7s vs Old Wilsonians 8s – 01.04.17
Merton 7s v Old Wilsonian 8s
Home… and not the WCE, and with a 3oc kick off in the afternoon sun, the 7s are in a great mood to keep this 4 game unbeaten run going against a side that beat the 6s 3-1 late in February. Word in the changing room was the opposition was running late and only had 4 players, which was 4 more than our ‘Merton 3s’ opposition had, who failed to even turn!
Eventually, OW8s arriving just before kick-off and getting changed by the pitch, we got our first glimpse of this very much changed side, still… not worrying, the 7s carried on with their pregame warm up, which this week turned into ‘crosses & corners’ with the midfield duo of David & Tom trying to lash shots past the very composed Gubby
Kick off and another re-arranged team, this time were missing Dan at centre back, who’s replaced by Steve Burchell, and Tom J for Delman. OW8s kick off and straight on the attack, there 2 centre midfield pairing have a combined age less than our own captain, but paired with Tom R, our midfield was soon putting the tackles in and stemming the flow of passes to the forwarded line.
The back four, which also included the consistent Josh at right back, and the versatile Martin next to Steve, was well marshalled by Steve B who’s tones echoed around the ground from the very first whistle, rumour has it, this was his 7s trail as his written transfer request had been denied by the 5s captain as being too valuable to them.
15minutes in and the 7s still not really getting a foot hold in the game, the OW8s passed around the centre third and looking to get in behind the rear guard, but with 2 banks of 4, Noor and Adam E, playing out wide, found themselves having to drop back to defend, this isolated Malcolm and Denzel up front.
Still soaking up the pressure and conceding a good few corners, the 7s finally started to get rewarded for their resilient play, Malcolm being played in between the right & centre back, not being blessed with much pace, BUT makes up for it in strength, holds of the challenge of the pair and gets a solid shot off which goes wide.
Seeing the chink in the OW8s armour, Tom R starts to have more influence on the game, taking the ball from the half way line and gains ground. 7s Now applying the pressure at the right end, and once again Malcolm, finds the ball at his feet, muscles his way past the centre backs, this time making no mistake with his shot to put the 7s 1-0
Composed, the OW8s come straight back at the 7s, Steve & Martin doing a great job of being the oldest centre pairing the 7s have fielded still keeping the attacks at bay, couldn’t do much when appealing for offside only to see the Ref wave play on as the OW8s young speedy striker beat the trap and went 1v1 with Gubby, who had already kept the 7s well in the game, couldn’t do much as the striker blast his shot past the advancing keeper to bring the game level after less than 5 minutes
As the game panned out to half time, OW8s clearly on top in the early exchanges, but pegged back at the end, the 7s debated that were not doing much wrong. None the less, Martin who had a fine game at centre back, makes way for Andy L and Denzel off for Scott, the 7s kick off the send half
Tom R & David once again pass the ball around confidently from the start, draw in the 7s defence to play a bit of keep ball, Steve B looking remarkable composed at the back, and with Delman now keeping Noor in check on the left, the 7s looked to be controlling the early exchanges.
However, not too long into the second half, Adam E seemed to pull up with a hamstring and signals to the bench, up to this point and having a great game in tandem with Josh, it was not what the 7s wanted. Replaced with Andy DOBBY Dobson, it wasn’t long before he was called into action, wining a strong 50/50 and getting a fine through ball to Scott, this was showing there’s no weak link in the 7s …
Still controlling the game and pressing higher up the pitch, the 7s win a free kick around 30yards from goal, Tom R placing the ball, floats a high ball in which see’s David tussling with the OW8s centre backs and getting free, but with no chance of winning the ball, still bears down on the keeper which seemed to distract the fella long enough to lose the flight of the ball and then can only flap at the air as the ball clips the underside of the crossbar and goes in. As the team congratulate Tom on a fine Cross/Shot, the Ref (who had gave the goal) finds himself surround by OW8s players, protesting that the linesman flag was up, after much debate, the ref agreed and awarded offside due to the 7s captain being ‘in the line of vision of the ball while in a offside position’
This only spurred the 7s on, now gaining more possession and linking play together, Noor once again got into the area and got his cross off, which took a deflection off the OW8s centre backs arm, the ref had no hesitation awarding the penalty kick which Scott stroked home with power, 2-1 the 7s
Once again, OW8s feeling hard done by, got back on the attack, a lofted ball over the top sees Steve B in a foot race with ‘easily’ a guy half his age, without rushing in, Steve lets the player get the ball and with perfect timing, executes a sliding ‘hook’ tackle which sees Steve not only win the ball, but manages, control and with calm, he passes away to Andy L, thus diffusing any kind of attack the OW8s had in mind.
Still with 15 minutes or so to go, the 7s are now accustom to digging in deep, the captain forever shouting commands and organising the troops, looked the better team, OW8s probing away, had the better fitness overall, but couldn’t find a way past the wall at the back.
As the clocked ticked down, Adam E having to replace the 7s captain to give some extra legs in midfield, the Merton boys did not look like giving this up easily, much contrast to early in the season, with the OW8s getting a corner late on, even the strikers dropped back, making sure that 5-in-a-row was nailed on.
Great team effort and handshakes all round, no one could begrudged the 7s this victory, with only 3 games remaining, the target of top 4 is possibly, be it not in our hands, and with the unbeaten Carshalton 6s away this weekend, can they pull off an upset? Even a mild defeat to the league winner’s elect will be a moral victory in our eyes. All we say is …. BRING IT ON
MOTM: Once again, it goes to a legend, Steve B… stepping in for Dan.
(Still 50/50 if he passes the trial though!)
DOTD: Denzel… I know we haven’t played at the Hood in a while, but turning up at the wrong ground that to even ours is worthy of this week’s DOTD J
Team : Gubby, Josh, Steve B, Martin, Delman, Adam E, Tom R, David ©, Noor, Denzel, Malcolm
Scott, Andy L, Andy D