Author: Matt Haswell
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.
Merton 6s v City of London 3rd
A week of snow, rain, ice, frost and little sunshine, the 6s went to work to make sure this fixture went ahead, switching the game to WCE on the Thursday, confirmed the game to go ahead, until the ref pulled out!! so bit more running around and a few calls/messages, we almost end up with 2!!
So, after all that, and confirming with C3s that the game is on, we venture down to the extensions, buoyed from the previous weeks goal feast and knowing that we beat this team away, only 3 weeks ago.
To the game, and a minor delay while we wait for the remaining C3s to turn up, a quick look over confirms that this is not the team from the previous meeting! .. and now all the hard work of getting this fixture on is about to be undone for the wrong reasons
The opening exchanges are even, a simple 4-3-3 from weeks gone by is in place. DG is playing centre forward, but drops deep between C3s midfield and defence, leaving James and Lewis with the room to run in behind with there pace. Ackers, Dobby and Truman make up the 3 in midfield, and work tirelessly tracking the very fit oppo. The centre backs of Joe and Darren are tested by C3s forward, and contain most of what’s thrown at them, Burchell Snr and Harvey keeps tabs on the wingers.
All balls down the middle are being won by the 6s, DG receives the ball and just inside the oppos half, and sends a curling through ball over the top for Lewis to latch onto, seeming being pushed wide, he manages to lose his marker and smash a high ball into the roof of the net to take a 1-0 lead, unfortunately, not to soon after, Lewis is looking rather green and leaves the field of play to be replaced by Pete.
What looked like a promising start is soon quashed, Darren Avery having to go off after a knee injury finishes him for the day, Chris O goes left back and Steve B moves centre, maybe the early changes disrupt’ s the 6s as not so long after sees C3s pull level, a shot beating MQ at the near post, 1-1
If that wasn’t disappointing enough, C3s take the lead when MQ only manages to parry the ball towards the goal and stand flat footed as Steve H tries to hook it away, only to end up in the net 1-2
To compound the capitulation, C3s capitalise on a mix up from a corner, when all of the 6s break out to leave C3s on the 6 yard area, Steve B and MQ are caught holding hands and ball watching, keeping everyone on side, as the ball is nodded home from close range 1-3
Halftime and the manager use some colourful language to rally the troops, only to start the second half in much as the same as the first ended. Another mistake inside the box is punished by another goal, this time, MQ not being able to jump as he sees the looping shot sail over his head for 1-4
Finally, and bit of luck. Once again its DG who receives the ball and drops the shoulder and curls another ball over the top, this time for James to speed pass the centre backs and lob the keeper from 20 yards.. the fight back is on .. 2-4
Short lived… a melee in the 6s box sees the final shot avoid 3 players and the unsighted MQ to go 2-5 up, and to further compound the misery, a simple back pass to MQ sees him under no pressure to release the ball although the C3s striker is bearing down on him from the half way line, after taking 3 touches to many, the attempted clearance is blocked and rolled into an empty net. 2-6
DG makes way for Lewis is who feels well enough to take part in the last 15 or so, the change is a bit of rest bite, but its not long before MQ is beaten by a solid header for 2-7. Steve B makes way for Steve H, as its just about getting to the end of the game now
Once again, Lewis needs to depart, Steve B is thrown into the mix up front and its not to long before his moment of glory is upon him. A searching ball is sent over by James, the keeper begins to come but retreats as Steve B controls some 16 yards out, cries of ‘shooooot’ can be heard as the cogs in the old footballing brain tick over, ‘place it left, place it right, chip the keeper, sit him down’ the choices are endless.. however.. Mr B decides that smashing it down the middle as hard as he can was the correct option, not only did the ball meet the far end of the common, but the C3s keeper decided that it was game up as he picked his bag up and trotted off to the changing room! He got called back and was in place, just in time to see his team take a further goal when Joe, out of frustration more than anything, up ended their forward to give away a penalty which was dispatched for a 2-8 score line, the ref blows for full time to put the 6s out of their misery
Questions must be asked, how does a team that’s not won on the road since October, lost to ourselves as well as other teams below us in the last 3 games or so, pull off such a huge score line. With there first team getting postponed due to the weather, the ‘additional’ players made a huge difference and is reflected in the score line. Maybe this is something that needs to be investigated by the league
Next week, away days to Civ 8… let see how that pans out!!
