Merton 0-2 Bank of England

It was the second game of the New Year on Saturday and a trip back to the Hood for the first team.

The visitors were old rivals Bank of England, who had returned to division two following relegation last year. However, they were sitting in third place and having a decent season thus far.

Overall, the first half was an extremely cagey affair with not too much to write home about. Both teams defended well and there wasn’t a whole host of chances. Until the final phase of play, where Van has the ball fall to him 12 yards out only to blaze it over the bar.

The first goal was always going to be critical in game like this and after 70 minutes it went to the away side. Good play from their winner who split Rat and Jimbo before squaring it to the striker to tap home.

Following that the game was far more open. Bank tried to exploit the space that opened up as Merton tried to push for the equaliser. They were more chances including a good strike from substitute Joe, a terribly tame free kick from Jimbo and another miss from Van.

Less than 10 to play and the game was put to bed. 2-0. Jimbo tried to volley away a high ball down the channel, only managing to clear the ball over his own and perfectly playing in their striker.

A day to forget for the newly converted centre half.

No game this Saturday.

Team: Sherbs, Rat, Jimbo, Browner, Max, Josh, Sam, Josh F, Van, George, Jamie

Subs: Woody, Clappers Joe

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The Saturday morning was bright and crisp as the Merton contingent made their way across the capital to North West London. Awaiting them was the impressive Hive Sports facilities, usually home to Barnet FC but today it was to host the gladiatorial encounter of Merton FC and NUFC Oilers.

The squad arrived with a bright, New Year optimism despite a mixed run of form. The usual stimulating conversation lit up the changing room; everything from consumer advice on sock purchases to insincere apologies for the toxic stench emanating from cubicle two.

The Merton team lined up in the tried and tested 4-3-3 formation with a balance of pace and strength. The first half was a fairly even encounter with Merton nullifying the creativity of the talented NUFC midfield and the back four standing resolutely to the physical prowess of the NUFC front line. The deadlock was broken through a first half goal from Josh who burst forward from midfield and after some slick link up play with George, slid it past the 6 ft 4 NUFC goalkeeper.

NUFC hit back almost instantly with a 25 yard strike that hit under the side of the bar. The away fans went silent as the ref looked down at his watch… VAR ruled no goal and the game carried on.

After more waves of pressure, NUFC scored an equaliser. Truth be told, I can’t remember an awful lot about the goal but as I recall there was a good save from Sherbs and there player turned home the rebound. This could be completely wrong.

The second half was a far more drab affair with certain members of the team blowing a little harder than normal due to a lavish Christmas break. Despite this, the Merton team defended extremely well across the pitch and special mention goes to man of the match Max who despite setting up their striker in the 85th minute, defended with honour and deserved the title of MoM.
DoD (yours truly) worked so hard during the match he forgot what the score line was and it wasn’t until he tried to push the team into an ‘all out attack’ mentality that Browner reminded him that we were drawing 1-1 and not in fact losing 2-1.  

All in all, a very good point earned against a good team a long way from home. Up the Merton.

Sherbs, Max, Browner, Jimbo, Rat, Sam Harvey, Josh FS, Joe Grew, George, Jamie, Ivan subs: Jonny (ht for Van), Clappers (unused)

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Merton 3   EBOG 1 (HT 3-0)

This was a cracking performance and win for our first team against a very good EBOG side who were unbeaten in the league so far and looking very likely to go back to the first division at the end of the season.

They started very slowly and we created some good opportunities and took the lead after about 15 mins. This was a deft Jimbo back heal from a Jonny cross. Soon after their left back decided to take the ball past George who took the ball off him and crossed for Jonny to score. Then just before half time we had a really good passing move down the left which seemed to have broken down and was half cleared to the other wing where Max fed Josh who finished decisively to make it an improbable 3-0. During the later stages of the first half EBOG had settled and played some good football carving a few good openings and missing them although I seem to recall that they got their taste for hitting the crossbar.

The second half got under way with EBOG scoring far too early for comfort and playing some good passing football. We defended resolutely, Scott and Browner at the heart of the defence with Max and Jordan doing well on the wings. EBOG created some great chances and were very unlucky and the crossbar came to our aid on at least three more occasions. But we carved out a terrific opportunity to make it four with a slick quick passing movement but Jonny shot narrowly wide. Isaac came on For Jordan with Vanny proving effective at full back and Isaac’s fresh legs working some relief. And we held out.

