7s vs Old Wilsonians 7s – 06.01.18
Merton 7XI v Old Wilsonians 7XI AFA Cup
After the long Christmas break we finally had a home game, only to be sent to Wimbledon Common’s extension on a cold overcast lunchtime; as being a cup game the kick-off was 1:30.
The pitch looked in reasonable condition but did look as if it was going to cut up.
Team on paper appeared strong, although the captain was off snowboarding. We were rather quiet in the dressing room – it was still early, recovering from Christmas/New Year. In David’s absence Steve took the team talk trying to enliven the team and reminding how we performed against this team in December, recovering from 4-0 down at half time to win 6-4, and not wanting the same sort of start.
Before the game started we had a minute’s silence for the passing of Merton legend Phil Quinlan.
We did start reasonably well on a muddy pitch, although it did take some time to truly find our feet and as usual we created chances without finishing them.
In attack OW didn’t initially cause our defensive unit too many problems. After about 20 minutes we finally got the break through with a goal by Ryan. We started to play with some confidence, knocking the ball around but not finishing. The 2nd goal came after about 30 minutes with Luke slotting home from 15 yards into the bottom corner.
This seemed to bring OW to life and they started to create chances with balls down the flanks being crossed in, initially being repelled by a combination of Kieran, Dan and Martin but OW did finally score about 10 minutes before half time. We managed to steady the ship and Niall scored a third goal just before half time, only for OW to score a second almost on the half time whistle.
The half time team talk was given by Ryan to see if he could work the magic from our previous encounter with OW 7XI this season.
At the start of the second half both sides made changes: Dan being replaced by Noor which required a re-shuffle of the team, whilst OW 7XI made changes up front. Kieran’s first comment when getting into the new penalty area was that it was worse than the other end.
The changes made a difference, our defence became more stretched on the heavy pitch and tired legs, because of the Christmas break. We had a few scares with Kieran playing well and made several one-on-one saves which kept us in the game, however they finally broke us down with a long-range effort following an unchallenged run from the midfield. We continued to battle hard and played some good football on a poor pitch. However our wastefulness in front of goal cost us again, although at times OW were as bad.
OW 7XI won the game from a refereeing mistake; a free kick when their player stepped on the ball. We should have dealt with the free kick but it when straight through to hit the bar and post and bouncing in the 6 yard box before their players reacted first and had a tap in.
The final 10 minutes we tried hard but could not create any clear openings. In the defence the team was running on empty which didn’t help and by the end OW had control of the game and were able to run the clock down.
It was a tough afternoon but an enjoyable game of football.
MOTM: Martin Quinlan
DOTD: Noor Emad – A throw by their penalty box with less than 5 minutes to go and ball ends up at their player’s feet.
Team: Kieran, Josh, Martin, Dan, Steve, Andrew, Adam, Joe, Ryan, Luke, Niall
Thank you to Aaron for turning up but due to a misunderstanding couldn’t play because he was cup tired and Lee being the loan support.