MOTM: James, run his legs off and took his goal well
DOTD: MQ.. a day to forget
Team: MQ, Steve B, Steve H, Darren A, Joe D, Aaron A, David G ©, Andrew D, Lewis R, James E, Pete O, Ryan B, Chris O
The word ‘berserk’ derives from a group of Scandinavian warriors – ‘Berserkers’ – who wore wolfskin, got themselves into the sort of furious mental overload only usually witnessed on Arsenal Fan TV, and went into battle all flailing limbs and swords, taking down everyone in sight until their inevitable death in what amounts to an even more ancient form of Hara-Kiri. It made sense, then, that Merton 2s’ opposition, the hitherto unbeaten and admirably ball-on-the-ground Norsemen, spent 90 minutes in a relationship to “cool, calm and collected” akin to the one Denmark has with the planet Neptune: that is to say none whatsoever and most of a galaxy apart.
When the apparently blue boys in blue weren’t screaming at each other, us, the referee, and whichever poor saps stumbled across their path, there was, in fact, a decent match taking place.
“They can only play direct,” shouted one of the Norsemen, showcasing the way to his team’s weakness.
“CALM DOWN AND KEEP YOUR HEAD ON,” screamed another, centimetres from his face, in a manner anything but calming and including far more expletives.
There was a moment when the screaming, whinging and general grumbling stopped. It was the second or so Ackers’ lobbed opener looped 30 yards through the air in an arc so perfect God looked down upon it and wondered whether he should just pack up and quit. It was assisted by cross-field fade Gresty absolutely 100% intended, a ball begging to be professionally dispatched over the despairing, but unusually quiet, ‘keeper. It was the best surprise ball since Louis CK invited young female comedians into his dressing room.
Merton 2s harried and hustled, Ackers’ was presented with another opportunity following good work from AJ but narrowly dragged wide. Ackerman’s general hold-up play and quality would garner him man of the match ahead of the centre-midfield pairing of Big Scotty Scot and Ever-running Ever-ready Ryan Gresty who didn’t give Norsemen a moment’s peace all game.
Norsemen scored, a lovely goal that included some one-touch play and a smart finish. It whistled past debutant George who over the course of the match put in such a catlike performance that Pearcey spent most of the time in the changing room after stroking him behind the ears and talking to him in a baby voice.
Despite Norsemen’s quality, our heroes in yellow and black scored again. A long throw from Gresty, a flick from Ackers and DQ (putting in a Forest Gump performance: lots of running, often stupid) controlled with his head, rightly ignored the onrushing Ben Cook, and smashed the ball with such ferocity the only real surprise was the net stayed intact.
DQ was almost immediately given 15 mins rest to get over the excitement. AJ, up top in his place, skated through like Tonya Harding before the booze and leg-breaking and boxing and pornography, only to be denied by some excellent defending. Merton 2s were looking good but Norsemen’s threat was ever-present. Soon after, Jack did his best impression of Del Boy falling through a bar, only the bar was there, and was a football, and said football hit his arm, and it was a penalty.
“I can’t remember the last time the oppo missed against us. It never happens,” remarked Willgo from the sidelines. “They just seem to have remarkably clear heads.”
Berserkers to the last, the captain promptly missed the target altogether. Was it to be Merton’s day?
No, no it was not, because a win might’ve seen the 2s threaten to move away from mid-table security and that simply isn’t their way in 2018/19. Norsemen equalised, both teams pushed for a winner, one of the teams screamed more than the other, and a fair-ish 2-2 draw presented itself at the final whistle. An average single point return, but a match that wasn’t anything but.
