Author: Matt Haswell
Merton 6XIv Bank of England5XI
The clocks have gone forward and spring has spring, unfortunately they have forgot to tell the weather as arriving at the Hood it looked bleak with one pitch up, heavy cloud cover a cold wind and a hint of rain.
The team start to assembly being a combination of 3s, 5s, & 6s all in good sprites with the usually pre-match banter. A few players debating if they will last the full 90 Mins because of injury and/or lack of fitness however this was too much of an issue with 14 players, but wait Tom Johnson messaged in at 1.30 he was going to making it.
Out on the pitch we when through a full warm route to test the various aches ad pains with everybody declaring themselves ok to start. Which we did well and in an attacking mode with the usually 4-3-3 formation, with James & Lewis wide & Peter O in the middle. We had the B of E on the back foot and create many chances unfortunately without finishing any of them until Lofty hit a shot from 30 yards with plenty of top side so that hit the cross bouncy down & up a couple of time before crossing the line.
At this point B of E finally woke up and start to get through our midfield and they final won a corner, which we initially cleared but didn’t shut down the player 30 yards out who hit cleaned into the top right corner of the net, B of E have a video as proof as even they could believe that there player could hit a shot that well.
The rest of the half we created more chance which we turned into half chance with Pete & James being wayward with their shooting whilst the B of E were limited to long range efforts that generally when wide.
In the 2nd things didn’t change much although B of E did come back into the game however their goalkeeper was the busier but we couldn’t score. Eventually the B of E managed to pull our defence out of shape and they deliver an inch prefer cross for the centre forward to volley home from 8 yards. There 3rd came with 15 minutes left a free kick from 30 yards that deflected off Lewis’s shoulder over Martin.
The last 15 minutes was spent in the Bank’s half but we couldn’t score. It was a disappointing result but we did keep trying.
Last Week’s MOM Martin Quinlan was back in his regular position for this season Goalie and had a quiet and cold afternoon for his 900th game for Merton having one shot to save but had no chance with the 3 Goals. In fact, spent a lot of the last 15 mIns on the half way line. In 900 games the B of E have been the most regularly Martin has played against. Onwards to 1000 games.
The Central defensive of Neil & Kevin a solid games with Neal being our start player. As for the DOD there were several candidates James & Peter for missing many good chances, Ryan with his powerful throw ins which force Lewis off the pitch and Luke to have a poor first touch when he came on and several players for getting frustrated and need speaking to the by the referee. James offer his performance for DOD but by a split decision it when to Tom for not turning up.
The most stupid moment was when the B of E very large Centre handled the ball with 5 mins left. He wasn’t even booked!
Martin Q, Kevin L, Matt H., James E., Lewis R., Aaron A., Chris O., Simon W (Lofty), Ryan B., Pete O-A., Neil D., Subs Luke N., Marcus P.
MoM – Neil Davison
DoD – Tom Johnson
Civil Service 8s v Merton 6s
Spring has sprung, away to Civ 8 in sunny Chiswick, only a 2-hour journey through all the road works, still could be worse… after all the rain at the hood last week and witnessing 3 ducks swimming on pitch one, it’s nice to get out and about
Testing week to get the players out, going from 18 to 9 with in a day, and then a frantic ring round to get cover after one particular player though it would be funny to make themselves available even though they were not even on the same continent !! but more on that later ..
A rare outing for MQ at left back as we get a cameo from Lenners between the sticks, Steve B at left back with Haydn and Tom centre, Midfield of Niall, Phil and Dobby with the usual 3 of DG, Lewis and James up front.. Joe making a late appearance starts on the bench
Game starts with the 6s on the front foot, looking fresh after 3 weeks without a game, the passing is a bit erratic but still ahead of the C8 who seem to slow out the blocks and making a few unforced errors. Steve B after a few moments of madness on the ball (a good to many ‘HAVE IT!’ moments) starts to compose himself and settles the back line and begins to finally play out form the back. A good passage of play between the back 4 and midfield, which could have been more than 15/20 uninterrupted passes, unfortunate breaks down, but it’s a good sign and something that’s been requested all season (and they wait till the final few games to show their stuff!!)
