7s vs HSBC 6s – 10.02.18
After last week’s debacle of the oppo turning up at the wrong ‘home’ ground (apparently), we travel out to contest the 1st v 2nd (from bottom) game of the day,…. verse the mighty HSBC 6s (or 5s or 4s or whoever they can get to play on the day… !)
As per norm this time of year, it’s grey, wet, muddy… really muddy… no really, really muddy!… and blowing a gale. So, perfect conditions for 2 of the supposedly worse teams in the division to get it on.
The 7s welcome back ‘El cappo’ from his overextended snowboarding trip, along with top scorer, Billy, unfortunately, this also brings about the loss of, Steve (being abused by the SAS again), Dan (Getting his hair done then on to afternoon tea, (we have photos Dan!!!)) Ram (Got lucky and went to the NLD) Tom (something about speed dating and farms!) Joe (deported back to Thailand) Daban (forgotten who he is?!) Adam (tailing Dan and keeping us posted with sordid pictures!) Chris (Must be with Daban) Noor (Is this Daban in disguise!) Luke (Got lost somewhere north on Friday, sounded like ‘Mudchester’, under the ruffled call from what only can be presumed was the back of a police car!)
This, leaving us with no choice but to put the call out to the 5s & 6s for help, and they come to the rescue to bolster the squad to bring the numbers up to 14. This turns out to be a shrewd move, as apparently, HSBC had the same problem and also field similar amount of ‘new recruits’
After Ryan dispatches 2 decent balls into the stream behind the goal while warming up, he takes the early lead in the DOTD nominations as Kieran runs off to wade in a good 500 yards or so further down the fast flowing mini-river… thus delaying the squad announcements till just before kick off
Starting with Kieran between the old chop sticks, Josh at right back, Darren and Kev as the centre pair and Delman on the left, David as the single holding midfielder, pushing a 3 of Ryan, Josh FS, Andrew, finally Billy and Niall up top…. 4-1-3-2 (Just made it up as we went along really!). On the bench Martin, Dwayne, Nikko
First 10 minutes, see the 7s5s&one6s get there feet together, with such a mass of different personnel, the communication is limited. This helps HSBC who play down the flanks and test Kieran early on. As ever, old safe hands keeps the score at zip all with 2 good, if not cracking saves. However, a soft throw in sees HSBC split the defence and volley low and hard beyond the 7s keepers glove. 1-0, only 10 minutes gone
Coming to terms with the state of the pitch and being ankle deep in mud, the Merton Hybrid team rally and create a few chances of their own, Billy using his pace to get between the HSBC centre backs, notices the keeper off his line and tries an audacious lob from 40 yards which just goes wide, further good work from the front 5 and the very impressive Josh FS who is trying his best to boss the central area, is interchanging with neat passing, sets up Andrew, who’s goal bound shot from 6 yards is deflected over the bar by the HSBC defenders HAND and out for a CORNER!
Billy whips in a fierce ball to the near post, with Niall losing his marker and guiding the ball with a deft touch with his chest, the ball nestles for 1-1
In true 7s fashion, straight from kick off, the 7s entertain a FIFA glitch and watch as HSBC take 3 touches and slots pass the advancing 7s keeper, without even being challenged… that didn’t last long! 2-1
A lot of cursing and moaning, the game draws to half time, it seems the pitch, weather and conditions are getting the better of the Merton squad. Aggrieved to be 2-1 down, the ‘mish-mash’ team rally and get back into the trenches for the second half. 2 changes see Delman make way for Nikko and Andrew for Dwayne, Ryan drops as a sweeper to cut out the through ball. Nikko and Dwayne on each of the wings. Now with a bit of grass below the 7s boots, its HSBC turn to be stuck in the treacle end.
