…along with “do we have a keeper?” was the build-up to this game.
Once we established who was playing and that Kevin ‘The Cat’ Locke was going to cover the goal for the first 45 mins, we made the journey across South London to the quaint area of Hayes Hill, well compared to Wembley anywhere else is ‘quaint’!! Even travelling to Old Wilsonians didn’t stop the drama of getting to the game, players established how they were arriving….well everyone apart from Nuno who had travelled to Tooting to go wake up Ruben, but to be told by the latter that he won’t be playing as he didn’t want to get up! This prompted frantic messages and calls from Nuno as he panicked to get to the ground from Tooting 2 hours before the game.
Onto the game, finding out that we had to travel the short walk to the back pitches which looked like they were someone’s back garden and they hadn’t opened the gates for anyone to play, we found that there was a slight slope to the pitch and winning the toss was important to establish we played down the slope in the second half.
The first half started evenly but once Old Wilsonians started to take advntage of the slope, we found oursleves struggling to hold onto the ball and make consecutive passes, instead panicking to clear it. The centre midfield of Matt and Ram suffered neck ache as the ball kept pinging around and over them as the ball spent more time being hoofed up in the air then either team risking to bring the ball down and attempt a pass.
Old Wilsonians started to increase their attempts on goal, but nothing to worry Kevin as he swept/slipped/ate everything thrown to him and Spencer and Darren clearing everything else before it reached the penalty area. Steve then decided to ask a romantic question to the ref, who did not take kindly to his approach and we could only assume he was not interested. With the whole team telling him to ‘shut up’ and take the rejection, he was not giving up on asking again and with risking getting his name taken, but not out of choice by the ref, I don’t think he wanted it that much. Fair to say that was his only contribution to the game!
With about 30mins gone, Merton finally had their first attempt on goal with their first passing move. Ram controlled the ball in the centre circle and passed it out to Harry at right back, with a look up he pinged a great ball down the channel which Nuno ran onto, he pulled the ball back to the left edge of the penalty area where Matt ran onto and narrowly missed the target.
This gave Merton belief that we could take an important lead into the half before the advantage of the slope in the second half and this came a few minutes later where a blatant shove in the back of their number 5 by Ram, (I admit it) led to Jay knocking it back to Matt just outside the area and with his eyes lighting up to add to his 3 goals for the season duly smashed into the mid-drift of Ram and fortunately ran across the penalty area to the unmarked Nuno who made no mistake and slotted it passed the keeper.
With talk of trying to take control of the ball at half-time and take advantage of the slope, the next decision was to decide who was going to takeover in goal and just falling short of deciding by rock, paper, scissors – Harry donned the gloves and looked every part a keeper (unfortunately no pics were taken to justify this).
Half-time subs were Nikhil replacing Ram in centre midfield with Kevin playing at left back with Baz operating the right side of defence.
The second half continued the same way as the first half ended….scrappy! With no team able to take control of the game, it became a bit of a tense game as a goal to the oppo would have given them the confidence to have gone on to win the game. With 60 mins gone, Adam replaced Darren at the heart of defence and carried on where Darren left off.
With the ball finding our strikers more regularly, the new chant for the second half was ‘NUNO…PASS!!! All to avail, as everytime he had the ball to feet and the chanting became louder and louder, the more he rebelled and tried to take their defence on single-handed. This week, along with ensuring Nuno has the postcode for the match on Saturday morning, we are going to send him post codes for every player on the pitch so he can locate them!
Comedy moment of the game came when one of the oppo players hoofed the ball up in the darkening sky and goalwards…with Harry looking like he was praying to Allah, the ball was falling pretty much on the goal-line, this led to a discussion between the back four guessing if it will be a goal or not. Spencer could not bare to look and fell to his knees to give his own version of praying to Allah, Harry kept focus and caught the ball under the bar.
The game was pretty much wrapped up midway in the second half as a shot on goal was parried by their keeper, but as he tried to pounce on the bouncing ball, his teammate decided to try and help him out by trying to clear the ball but was closer to taking the keepers head off and the ball rolled away which Nuno went round the keeper and knocked in at the opposite corner. This was his last contribution as he was subsequently substituted for Ram with nikhil moving upfront.
Merton saw out the last 10-15mins without any harm and ran out winners, more through hard work and perserverance than good football.
LINEUP (4-4-2)
Kevin (GK), Baz, Harry, Chris & Darren, Steve, Matt & Ram, Jay, Nuno & Ryan Subs: Adam & Nikhil

Posted in Match Reports 6s