Merton 6s v Old Wilsons 9s
Todays game will be Merton 6s v Old Wilsons 9s v The Pitch!
After an unsettled weather pattern and a cold start, the pitch was thawing out to be tad bit heavy. Even before the game started, you could see the middle areas cutting up pretty bad, so this made for an interesting leveller between M6s being physical and OW9s being quick (and very young!!)
After a very lethargic warm up for the 6s, the game got underway with OW9s having first kick of the game, straight from the off, the pitch wasn’t allowing for any quick turns and forced the opening to be played in direct lines of play
After a minor scare in defence for Merton, first blood is drawn when Lewis is freed on goal for a 1v1 and manages to slot neatly passed the keeper from 16 yards. This is soon followed up by James being flicked through for another 1v1, the first shot being parred by the keeper, which James had to check back to gather the ball and roll into an empty net as the OW9s tried to regroup
2-0 and seemingly cruising, OW9s countered and worked the ball down the 6s left, into the area with simple side steps around the on coming slide tackles, the cross is meet with a looping header over the out stretched arms of MQ to pull the game back to 2-1
Not even halfway through the first half and the pitch is already getting heavy, once anyone is committed to a tackle, it’s a simple 50/50 if you get clattered or able to step aside! The game starts to get very gritty, with fouls now going either way due to the rash sliding around. The physical side of the 6s is on top as the young OW9s can’t quite get to grips with using their speed and footwork
6s now imposing their game, see’s DG receive the ball just inside the area, with a quick turn and move (for such a lump) El’cappo shot is placed away from the keeper to restore the 2 goal lead and a 3-1 score line
OW9s now looking a bit out of sorts are being run ragged by Merton’s front 3, twice Lewis and DG beat the keeper to great through balls, only for the both of them to go for goal instead of rolling the ball back for the better shot by a team mate, Steve H on the right pulls a great cross back to DG on the edge of the area, only for the shot to go inches wide
The pressure pays off with corners, James now swinging them in on the right finds DG in the centre who wins the header, the keeper does well to get to, but the follow up is slammed into the roof by the captain, for his 2nd on the day and to increase the lead to 4-1.
OW9s rally and bring themselves back into the game, once again, the young squad put together some neat football and march straight through the back line of Merton and slot the ball passed MQ, 4-2 and the signs are creeping in that mobility within 6s back line is becoming limited
Still time for another attack, this time by Merton, Lewis is freed by some good inter play from the front 3, with options in front of him, works his way around and powers a shot pass the stranded keeper and a half time lead of 5-2
Not much to say at half time and with limited options to change things, its much the same for the second half. However, with the pitch chopped to pieces from the first half play being manly in the OWs half, this now plays into the away team’s hands. The youthful squad are now able to string a few passes around, leaving the 6s at a stand still in the mud and helpless to even get a tackle off. Time and time again OWs waltz around the 6s who are now struggling to keep upright, the pressure pays off as OW9s pull a goal back with a mazy run from inside their own half, skipping the challenges and dropping the shoulder, MQ is powerless as the ball nestles in the corner from a well-placed shot, 5-3
Nightmare 10 minutes to follow and many DOTD rewards to be thought about. First up, Joe! A up and under ball gives Joe all the time in the work to either control and clear, head or just get rid, sees him routed to the spot, not moving an inch as the OW9s forward strolls in, takes the ball and leave MQ helpless. 5-4
Similarly… and not to long after Joes debacle, MQ (for once) comes tearing off his line, bellowing ‘Keepers Ball’.. only for (on loan) Tom to decide that, that’s not good enough, and attempts to clear the danger, resulting in the pair, comically colliding without even touching the ball!! A gift that OWs wasn’t going to turn down as the ball is rolled into an empty net!! Talk about master of your own un-doing… 5-5