This was a good all round team performance and everyone put in a good shift with Josh playing a captain’s innings and being Man of the Match. In fairness you could make out a good case for almost all of our players.

EBOG looked a really good side and should in all probability be promoted at the end of the season. They were well organised and had three or four really good players who pulled the strings. They lacked alittle bit of discipline but I understand their frustration as they did not have much luck all afternoon. The ref had a good game,  it was not easy and gave them a good share of free kicks. But they got on his back and picked up a sin bin. Still a great result for Merton and a great team effort.

Team: Sherbs (GK), Jordan, Browner, Scott, Max, Josh (Capt), Jimbo, Joe, Vanny, Jonny, George Sub Isaac for Jordan .

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Merton 1 – 2 Old Finchleians

After a very frustrating 2-2 draw away to HSBC last week, the boars 🐗 welcomed Old Finchleians to the hood on Saturday.

The home side were keen to revenge their defeat in the cup earlier this season. A game in all honesty the team from North London won comfortably.

The first half was a competitive affair with both sides showing signs of intensity and will to win. However, it was Merton who would take the lead after 35 minutes.

Jimbo and Josh with some good play on the edge of the box, before an excellent back heel from the latter saw young George through on goal. He didn’t disappoint. 1-0 Merton at the break.

To be honest, the home side didn’t start the second half with as much intensity as they’d shown in the first 45, allowing Old Finchleians more of the ball. But without really creating any chances.

After 60 minutes it remained competitive with chances harder to come by. Only a few things of note, such as Jimbos huge fresh air kick #DOD!

With 10 to go and despite a fair amount of pressure it looked like Merton would hold on for a well deserved victory and important 3 points.

But, unbelievably the away side levelled direct from a corner. No foul on the keeper, just a lot of wind! Two weeks in a row!

And then with the last kick of the game, it was a needless hack from Scott 25 yards out to give the visitors a chance to win the game with the last kick from a set piece. Cruelly the forward strikes a pure shot in corner and the spoils head again to north London.

Real disappointment for Merton, who still can’t believe they lost that game.

Starting 11:
Sherbs, Rat, Harrison, Scott, Max, Jimbo, Josh, Pritch, George, Ivan, Jamie

Subs: Woody, Joe, Glen

Mom: George
Dod: Jimbo (undeserved as always)

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The 1st team have had a difficult start to the season with many challenging away days, depleated squads and tough cup draws, so it was refreshing to have a week off, be back at the Hood and to look around the changing room to see a strong mix of boars regulars and marque summer signings.

 

However, the optimisium was short lived, with the opposition NUFC Oilers (off the back of two wins a draw in the league) seemly not having read from the same script. Within minutes the Oiler’s had created their first chance, breaking through the midfield, before drawing a smart near post save from the recently called up Serbs. From the resulting corner their number 14 had a free header at the back post which hit the bar twice. For the next 20 minutes this was the pattern of play. Oiler’s pressing high, Merton giving away possession, Oiler’s shoot – Sherb’s saves, Oiler’s corner – free header no14 – Sherbs save. Repeat. 

 

Sherbs having been called up from the 2’s due to an injury to our normally ‘very quiet’ regular keeper, made five or six goal saving stops in the first 20 minutes and kept the boars in the game. His performance was Hugo Loris esq (think World Cup winner not the Spursy lad).

 

A counter attack led by Rat, a driving run down the wing by attacking forward George and some fantastic no 9 hold up play from new signing Jamie led to Merton going one nil up against the run of play. George with the goal and Jamie with assist.

 

With the Boars having not only weathered the storm but also snatching a goal Clappers made the call for an early sub and Josh was introduced to anchor the midfield and disrupt their centre forwards. This didn’t pay dividends   Immediately as Oiler’s countered from a  Merton corner a pulled a cheap goal back. 1-1.

 

Before the half was over Merton had got a strong foothold in the game and just before the half time whistle some exquisite play in the centre of park from Woody released George who terrorised their left back before getting off a crossshot which was only half cleared. Jamie latched onto the defensive error and finished, in off the post, to give Merton the lead going into the break. 2-1 Merton. Jamie goal.

 

At this point Oiler’s heads were gone. A few strong boars challenges early in the second half and the Oiler’s were mouthing off. Unfortunately for them, the referee who had good game, did not like it and sent one of their whingers off for a 10 minute sin bin.

