It was a cold day and wet day for most of the UK on match day.  With most of the other games off in the surrounding area, a small ray of light in the Ham/Richmond area enabled the mighty Merton 6’s game against Old Blues 4 to be given the go ahead.

It was a freezing day and with most of the team nursing their usual hangovers, things were not looking good.

Once again a lack of communication between the Merton 6’s prior to the game meant that Harry thought we were at a Regatta, not a football match and decided to meet at the local boat club.  Spence was sent on his way to find him, even though we played at the same ground the week before!  With Beans (Adam Prior) also missing in action we were still waiting for the Old Blues to turn up at the other car park.  A trip back down the road to the clubhouse sorted it all out and once the team was all changed, we all piled in various vehicles and made our way to the ground.

Once at the ground, it was a hop over a barbed wire fence to be greeted with Spence and Rob providing the 5 minute quick stretch and warm up routine and we were ready to start.

Steve gave a rip roaring team talk and told the team not to take them lightly, as it looked like they had changed a few faces from our victory the week prior.  Steve kept faith with his trusted 3-5-2 formation, which we all know meant a 5-3-2 with the occasional holding midfielder dropping in to make a back 6!

Starting line as follows: Merton’s number 1, Martin in goal, back 3 of Spence, Gaffer and Smithy (c) with the two pacey wing backs of Harry and Baz.  Midfield was new player Ram (who is settling in nicely and giving numerous players top bants), and the Neville brothers (will let you all decide which one is who), up top was Rob and Nuno.  Impact subs were Ryan and our new and improved striker Jonny O.

So now to the game, it was the usual start to such an important game with both teams trying to work the other out with the odd bad touch and misplaced pass thrown in for good measure.  Then roughly 15 minutes into the game a small miracle occurred.

Smithy went up for a corner, as he normally does and with the same result as normal, got nowhere near a header.  The ball was then played back into the box and with utter confusion as to why there was still a centre half in the centre forward position, the Old Blues defence had a total mix up, Smithy then threw an almighty dummy with tits going one way and stomach the other, to throw the other defenders off their game, the bouncing ball landed at his feet and then with composure slotted the ball right in the far bottom corner and the miracle was complete – first goal for Merton and first competitive goal in 16 years!!

Unfortunately the rest of the half we were camped in a little bit and was restricted by the Old Blues in playing our normal free flowing game.  Shortly after the half hour mark the Old Blues deservedly equalised with a classic game of scramble football in our box and after a clearance off the line the ball came back in, hit the post and came back to Martin who couldn’t quite hold onto the ball and rebounded off him in the net.

Shortly after the unthinkable happened and the Old Blues scored again with such an unfortunate goal! It was an attempted clearance from Ram which jointly struck the foot of their attacker on the edge of our area and looped agonisingly over the head of Martin, which in fairness most keepers would have struggled to save.   Was Smithy’s goal going to be in vain!

Shortly before half time we had a goal disallowed, whereby Rob’s goal bound freekick was headed in by Frasier in an offside position.  Rob was furious as he thought it was going in and we never heard the end of it!!

The half time whistle blew and Merton left the field knowing there was still plenty to give as the we were poor in the first half, but still in the game.

Steve, Rob, Spence and Smithy all had there say at half time and with the team under new instructions, we set about repairing the damage.  A change at half time meant new boy Ram was off and Ryan was on up front, with Frasier moving back to midfield.

With the wind on our backs we started the second half and began to take control early on with a number of free kicks in dangerous positions which caused panic in the Old Blues box.

Then a moment of magic from another centre half!

With a tactical foul given away by Old Blues from a fully 37 yards out, they thought there was no danger, how wrong were they.  Up stepped Spence who hit a floaty lofted free kick into the top corner which the keeper got nowhere near!!  2-2! Sending the crowd of 4 Merton supporters (Beans, Ram, Jonny O and the gaffers favourite son!) into wild celebrations!!

From then on we were totally dominate, with every challenge won and pushing forward at will.

With roughly 25 mins to go the Mighty Merton pushed for the winner and a corner was awarded.  In it came but evaded everyone, expect the gaffer who was alert and headed the ball back in a dangerous position, then from nowhere (I think it was dive!) Nuno acrobatically diverted the ball into the net. 2-3 to Merton, it was unbelievable Geoff!!!!

Could it get any better, you bet it can!  An attempted counter attack by Old Blues was intercepted by Smithy, who brought the ball forward eating up the yards (quite literally!) and played a lovely pass into Matty Neville who turned and smashed it from a fully 30 plus yards over the keepers weak hands into the net.  This was truly different gravy from Merton, who for the first time in a while had the comfort of a two goal lead.

Matt’s reward for a superb goal, was to be subbed for the last 10 mins and Old Blues nemesis Jonny O came on and gave them the usual problems up front.

There was still time to absorb some late pressure from Old Blues with Smithy heading one off the line, some desperate tackles put in by Rob and Spense and a superb one on one save by “OH S*IT” Martin.  But we held on!

Final score 2-4 to Merton!!

After the game a good post beer was had by everyone which included new boy Ram getting right involved with the banter and Smithy failing to live up to a team hand shandy promise if we won!

Now for man of the match!!

I can honestly say no one had a bad game, but here a few stand outs:

Spence – always putting in a tackle and scored a great goal.

Frasier – running around like a headless chicken and caused problems for the Old Blues all game. His energy is what the team has missed this season.

Harry – enjoying his new wing back position and managed to spend more time on his feet than his arse.  Not his greatest game but deserves a mention for a consistent season!

And now for MVP – SMITHY!! (plus im writing it!!). Probably his best game in a Merton shirt! Was solid in weight as he was in defence.  Scored probably goal of the game and provided a vital assist to finish the game off!  Also clearance off the line!!  What a truly momentous performance!

Next week – our biggest game of the season against Old Finchlians in the cup!

Written by SMITHY!

Posted in Match Reports 6s