Well on top and only some poor finishing keeps the score at 0-0, 6s finally yields a bit of luck, Niall once again a wizard with the left foot, sets James off down the wing and into the box for the shot, beats the keeper but is blocked, DG following up with a 50/50 that sees the ball cleared by the keeper, onto DG and looks to be going out for a throw, MQ chases down the loose ball and has time to roll a yard or two forward and without doubt, sees the keeper still struggling to get back, launches a shot back in the mix from all of 40 yards, the keeper trying his best to reach but is still a good foot or so short as the ball sails over the out stretched arm, even evades the 2 centre backs who also try to make a clearance just as the ball dips under the ball and in the goal for 0-1 lead. MQ is already standing with both arms in the air and is rightly mobbed by everyone of the 6s, to congratulate him on his first goal since his 84th birthday 10 years or so ago!
Not much more to report first half, think everyone was to ecstatic for Mr Merton himself!!
2nd half, MQ is replaced for Joe D as we can’t risk the old boy getting a 2nd, god knows what all the excitement would do to his heart, as well as muted claim to a starting spot up front!! (worried look over shoulder form el’cappo there!!)
Bit slower out the blocks but still on top, however, C8 are more organised and unluckily to go 2 behind. Steve B puts in a corner, straight on the money, which sees a mass scrabble between C8 players to clear (6s I think was quite amused to the thrashing around to clear the ball and stood and watched!) the first clearance hits the back of a C8 player that sees the ball roll towards the line, keeper try’s to claim it, only for the centre back to ‘hoof one clear’, again hitting the back of a c8 player, onto the shin of the left back and then the knee of the right back (ok, might have made some of this up, but its more or less right!!).. and roll over the line for 0-2 and coasting…
Attention now turns to Lenners, after a fantastic first half (forgot to mention the bit about Lee jumping around like a salmon and catching the ball without any pressure around him… BUT on landing belly first, sees the ball slips from his mitts and luckily to Haydn to clear!) .. being slightly off his line by 20 yards or so, for most of the 2nd half, it was only a matter of time before someone chances the lob and one C8 player does, from inside the centre circle, still… Lee looked to have the ground covered as he back peddled, but was unfortunate not to be the required 6ft 8inches tall to tip the chance over the crossbar… and once again lays on the floor like a fish… out of water! 1-2
With chances still coming thick and fast, its bad luck and good defending that keeps the 6s from going ahead, tiredness creeping in on both teams and some good football on show. The counter attacks are scooped up by Tom and Haydn and it looks like an away win is on the cards.
A counter attack by C8 down the right sees the ball cut in and still 25/30 yards out, C8 take a first time toe punt which goes like a rocket, Lenners, although is the right position this time, cant do much about it as the ball manages to go between the out stretched fingers and the underside of the bar to bring the game level 2-2.
The 6s let a game slip and was cruising, and with the remaining 10 minutes or so, can’t convert any more chances, the whistle blows just as a final attack was getting in the 18-yard box, but in the end, its 2 points dropped as opposed to a point gained
Nice day out, and our final away game of the season sees us with only 2 losses on the road, a far better improvement on last year. We now have a further week off before we welcome B0E to the hood, weather and ducks permitting
MOTM: MQ… who else after that goal
DOTD: Close call on Lenners the fish, but Steve H for dicking around with availability late in the week and causing a headache trying to get cover
Merton Under 10s vs Old Isleworthians Youth Whites
31st March 2019 – Under 10s report
It was a cold Sunday morning at Joseph Hood Rec and this was the last game of the season. Spring has officially arrived but the biting wind reminded us that Winter was not finished with us yet. As the boys warmed up with their customary pre-match Rondo, parents on the side-lines simply shivered. Personally, I could have done with a hipflask but I know that is frowned upon at 9.30 in the morning.
