6s vs Merton 5s – 30.09.17
Merton 5th XI 1-4 Merton 6th XI
Scorers : Nick Englefield 2, Tony Caplin and OG
Team: Swanny, Chris, Mark, Grant, Andy, George, Ty, Matt, Callum, Tony, Nick Subs: Reece, Pete, Trey
MOM: Tony Caplin
DOD: Ty ‘some things are more important that Merton’ Fullar
The 6s made history by becoming the first Merton side to beat a higher Merton side in a competitive match, but it could easily have gone differently and scoreline does not reflect the match.
These games are rarely fun to play because its not easy to play your natural game and your opponents know you as well as you do! The 5s knew our strengths (and our weaknesses) and opted for a surprising 3/5/2 formation to counteract the kids and to ideally give their pace up to the best chance. They started faster than us for sure and got into their game plan well – big balls up to the Strikers and fast runs off the loose balls – however it was a gift from the 6s that gave them the lead. Grant “I always wanted to be Cryuff” tried to evade the advancing Gibbo who picked his pocket and rifled his shot passed the waved hand of Swanny. 1-0 and they deserved it.
This did wake up the 6s and we began to get into the game more and more. We were getting into dangerous spaces but the final balls were letting us down and good defending kept us at bay. But what we were doing well was hunting the loose balls and hassling the 5s in possession and it was this that caused the confusion in the 5s defence that gifted us the equaliser – a misplaced long free kick was headed into an empty net by the unfortunate Clive, Sam having clearly called for it. It was a gift but nothing we didn’t deserve.
This settled the 6s down and we had an element on control in the game, but it was far from comfortable. Dulanie and Aaron kept causing problems to the defence with their pace, and Gibbo strength was getting him plenty of joy. At the other end we had a few half chances, but nothing clean until a great move between George and Callum led to a perfect cross by George but Nick couldn’t convert at the far post. A let off for the 6s, but this didn’t dampen our spirits – we are getting used to Nick missing a few.
The 6s got the lead again from good work in winning back the loose ball after a corner and Callum found Tony on the edge of he box, he got free of his defender and smashed the ball into the net – SOME might say it was an OG off the defender off the cross bar – But Tony threatened to sulk and get all moody and we have enough of that from Kev and Ty usually so we let him off just this once.
Then the 5 minutes that ultimately changed the game .. The 5s broke well and despite the 6s having chances to clear the ball broke to Ackers who put over a peach of a cross but Dulanie (almost in a repeat of Nick’s chance earlier) couldn’t convert. At 2-2 the game would have been in the balance, but soon after a long free kick my Chappell was picked up by Nick who turned his defender and went through to finish well beyond Sam. 3-1 rather than 2-2 at half time made a huge difference to the two team talks and certainly put pressure on the 5s for the second half.
In all honestly the 2nd half lacked the end to end openness of the 1st. The 6s had an element of control in the game and a couple of crucial injuries to the 5s had left them unbalanced and the game did get a bit scrappy at times. The 6s had a few chances to finish it but didn’t take them, and bar a few long range efforts for the 5s Swanny was only Troubled by Grant, who was really trying to win DOD by scoring an OG but the Cat had it covered.
With time running out Nick scored from close range after some good work from Midfield (Sorry I don’t remember by whom!). A bad injury to Clive did put a dampener on the day and we wish him well, and hope he will get back for the return fixture which I’m sure we be as hard fought and close as this one.
MOM was a three way tie until the last vote – George was a constant threat all day – I was humbled to get the same number of votes for marshaling the defence -but Tony wins it again for an all round display both with and without the ball AND his Goal (or assist – whichever you want)
DOD was easy as Ty thought it a good idea to leave the game early to go and collect his GF from the airport. Has she not heard of coffee shops?!