Time running out, a bit of luck is needed. This is in the form of ‘Lofty’, still battling in midfield, he wins a good 50/50, the ball over the top frees up Lewis to skin the full and centre back, keeper comes out late as Lewis places a hard shot towards the corner, the keeper gets a glove on it, but the power takes the ball goal bound for his second hattrick for the 6s and lead restored. 6-5
The goal seem to break the OW’s and the luck swings Merton’s way, OW9s chasing the game are exposed at the back, DG receives the ball and carries it forward, Lewis times his run well as DG flicks the ball over the defender, in turn, Lewis spots James making a late run in behind the full back, the play is complete as James sweat scissor volley from 14 yards or so is destined for the top corner, but somehow the keeper reads the flight and turns the shot around for a corner. Best move and save of the game
The resulting corner sees James once again pick out DG at the far post, still with a lot of ground to make up, beats his marker and launches a diving header which gives the keeper no chance as the ball tucks inside the post for his first hattrick for the 6s and a 7-5 lead
With minutes to go, the pitch absolutely smashed and cut to pieces, it all finishes. A 12 goal thriller, which OW9s done well to get back in the game, be it by the mercy of the 6s attempt to shot themselves in both feet, the visitors just run out luck at the wrong time, the 6s however, must learn to stay switched on for the whole game, far to often the second half has been there undoing.
The result pushes the 6s into 3rd, having played a game more than the teams below them, one which will be next weeks oppo, as we welcome City 3s to the hood, if the pitch can recover in time!
MOTM: El Cappo (DG) with his first hattrick as wells as 3 assists
DOTD: Close one between a number of players for the second half collapse, not to name names (as it will take too long!), but Joe for static defending (which was quite comical!) takes the award
Team: There was only one in the first half, unfortunately they left at half time and was replaced with some mad hatters!!
Merton Under 10s vs FC Athena
27th January 2019 – Under 10s report
It was a bright, crisp and sunny Sunday morning at Joseph Hood Rec. A day when you can drive your car and justifiably wear your sunglasses because of the sun’s brightness. Once you step outside, it’s a slightly different story as the biting wind reminds you that this is still a British winter’s day and if you are not careful you could be punished for your overly optimistic assessment of the weather.
Today’s opponents, were FC Athena and presumably named after the Greek Goddess for wisdom and warfare. Hopefully warfare would not be necessary, Merton are a family focused club and I am sure that the Surrey Youth League would take a dim view of ‘warfare’ during matches. It is not conducive to player development.
The first half commenced with Merton playing right to left.
During the first few minutes both sides were finding their feet on the muddy pitch.
Both Merton and FC Athena started moves that broke down in the midfield. This was entirely understandable because the middle of the pitch was very muddy and heavy going.
After 4 minutes, FC Athena had the first corner of the match.
After 5 minutes, Max was called upon to made a double save as Athena were starting to have more possession and work the ball more effectively.
Six, minutes gone, another corner for FC Athena, they were now knocking at the door.
7 minutes gone, Merton were coming more into the game. A good challenge by Harry and forward run was followed by a Percy run down the left. This was more promising for Merton.
8 minutes in, an Athena attack breaks down as Ollie won possession and is then fouled. Merton free kick.
11 mins into the game, Faris has Merton’s first shot of the game. It’s on target but straight at the keeper. Their keeper gratefully collects and rolls out to his defender.
One minute later, a similar scenario with a different outcome. Faris shoots, the keeper manages to get to it but is unable to prevent it trickling over the line.
1 nil to Merton
14 mins, another Faris shot – cleared by Athena.
15 mins, a Maxwell shot hits the post.
17 mins gone, Athena on the offensive; good approach work by them followed by a sharp shot. Max makes a good save.
With 18 minutes gone, their efforts are rewarded. After a breakdown in play in the midfield, Athena advance on the Merton goal and their striker shoots into the top right corner of the Merton goal. Max was unable to get to it. Goal to FC Athena.