Today’s opponents, were Old Isleworthians Youth who arrived in ones and twos; at one point it looked as if they would struggle to make up their numbers. They did manage to get a full team out.
The first half commenced with Merton playing left to right on the back up pitch.
During the first few minutes, Merton played with good energy levels and work rate. They made the better start and were in the ascendancy. Good pressure from them meant that they were creating more clear-cut chances; there was also some lovely one touch football on display.
With 15 minutes gone, Dave went on a run, rounded two defenders and slotted in off the right-hand post.
One nil to Merton!
Old Isleworthians were determined to react positively to conceding and played themselves more into the game. Merton were turning the ball over and Old Isleworthians were growing in confidence.
Twenty minutes played, Merton failed to clear after Old Isleworthians’ first corner. When the ball broke loose, it was lashed into the bottom left of Max’s goal.
1 all. Game on!
Max was called upon to make a couple of good saves to keep Merton on level terms.
Twenty- three minutes gone, great footwork from Faris, then a run and shot that hit the post. Close!
After 24 minutes, following their second corner, Old Isleworthians scored with a good shot to the top left of Max’s goal.
Moments later the referee blew for half time.
The second half started with Merton kicking right to left.
Merton put their opponents under pressure as they went in search of the equaliser.
7 minutes played, after a shot from Dave is parried, Percy slots home from close range.
Merton had worked hard to get back on level terms and their efforts had been rewarded. The game became more open and both sides created chances. It seemed as if the next goal would be decisive.
When the next goal came, after 19 minutes, it followed the best passing move of the game. A succession of crisp first-time passes by Merton ended with Louis assisting Maxwell who shot low to the bottom left corner of the Old Isleworthians’ goal. It went in.
What a great team goal!
3-2 to Merton!
Old Isleworthians were not finished yet, they created more chances. Excellent defensive work from Harry, Ollie, Joe, Rio, Dave and Max kept them out.
Would Merton be able to hold on for the win?
Yes, was the answer. In the end, the win appeared comfortable because of what happened just before full-time.
With 24 minutes played, Louis and Maxwell exchanged passes on the left-hand side of Old Isleworthians’ penalty area. Maxwell looked ready to return the ball to Louis but instead he curled a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. It went in.
4-2 to Merton
Moments later the referee blew for full time.
A very good win to end the season. Well done boys!
Maxwell was awarded Man of The Match.
After the match, the team said goodbye to Joe and wished him well for next season.
Special shout-out to Bobby who was unable to play today.
Author: Mike Pitt
Bedfont Eagles U10s vs Merton U10s
It was a warm and sunny spring morning which greeted the Merton boys on their final away day trip of the 2018/19 season.
The match kicked off and Merton were straight on the front foot leading to David having two shots at goal in quick succession. With Chell watching on he looked set for another string performance.
After 8 mins Merton were rewarded with the opening goal after a lovely two touch passing move through half of the side. Louis crossed for Rio to slide in and score.
This was soon followed by a nice run from Dave but his cross was cleared.
This didn’t discourage him and he followed up by sending over a great cross which was brilliantly headed in by Percy to make it 2-0 after 11mins.
The boys were into their stride now and Joe was getting well in to the game. Some good play between Dave, Louis and Rio led to another shot and another good save from the Bedfont keeper who looked very solid despite the goals.
Suddenly Merton made an inexplicable mix up at the back and let an easy chance go in for 2-1. Then, as if that wasn’t disappointing enough, bam: another quick Bedfont attack and 2-2 after some good passing.
Back on level terms the boys needed to redouble their efforts. But Bedfont had the next chance and it took a sprint from Max in goal to get back just in time to save a shot on the line.
