7s vs Bank of England DH – 25.03.17
Bank of England 5s v Merton 7s Match 1
A trip to Bank of England on a sunny Saturday can never be a bad thing, and throw in another double header to make 3 in a row, these 7s are getting use to long game days with the aid of some Merton legends, this week’s turn was Paul ‘Welchy’ Welch (17 years’ service for the club and still looks fit as a flea) and Stevie who steps in at late notice. We also welcome back Gubby in goal after a long absence through injury.
What a day, for once the squad arrived early (almost all, but won’t mention Malcolm till later), and was changed and on the worse pitch BOE had left available, this flat, freshly cut grass, almost carpet like pitch was unacceptable, no diverts, rolls or ankle snags to been seen… no excused for poor passing or under hit balls… although, there was a strong wind to contend with.
Prior to the game, and being out a full 40 minutes before kick-off, 7’s normal warm would be jog around and ping balls at each other whilst Dan & Martin organise a team and a formation… For some reason, ‘welchy’ took it upon himself to be ‘coach’ for the afternoon and got everyone lined up for a gently jog… and without warning, managed to turn this gently jog into a full blown pre-season training season with shuttle runs, passing (what’s that!!), Skins V Shirts…. The fear could be seen in the 7s, red faced and blowing hard (that’s just the 7s captain) and all before 2 hours of football, what was he thinking!!!!!!!!!!
Game 1 kicks off with 7s playing with a strong wind behind them (NOT the 7s captain this time!), and this soon became a 12th man for the team, with BOE taking the first 5-10 minutes or so of play, never really threating the back four of Josh, Dan, Paul and Tom J until a deep cross from BOE left winger had Gubby scrabbling across goal for a well punched clearance, only for Dan to be tracking the balls flight and then place his nose in direct contact with Gubbys glove, resulting in getting red sauce everywhere!
Finishing with a whimper and a crumbled heap on the floor, this didn’t look good for the 7s player managers, having to leave the pitch for treatment, some clapped at the improvement the collusion made on the centre backs rearranged bugle.
Martin stepping in for Dan but steps in at left back, with Tom J join Paul at centre back, this still didn’t seem to rattle the back 4, marshalled by Paul, and with Gubby voice being heard clearly from the back, the team now had more than just the captains voice spurring them on, still soaking up the pressure, Noor on the left seem to be getting better with each game that passes and started to pull some strings, taking the ball in his stride and with his back to goal on the by-line, BOE right back closed him down, only for Noor to turn, drop the should and ‘MEG-NUTS’ the approaching player (made even better as it was in front of our own bench) and sprint on to his own through ball for a decent shot at goal which was well saved. This was just one of many times Noor took the game to them and once again didn’t go unnoticed amongst the squad
With the 7s now gaining more possession, and 10 minutes or so remaining (MALCOLM TURNS UP!!), A goal kick form Gubby finds Scott deep in the oppositions half, and with a good ball control, slots Adam in on the overlap who finishes low and well, 1-0 the 7s.
This stuns BOE back into action and straight from Kick off advance well into the 7s territory, only to once again to be face with Paul & Tom who break up play and calmly sweep the ball around and back up the field.
Halftime and a few changes, with Adam coming off for Denzel, the game soon started, and with the wind now in the 7s faces, it soon became the Alamo. BOE was relentless in the attack and wave after wave was beaten back by the whole squad, determined to hold onto the slim 1-0 lead. What seemed like an age, a few hero saves from Gubby and last ditch challenges from ‘everyone’, it was the shift we all put in that resulted in a deserved win.
MOTM: 2 players this week, Legend Paul Welch, great influence on the pitch and calm when needed, and once again, this strange fellow that keeps turning up and calling himself Noor (is that really you??)
DOTD: Wouldn’t have been Malcolm if he had turned up on time!
Bank of England 5s v Merton 7s Match 2
As the squad walked off on a high, it was notable that everyone was still up for the next game, the difference of having double headers for the past 3 weeks seem to be paying off, as well as the warm up induced by ‘Welchy’ (there’s even talk of a warm up before every game and being the way forwarded!)
Standing (not sitting) and finally being joined by Malcolm halfway thought the first game, the team was eager to get the next on the go, with Malcom and Scott starting as the attack force and Stevie on for Martin, it was a fresh start for the 7s.
BOE looking to get revenge started once again playing into the wind, and again starting on the front foot with an attack form kick off, the passing seemed more fluent and the 7’s re-guard needed to be alert, the midfield of David & Tom, the hard tackling due was still managing to contain the opposite numbers, be it with the aid of the defence, was starting to look a bit tired
Halfway through he half and a fine move from back to front, Scott picks the ball up just inside the oppositions half, holding play up well, manged to find David pushing forward from the centre, taking the ball in his stride, runs at the BOE defence, making the centre back commit to closing him down, neatly slots Andrew ‘DOBBY’ Dobson in on the left and clear on goal, only the keeper to beat, strokes the ball past with his deadly left foot (not only for standing on!) and reels away in celebration.
With the lead and BOE broken, 7’s started to have more of the ball, Adam E out muscling the BOEs midfield, controlled the ball and rasped a shoot form 20 yards, only to see the power and spin, pull the ball on to the post with the keeper flat footed, it was now swinging in Merton’s direction
The first half plays out with the 7’s knocking back anything thrown at them, seeing this, Dan and his rather larger hooter, makes some timely changes to kill the game off, David coming off for the fresher legs of Adam, Noor on for Dobby who had a great for half, it didn’t take long before the 7’s took the game over.
Even playing into the wind, Noor was up to his normal tricks of skipping around the BOE right winger and tormenting the right back, with a few good shots and neat passing play between the team, Noor found himself able to cut in on the left and move more centre…
Dropping the old shoulder and unleashing a shot from 25 yards or more, it had the keeper groping thin air as the ball smashed off the crossbar, straight in the path of Scott who was happy to bundle the ball over for the second
BOE making a few changes and visibly tiring, the 7s however seemed to be going from strength to strength… Once again on the attack, it was the turn of Malcom, not to be out done by Scott, somehow manged to wiggle his way through on goal and calmly poke the ball past the advance keeper for number 3-0, and with 10 minutes to go, it would seem it was all but wrapped up
The talk on the side line was how great the team played, from back to front, everyone put a shift in, everyone having fun and Dan could not help but say it was great to get 2 clean sheets…. This, still with 10minutes of play left… I don’t think we got to say ‘don’t talk to soon’ as we kicked off after conceding a soft goal which we think was an own goal or a deflection or just switching off for a minute, either way 3-1 was the score and suddenly, BOE got there second wind and was pressing high up the pitch, the attacks was not being closed down and Gubby was now being called upon a little too often. With BOE appealing every decisions and feeling hard done by, the frustration boiled over with their influential midfielder swearing directly at the ref who had no hesitation in branding the red card and pointing to the dugout. Down to 10 men, both teams still manging to carve out a few half chances as the game clock ticked down and finishing 3-1.
A great rewarding day out and now 4 in a row un beaten for the 7s, which pushes them into the dizzy heights of 4th in the league, although playing a game more than some, still a good achievement for the ‘Rag Tags’ who look to continue the fine run at home (anyone remember that place!) next week v OW 8’s.
MOTM: Across both games, vey consistent and composed – Gubby
DOTD: NONE chosen. (Although Malcolm should never be allowed near a free kick again!)
Team : Gubby, Josh, Dan, Tom J, Adam E, Tom R, David ©, Noor, Scott, Adam,
Martin, Stevie, Denzel, Andrew and we think Malcolm turned up at some point!