Attempted through balls from both Merton and Athena were not reaching their intended target because they were getting stuck in the mud. It was difficult to dribble, because of the mud. Merton’s trademark ‘pass and move’ football was difficult to execute…because of the mud.
With 19 minutes played, after an attempted Merton clearance failed, Athena were able to capitalise. When it came, their shot was to the bottom right of Max’s goal. It went in.
1-2 to FC Athena
Encouraged by coach Neal and watching parents, Merton kept their heads up and attempted to get back on level terms.
With 24 minutes played, the ball reached Maxwell on the left midway in his own half. He set off on a run and drifted past three Athena players before arriving in the Athena penalty area and unleashing a thunderbolt shot that went just wide of the right-hand post. Close!
Moments later the referee blew for half time. Still 1-2 to FC Athena.
The second half started with Merton kicking left to right and uphill.
After 2 minutes, Percy was able to get a shot away after some good Merton pressure.
His shot was saved.
After 4 mins, the match ball was so covered in mud that it had to be replaced. It’s not often that the match ball gets subbed off, but it happened today.
5 minutes in, after a turnover of possession, a fast break for Athena results in a low shot that hits Merton’s right-hand post. Athena are first to the loose ball and shoot again. Max makes another good save.
Bobby, Percy and Louis were working hard in midfield. It was not easy for them because of the mud. Both teams had to contend with the same conditions of course.
If there was a difference between approaches it was that Merton stuck to their footballing principles and always played out from the back always whereas Athena were more pragmatic. They were more willing to kick the ball long from their goalkeeper and try to build attacks from further up field. To be fair, they did also play out from the back.
Ollie and Harry had the difficult task of receiving the ball under pressure and then trying to find a good outlet pass each time. They did well in the conditions. Rio was also making his presence felt and a solid contribution to the team.
10 minutes played, Bobby had a shot that was saved.
14 minutes gone, Merton win a free kick. Bobby takes it and his shot is blocked.
The ball came to Maxwell who shot and hit the post.
After 15 minutes, after advancing on goal Percy shoots to the right- hand side of Athena goal. The bounce of the shot fools the goalkeeper and it is in!
Merton had worked hard to get back on level terms and their efforts had been rewarded. A draw would have been a fair result, but it wasn’t to be today.
After a few more chances for either side, Athena came away with the winner and all the points when their 24th minute shot trickled over the line to the bottom left of Max’s goal.
2-3 to Athena
Football can be cruel sometimes. Shortly after the re-start the referee blew the final whistle.
MOM – Bobby
Special shout-out to Joe and David who were both unable to play today.
Author: Mike Pitt
Video credit: Scott Dowsett
Merton 6s v Old Sals Reserves
With the manager back from a winter scouting trip in the alps, just in time for the 6s first home game in 2019. Mix start to the new year, with a loss and a win so far. Today’s test will be stern, with OSR fielding a very youthful, good passing team.
The 6s struggling with a few knocks and injuries, no Joe with a foot injury, Daban out with a knee injury, No Ty or Steve B means 6s are down to the bones. Niall K and Sam S answer the call and step in to help out
MQ in goal, and a back four of Kev, Tom, Mark, Steve H, midfield 3 of Phil, David and Ricky, leaving a forward line of Andy, Lewis and James E.
Game away with an early exchange, honours even for the opening 10 or so minutes, the pass and move of OSR is matched with a lot of aggression of the 6s, a few soft freekicks set the tone and the ref needs to speak to a few players.
First blood to OSR when a melee in the box results in Phil sliding to block a shot, the resulting rebound is then blasted at point blank range into the arm and a shouts for a penalty ensue, Ref has no doubt, even under protest that it’s a Pen, which is dispatched with MQ stranded on the line.