Some more good play and shots from Merton came and the Bedfont keeper was equal to much of it with strong saves. He was starting to look like one of the best keepers we have seen this season.
Bedfont broke again and Dave slid in and the ref awarded a free kick. Bedfont strung some passes together from this and their striker somehow squeezed the ball in under Max for 3-2. Shocked!
Half time blew and it was 3-2 down we went in.
The second half kicked off and Merton were on the front foot again with some good play. Suddenly Max made a superb save after dashing out to meet a Bedfont break. Then the ball broke to left and Farris put Percy through for a superb finish and 3-3. Percy was having one of his best games today.
He won the ball again on the right and played across the pitch to Louis who passed to Farris resulting in a shot and save.
Another good move followed with Joe shooting and the keeper coping out to save. He really was looking for a man of the match performance. Bobby was playing deeper than usual for much of the match but still found himself involved in many moves and using his strength and control to break up play.
Next Merton broke through and Rio was brought down for a penalty on the edge of the box. He took it himself and it was now 3-4 to Merton.
Merton continued to miss lots of chances and the Bedfont keeper continued to make good saves. Olly was starting lots of moves from the back and playing a one-two where there was an opening. Nice to see training being taken into the match.
The superb Bedfont keeper now went off injured after an innocuous challenge at the end of his 5-star performance. This took 3 mins of delay but the ref found a whole lot more time extending the game well after the requisite 25 min half.
This game Bedfont the opportunity to draw level but in the end it was Merton who extended their lead as Rio played in Percy who took his hat trick under the keeper for 5-3 with another cool finish. What a game he had played.
The final whistle blew and Percy was awarded man of the match for Merton. The boys seemed to have learned from their previous surprise defeats in games where the opposition took advantage of lapses and Merton did not convert chances. This was a mature and committed win.
Well done to all!
Esher Yellows U10s vs Merton U10s
Sunday 10th March 2019
This was an early kick off in Thames Ditton with a mild and sunny morning. The need for winter wrap-up came from strong winds which cut through all who ventured out. As the parents sheltered next to the boundary fence the boys kicked off.
Today Harry was missing due to his commitments to charity fund raising for the Marsden march and Bobby stepped in.
Merton were kicking into the wind for the first half and struggled to reproduce their best form. Playing 1 at the back in Olly the wide players needed to drop back when needed and be more mobile than usual. Olly was working as hard as ever and marshalling the team from the back.
Somehow they struggled to get going and Esher grabbed 2 quick goals to go 2-0 up. They were also missing chances with some wild shooting which helped keep Merton in the match. Suddenly
Merton broke and Percy, Joe and Rio passed the ball forwards right through the middle of the pitch and Rio finished with aplomb to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
This was a short respite as Esher continued to create chances and took their next after 20 minutes to make it 3-1. The boys didn’t get themselves down and from the next corner the ball was floated
over for Louis to volley home from close range for 3-2.
The ref blew for half time and Neal and Roy got the boys together for their customary coaching talk.
The second half started and Merton were now kicking with the wind behind them and it was Esher who were struggling to clear their lines. Nonetheless they got the next goal as Merton were caught short at the back and it was now 4-2 to the home side.
Rio was having a good game and he was played through again mid-way through the second half and took his chance again to make it 4-3. Merton now had some momentum and the next couple of opportunities were missed. Bobby, Louis, Farris, Rio and Percy all had chances but none found the back of the net.
Then Percy took a pot shot from outside the box and the keeper fell on the ball and much to the consternation of the home team the ref blew for the goal as he adjudged the ball to have crossed the line. 4-4 and it was all to play for in the last few minutes.
Sadly for Merton there was to be a winner and not for them. Esher broke again 2 minutes from the end and Merton could not get the block in and 5-4 it went.
Merton had another chance to level through Percy but the keeper blocked it and sent the ball out as the final whistle blew.
Another one that got away and some learning for the boys from this narrow loss.