Start of the half, Its HSBC who are the more composed and start well, creating the early chances which are dealt with by the rearranged formation. Good strong tackles from Darren, Kev & the art of the slide tackle by Ryan, 7s seem to be copping with the early stages of the 2nd half. HSBC break down the left, sees the ball passed square, before the shot is off, Darren times a perfect interception/sliding tackle that’s see the ball spin off for a throw in, however the ref seems to think that the players was impeded first and awards a penalty! Protest aside, and luckily no cards, up steps HSBC for a 3-1 lead, but justices is served as the kick is wide and off the post, score remains 2-1
Opposite end, the 7s are now getting the better of the game, being more composed and working the ball down the flanks, win another corner, Billy whips this near post, a melee of players throw themselves at the cross, the ball rebounds and sits up, David first to react, lofts the ball over the keeper and towards the far post, clearly over the line, the defender has to scissor kick clear the ball out and on to the cross bar, Ref waves play on! Not much protest from the 7s as it was all over in a flash and now HSBC are on the counter.
As the game ticks over, it’s a slug fest, attack and counter attack, poor finishing, great keeping… it has it all.
7s on the push down the right flank, ball worked towards the corner, cross comes over, defender tries to clear but falls about 20 yards out to David, who dispatches a curling, top corner shot, Ryan watching from behind and has the best view is already celebrating, arms are being held aloft by the 7s team, hands on heads from the HSBC team as the ball arrows into the angle of the goal…
Somehow though….. The keeper has found momentum to cover the ground and get a full hand to tip the ball onto the post, AMAZING SAVE!!!! Everyone was slow to react, that had goal written all over it… only Niall anticipated the rebound and slotted in from 6 yards as the keeper looks on, crushed that his effort came to nothing. 2-2
Determined not to let the lead slip again and with only 18 minutes left to play, 7s dig in, a few exchanges and near misses to wrap the game up, a lack of concertation see Kev give the ball up cheaply, HSBC on the attack slots in the only gap Kieran left available and if asked, the striker couldn’t hit that spot if given a further 99 tries… (We call it 7s luck… just bad!)
12 minutes left, Josh at right back goes off for Martin, David makes way for Delman, Ryan pushes forward to make a 3 up for the last throw of the dice
The change plays dividend, Nikko pulling the strings out wide and having a strong finish to the second half, torments HSBC, likewise on the opposite flank, Dwayne seems to be having more of the ball and the leggy winger looks to be getting the better of his counterpart, Josh in the centre is now bossing the game. The last 10 is all Merton.
The pressure pays off, once again good work down the wing from Nikko and Billy, sees HSBC panic as the ball is once again arrowed to the back stick, not dealing with the cross sees, Ryan at the far post and a good 10 yards out, strikes the ball back across the goal, just beyond the keepers reach for a fantastic 3-3
From HSBC kick off, the Merton rag tags are all over them, Josh winning the ball, straight on the offensive, HSBC do their best to clear the lines, but Merton aren’t going to make the same mistake four times (says the manger under his breath… from the side lines… with one eye shut and the other looking away!) Ref indicates the games is almost up, Merton 13s on the attack… ball played into Billy 8 yards out and has both centre backs as company, instead of trying to shot, gives the eyes and rolls in Ryan, only the keeper to beat….. TO BE CONTINUED
Next week we have a home game, ‘away’ at Wimbledon common extension! Be sure to turn up, not like last week’s oppositions!!
As the 7s walk off, a 3-3 draw stops the rot. First point earned this year. The 4 game losing run comes to an end, although possible hard done by that it wasn’t all 3 points. Not because the savage miss at the end to wrap the game up, but the continued bad luck and decisions going against the 7s. A blatant handball first half, a decent tackle second half being deemed a penalty against (although missed) and a perfectly legit goal ruled out because HSBC can’t afford VAR yet! Never mind, there’s always next week’s goal fest to look forward to!!
MOTM: Josh FS (5s) done the job of 2 in the midfield and was unstoppable. Can’t see the 5s keeping hold of this youngster for long, especially if Madrid come calling (Or Ed if he gets hold of his number!!)
DOTD: … to continue the above… slots the ball just wide of the keeper… and the post by a yard or 2… clearly had too much time to think about it. However, Ryan wins the DOTD for kicking, not 1 but 2 balls into the bloody ‘river’ in the warm up! The miss at the end was just… well, unlucky!
7s – Kieran, Josh, David, Andrew, Billy, Ryan, Niall… and a cameo from Martin!
6s – Kev
5s – Darren and his band of merry men! (Josh, Nikko, Delman, Dwayne)