Rattled, 6s begin to put some passes together, however are open to the counter, OSR play some neat football, with pass and move through the middle and draw in the niggling fouls which breaks up the game. Making some headway, Lewis and David are both unlucky with shots from distant, but its still OSR that look the more threatening. In a break of play, Niall comes on for Phil whose struggling with a groin injury
OSR wins the ball outside there 18 yard, the exchange of passes bring them with in shooting range, a sideways pass sees a first time shot from 20 yards sail into the top corner, MQ had no chance.. 0-2
30 minutes gone and backs against the wall, the introduction of Niall brings some great long balls to the forward line, 6s are now making a bit of headway until Andy is judged to have given away a foul. Protesting his innocence only results in the ref sin binning for 10 minutes. OSR capitalise on this a stretch the score line further to 0-3 before halftime
Half time talk is a bit colourful, a change of Steve H for Sam S, sees Ricky drop back into right back, Sam slots into midfield with Niall, David now has the holding roll to go man to man.
The change up works well, Sam from KO takes the ball and slips pass 2 players, looking though he lost control, somehow drags the ball back and passes a further 2 players, now over stretching with his back to the goal, somehow regains control and slots james in for a 1v1 which ends just wide of the goal. DG snuffing out the link between the CAM and forward (and given away a few free kicks for being over enthusiastic with the tackles), Ricky at right back does his part, winning the 50/50s and playing out for the counter attack.
Finally the 6s are able to play the ball around, Ricky and Andrew down the right flank, bring in Lewis. The cross is deflected and Lewsi is there to nod in from close range, 1-3. A further change is needed, El cappo is blowing and makes way for Phil
Tails up, tackles in, bossing the game for the first time. Still end to end, but the 6s are clearly on top. Nails pulling the strings in the middle and Sam’s looking dangerous when on the ball, it’s like its glued to his foot!
Winning the battle in the middle is the key, Niall is feed the ball and he makes his way forward, the racking cross balls have been doing the damage, but this time from 35 yards (or so!) he unleash a left foot drive that catches the keeper flat footed and only able to watch as the ball sails top corner for goal of the day and brings the fight to 2-3
Still 20 minutes to go, 6s forced once again into another change, Ricky now is struggling with a hamstring, and Steve H is back on.
The game is now even, OSR are fighting their way back into the game, however, it’s a freekick to the 6s on their own 18 yard line, that shifts the power back to the oppo. Mark over passing the ball to a tired Kev, se’se the ball returned with interest and punished in the worse way, a few quick passes see MQ 1v1 and the scores increase to 2- 4
This takes the wind out the sails, Kev now struggling, swaps with DG, the changes are taking the toll as the formation is now suffering and OSR sucker punch the 6s and extend the lead 2-5.
Clock ticking down, 5 minutes to go, Niall is now in a heap in the corner with Cramp, removed from the game, Kev has to come back on and go up front. Phil now drops in a centre back, chappel left back, DG somewhere in the middle… it’s a bit of a miss mash affier. Still, with the confusion, Kev somehow finds a third wind and has a jolly up and finds himself in the box, takes the shot that the keeper pares, gets to the rebound which looks clearly over the line and is cleared by the defender, Ref waves play on, James manages to cross the ball back in to lewis who slots pass the stranded keeper and defender on the line, 3-5… and thw final kick of the game
Not a pretty game, but the woeful first half was the undoing of the 6s, coupled with the forced changes in the second half, Old Sal’s Res are worthy winners in the end, with some really good pass and move football
MOTM: A close vote with 4 people all on 1 vote and Ricky winging it as his now off to have a knee op and will be out for eh season, hoping he will make a full recovery and able to re-join us next season
DOTD: Although no one was nominated, it could have been Dobby for the sin bin, Chapple for the odd freekick pass to Kev, Phil for the pen! DG for saying at half time to stop giving away pointless free kicks and arguing with the ref… only to give away 2 free kicks and argue the with the ref in the opening minutes of the second half! Kev, for not running quick enough, MQ for the near post goal.. again, Chappell again for arguing with the ref about yellow cards and sin bins! Niall for asking if anyone has salt while in agony with cramp (everyone knows you only bring pepper to a game!!), and Daban for having a car that breaks down !!!!