Rio earned a deserved man of the match award for his all-round attitude, directness and goal scoring.
Old Sal’s Rev v Merton 6s
A month without a game for the 6s and missing a few of the regulars as we welcome OSR back to the hood to host their home game. With a 2oc ko and only 9 players turning up for the oppo, game gets delayed till 2:15. The 6s however, having the likes of Neal D, Dennis Z, Roma B available, for selection, helps the cause against a very good footballing team in Old Sal’s Reserves
Finally getting the game on the way, the 6s start like a team that haven’t played in a while, long balls punted up front, no calling or tracking of runners, no surprise that OSR take the lead early on, with some slick passing, down the wing and into the box, it was like a training game as MQ is exposed to a 1v1 at close quarters, with the ball ending up in the net 1-0
Not learning from the mistakes, OSR almost double the lead on several occasions, only for some last ditch tackling and woeful finishing, the score remains 1-0. The 6s start to get themselves into the game. Some meek and tame attacks result in a few corners, James’s deliveries from the right creates chances, but no one can convert and OSR clear their lines
Although getting on top, its OSR who double the lead against the run of play. Breaking away, and playing the neat short passes, it’s a simple one/two into the box, resulting in a low cross being put into an empty net as MQ tried to close the gap down. 2-0
Merton turn it up a notch, the tackles are going in thick, OSR are now able to slow play down with each foul awarded, the casual approach is there own undoing as the centre backs take to many touches and are robbed by the quick thinking Lewis, whose first shot is saved by the keeper, but the rebound hits him on the shin and rolls into an empty net, a bit of luck, but its welcome 2-1. As the game approaches half time, the 6s are more on top and look to grab the equaliser with only the odd half chance, however its 2-1 at the break
Some changes to be made, Ryan B for Andrew D, Dennis for Steve H and Chapple for Iain, the 6s start the half with a little more zip in the game. Trying to get the ball down and play through the midfield brings a couple of chances, Lewis and DG both being denied by the keeper
OSR still threaten to extend the lead, and one again its more the fact the shots are off target that keeps the score at 2-1. With MQ doing more miles retrieving the ball from each shot, it takes Tom to place the kick and rush the pass while MQ is still behind the goal. With 60 yards of open spaced and 7 white tops to hit… he somehow manages to pass to the only red top on the edge of the area! Surprised is an understatement as he controls the ball and takes a touch or two, looking unsure that play is continuing, and rolls the ball in for 3-1!! The goal is greeted by stunned silence from the 6s, and laughter from OSR, as no one can quite believe what has happened..!
A quick change see Lewis go off with a calf strain and Dennis back on up front
So, the good work at the start of the half is undone, nevertheless, the 6s carry on pressing and soon rewarded for some good play. DG winning the ball and passing out wide to James, who hits the by-line and once again whips in a cross that’s sees Dennis at the back stick rise above the centre backs and hammer a header home from 6 yards, 3-2
Tails up, but still second best to some of the football being played by OSR, the 6s have to dig in deep against the quick counter attack and the fast, damaging passing
A good passage of play by the 6s, Neal putting a shift in, wins the ball, Steve H to DG who puts James out wide to run at the left back, the coming together sees the ball go out for a goal kick. OSR keeper places the ball but passes straight to James. James, bemused by the pass looks back and shrugs.. The Ref waves play on and James rounds the stationary keeper and slots home. OSR protest, saying the keeper thought it was a corner, but the ref, who at one point seemed to agree, couldn’t change the fact that it was still a goal, the protest resulted in a sin bin and a few sulky faces
So, with a comical second half coming to a close, both teams have a chance to nick the winner in the ‘ding-dong’ closing seconds, but it finishes 3-3. A bit harsh on the home team, but the 6s made their own luck and for once, got a reward. Next week, a home game that is in fact a home a game and not an away game played at home!
