pre-match team talk was nearly out of the window, as within 30 seconds Civil Service found themselves through on goal as Merton panicked at the back. It was Dharmesh to the rescue with a great save!
Now this normally never happens to Merton, as once a team smells blood against a shaky Merton 6’s defence they normally punish any mistake with a quick fire two or three goals, however, from the panic above a clearance from the back and a further great ball forward which held up beautifully in the wind enabled Richard to round the sluggish Civil Service goalkeeper and put the ball in the net, 1-0 to Merton after a minute!!!
With this feeling new to most players it enabled the mighty Merton to relax and settle in the game. Unfortunately after 5 minutes, Paul suffered an injury and was replaced by Ricky. As the half progressed Merton defended extremely well, without creating too much going forward, everyone knew their role from the forwards holding up the ball and the defence clearing their lines.
Merton successfully made it to half time with the lead still in tact and feeling buoyed by a good first half display, the troops were watered and given a breather whilst much of the same was requested.
The second half started a more even affair with Merton looking more comfortable on the ball and finding their range with some good passes. With the forwards being rotated at regular intervals to ensure fresh legs, Merton was looking dangerous on the counter attack, whilst Civil Service pushed for the equaliser.
After approx 60 minutes, Merton broke down the right with a good ball from George to Richard, who then got to the touchline and whipped a cross in for Matt to nod in at the back stick. 2-0 to Mighty Merton and the home crowd of 4 showed their discontent with a few boos, whilst Merton celebrated!
For the next 10 – 15 minutes, I can only describe witnessing the most disciplined of Merton defensive displays of years gone by. John was a beast in centre midfield, winning a number of tackles and breaking up play and with Smithy heading the ball approx 7 times in 30 seconds to clear the lines from corners and throw ins! Quinlan and George put in numerous tackles to stop crosses and Chappell organised the back line superbly with Dharmesh off his line to sweep up over hit through balls.
With the minutes ticking by, Civil Service pulled a goal back through their best player as the number 10 hit a looping shot just out of reach from Dharmesh – 2-1 Merton led. This is where the experience of last week came to the fore, as Merton sixes in the past would have folded with heads down and expecting the opposition to equalise, however the new Merton sixes kept their heads up and kept on going!
With the opposition now pushing for the equaliser and looking tired, Merton started to create some great openings on the break with players picking the right ball to release Matty and the strikers. After Merton were awarded a corner, Matt swung a peach of a ball in and Richard rose like a salmon and headed the ball past the goalie, 3-1 to Merton and we sensed a victory.
With around 10 minutes left the Mighty Merton were now doing to Civil Service which teams have done to us in pre-season, which was picking them off at will! Even Martin decided to goal on a rampaging run (without the ball) sensing there was a goal in him from left back. The look on Ram’s face as Martin sprinted past him was priceless and fall out that followed from Chappell, who told him to use his vast experience to see the game out was even funnier!
Another break led to a 4 on 1 counter attack for Merton and with Pete playing in Kyle he calmly dummied the defender twice and placed the ball in the opposite corner to the goalie for 4-1 to Merton, unbelievable Geoff and the game was surely won!
There was even time for another, as a great ball from Matty at a corner found the head of Smithy and the keeper made a good save, only for Pete to score the rebound against his old club – the icing on the cake and it was 5-1 to Merton on the road!
Full time blew and the final score was 1-5 to Merton, yes 1-5 to Merton sixes! It was nice to see the fitness starting to improve and team starting gel!
After the game a good post beer was had by everyone, with all happy to finally experience that winning feeling! The sausage and chips went down a treat with Smithy, who even held back some spare raffle tickets to get more, but with the words from Clappers ringing in his ears from during the week, he decided to leave some food for the new players!
Man of the Match:
Special mention to the ref, who I thought was probably the best we have had at this level, as he was joining in the banter and made it clear why he had awarded free kicks by speaking to the players.
Every Merton player had a great game, with the back five and Ram deserving great credit for the solid defensive display.
Matt had a great game with two assists and a goal, with Ricky impressing on debut!
The strikers were superb with all three on the score sheet and with Richard grabbing a brace on debut!
This week, though I am going to give it to John. He left everything on the pitch and broke up play with some great tackles – the beast deserved this!
Next week, back to the hood for a cup game, let’s hope we can keep up this winning run!
Written by SMITHY