Bank of England come to the hood, the last outing was a hard fought 2-2 draw, with the 6s coming back from 2-0 down in the last 10 minutes. Hopefully, we can carry some of today’s luck over to next week
MOTM: James, made one, bought one and run all day. But some mention to Neal D, had a great game in the middle as well as Lewis, who run himself into the ground for an hour, chasing everything and making his chances.
DOTD: An easy one this week… Tom J..
Team: MQ, Ryan B, Iain E, Tom J, Steve B, Dennis Z, Roma B, Neal D, James E, Lewis R, DG ©
Mark C, Steve H, Andrew D
Merton Under 10s vs Woking Cougar Colts FC
3rd March 2019 – Under 10s report
As kick off approached, it was wet but not raining at the Joseph Hood Rec on Sunday morning. Merton were to play on their alternative pitch close to the paddling pool at the top of the Recreation Ground. Following an enforced lay off due to Half Term, would Merton be able to maintain their momentum? Merton’s opponents were Woking Cougar Colts who arrived with seating, a Gazebo and vocal support.
The first half commenced with Merton playing left to right.
During the first couple of minutes both sides turned the ball over a few times.
Merton started to take control and seize the initiative. Defensively they were solid because of good work from Harry, Ollie, Joe and Max.
After 3 mins, following good approach work, Rio shot just wide of the Cougars’ goal.
1 minute later, Faris had a shot that was also close.
After 6 minutes, Merton had the first corner of the match.
Merton’s second corner came just one minute later.
8 minutes into the first half, a goalkeeping error was pounced upon by Louis who slotted home from close range.
1 nil to Merton
Merton were now very comfortable and controlling possession. Having said that, Woking did have a goal disallowed in the 10th minute because the referee had blown for a free kick before the ‘goal’ has been scored.
After 12 minutes, Faris’ had a shot that went just wide.
Good link up play between Faris and Rio ended with Rio shooting to the bottom left of the Cougars’ goal.
2 nil to Merton
Merton seemed to be able to create goal chances at will; they certainly seemed in control and yet it was Woking who scored next.
Just before half time and against the run of play, Woking scored to keep themselves in the match.
The second half was a completely different story. Unfortunately, Merton lost the ball in dangerous areas on many occasions and Woking were able to take advantage.
9 minutes after the restart and the Cougars were level.
2 minutes later, after a run and shot they were 3-2 up.
Merton needed to fight back to stay in the game and they did briefly. After 13 minutes, Maxwell fired a shot that took a slight deflection before reaching the Woking net.
It proved to be only a moment’s respite because the Cougars capitalised on more turnovers and were soon 4-3 up and then 5-3 up. They looked delighted with their morning’s work, as did their supporters.
In truth, it was a game that Merton should have won comfortably but ended up losing. This is development football and there will be ample opportunities for our boys in yellow to dust themselves off and return to winning ways.
Harry and Louis were jointly awarded Man of the Match.
Shout out to Percy, David and Bobby who were all unable to play.
In game of persistence, battling against a solid opposition, a pitch with similar gradient to sectors of Everest and a wind that had the power to blow half of Merton’s players hair off (which looked plausible for any on looking fans passing by) Merton 3s put in a performance to be proud of against top of the league.
15mins into the game Merton went gone 1 – 0 down after a number of scuffed clearances from the back and a run through the middle from their striker, Iain was quick off his line and was unlucky not to get the save. 10mins later Ivan squared the ball onto a vegan styled juggernaut run whereby Pritch picked the ball up, run 10 yards and blasted the ball from outside the box into the bottom corner of the oponents goal.
Just before the break of half time after Merton arguably had the better chances of the half a quick free kick into the opponents number 9’s feet, slipped through on goal with a strong turn of place going into half time 2 – 1 down.
A very sluggish start to the second half saw Merton 3s make life very hard for ourselves, but we rode out the storm and 15 mins into the second half Merton got a free kick. Up steps Glenn and puts in a beautiful CROSS that finds its way into the top corner of the goal!
The next 10/15mins of the game was a very close with both teams getting chances. When the opposition got through on goal Jack and Bully managed to get behind the keeper where Iain made a brilliant save leaving the ball to slowly crawl towards the goal, Jack attempting a clearance ended up scuffing the ball perfectly slotting it in the bottom corner for possibly the worst timing to concede an own goal that you’ll ever see!
For the remainder of the game Merton played well and despite Neil attempting Cruyff turns as last man and Glenn hitting so many shots over the bar he would of out pointed Jonny Wilkinson in another sport, Merton 3s were unlucky not to come away with more and certainly a performance to be proud of to take into the next game!
A sharp wind cut across the open playing fields for this away match. Even Dan had deigned to wear a coat and James had to donate his to Max’s ever-present sister, Summer. Despite knowing the side was full for this one Bobby committed to come down and prep with the team and Scott suffered the chill with his parental peers.
Last time out Merton U10s suffered a rare league loss to the same side at home on a sticky pitch. This time the pitch was in better nick despite a week of showers. A good start could prove crucial.
The ref was set up for an hour of comedy in flat soled trainers and with no whistle. He called to the boys to kick off and within 15 seconds Athena had the ball in the Merton net. Not the start we had all hoped for.
For the next 10 mins despite some bright spells of play we frequently lost the ball in the middle of the park and Athena pushed on. Inevitably they squeezed another goal after 10mins. This was not looking good at 2 goals down.
Neal shuffled his pack with subs to change the course of the game and it worked. Within a few minutes we pulled a goal back to breathe belief into the side. It was well taken by Farris who was having a solid game thus far.
A second soon followed as Maxwell broke free with his pace and took his chance nicely. Suddenly Merton were level again.
Now the boys had their tails up. Rio was working as hard as anyone on the pitch and covering every blade of grass/mud. He grabbed a quick fire double with strong forward runs and Merton had surged in to a 4-2 lead.
Then half time came. I think (it was cold so we didn’t get all the details down, OK)?!
After the customary half time team talk the boys ran out to try and seal what would be a great win.
They continued to pile on the pressure now and Athena did not look nearly as fluid as they had done at the Hood.
We had a few chances before David turned in the next goal after some good interplay. 5-2.
Athena got more of a foothold in the game now, perhaps Merton were easing off. The chances they had were generally well defended or when Max was called upon he showed some good handling. Today he also seemed more confident in choosing options for playing the ball out from our box.
Ollie and Harry continued their fine form at the back and played the ball out intelligently at every opportunity. We offered them more options wide than last time out. Joe’s game continued to strengthen in the second half and he was working back to help snuff out attacks. Maxwell’s pace continued to cause problems up front but he was not able to add to his goal tally today despite showing some good power.
Percy and Louis were their industrious selves in the middle of the park and Dave was very hard to defend against for Athena as the game wore on.
Despite playing well Merton next conceded a goal from a break they failed to close down despite a couple of chances to do so. 5-3.
This didn’t make the boys’ heads drop. Farris continued to push for a goal and he got the next one, the ball slipping under the keeper, who had made some excellent saves but also made a couple of errors which seemed out of character compared to his saves and confidence. 6-3.
Next, Louis went on a positive run on the right, outpaced his counterpart and then cut inside 2 defenders and slotted home in the far corner. As the boys trotted back to the half way their smiles said the game was won.
Not to drop their heads the Athena team played on as best they could as the last minutes ticked down and got the last goal of the game near the end to make it 7-4.
The ref called for the end of the game without a whistle and the hard fought win was ours. Well done boys! All had put in a shift to turn the tables on their victors of 2 weeks’ back.
With half term approaching the next game will be a 9-a-side friendly to explore the change in pitch and formation. The passing focused Merton U10s should do well as more space opens up on the pitch. As ever, time will tell.