 

During this period it was time for Merton to kill the game off and what better chance than a soft penalty won by Merton’s usual penalty taker and all round nice guy Woody. Of course, nothing in football is that simple and overcame Josh to take the ball off Woody and step up to take the penalty. It was a fantastic penalty … low, hard, bottom right but I’m telling you now the Hood won’t see a better save this season! Ridiculous tip round the post from a clearly in form keeper.

 

Merton were the better team second half with H and Browner having nullified the attacking threat of Oiler’s centre forwards. Jamie, who led the line well all game, bagged his second on about the 75th minute mark when he instinctively pounced on a loose knock down in the area to finish and compete a brace.

 

Merton shut up shop and were not under much pressure until the 93rd minute when Sherb’s went from World Cup Hugo to Spurs Skipper with a soft goal kick straight to their striker who slotted. 3-2 Final Score.

 

MOTM – Jamie. Two very good goals and an assist.

DOTD – Josh. Saved penalty.

 

Boars on the march….. contenders by Christmas. Watch this space.

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Merton @ Old Parks 2 – 4

 

More knockout football for the boars this week as they met Old Parks in the AFA cup.

 

Yet again this meant a commute to Ilford. Is there are an amateur club in the land that spends more time travelling to away games? 

 

Old Parks posed serious opposition from the league above. 

 

Merton with a much changed team from last Saturdays defeat; saw Jack and Cookie come into defence with a rare central midfield cameo for Ivan and Max. Also, good to see another debut as Dan made his first appearance up top.

 

During a very competitive first half the away side felt hard done by to be 2-1 down at the break. Originally taking the lead from a Jimbo corner and after a few deflections, Max was on hand to slot home from 5 yards. His first goal for the club. However, mistakes in midfield and a rebound from a free kick, meant the home side would be ahead after 45.

 

Merton felt this game was by no means over and were keen to test their opponents in the second half. Consistently  a threat from set pieces it resembled somewhat of an England side from the summer. But it would be a third goal for Old Parks after 60 minutes that left a lot of work to do. And it could have been worse if Siri hadn’t made a brilliant penalty save following a handball from Jack that Nadal would’ve been proud of.

 

With 20 to play, Max bagged his second with a bullet header again from a Jimbo corner, setting up a great finale. Despite constant pressure and big chances, the home team were still a threat on the break and as they had been all afternoon were clinical when scoring a fourth. Assisted by Jimbos fresh air kick. 

 

Unfortunately, it’s another loss for the 1s but with a bye week upcoming, the boys can be refreshed for their next league fixture. 

 

Score: 2-4 

Mom: Max 

DOTD: Jimbo

 

Team: Siri, Cookie Jack, Harrison, Browner , Gabby, Max, Jimbo, Ivan, George, Dan

 

Big thanks to Jordan Cox who came back from Manchester to watch but ended up playing 20 minutes 💪

 

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1s away v Old Finchelians – SAL Cup – 13.10.18

0 – 3

The day started with a pleasant trip up the Northern from Balham with Jimbo, Pritch and Harrison. We discussed whether we thought we could survive a plane crash into the sea, the height of the Shard, what a good player Phil Foden was and what an adventurer, his namesake, Ben Foden is. For information it’s Ben Fogle boys, not Foden.

It was during this journey that I realised I’d only brought one boot with me!!

Everyone arrived in plenty of time, even George, and we had time for a relaxing chat on the veranda. Luckily, amongst the relaxing, Stubbsy decided to get his kit ready and discovered that I hadn’t brought the socks! Thankfully there was a Sports Direct 10 minutes away and off Siri and I went with Jimbo’s request of “Can you buy yellow ones so they match by blister prevention socks”. “Shut up Jimbo I’ll get whatever colour they’ve got 13 pairs of” was by edited response! Whatever you think of Mike Ashley, you can’t beat 13 pairs of socks for £32.50. Thanks big man, I owe you one.

So at 13:50 we were set to take the field in our fetching new white socks. I’d always planned new socks for this game but not in these circumstances.

With a minute gone Old Fs played a ball over the top which Harrison, 40 yards from goal, dealt with easily. Oh hang on, no he didn’t, he somehow managed to kick it out for a corner. A well delivered corner, a ducking Joe Greeeeewwww at the near post and an unmarked Old F at the back post and we were 1-0 down.

For the next 10-15 minutes we were all at sea and only a couple of very good Siri saves, followed up by his usual Tourettes outburst, kept us in the game. After this we found our feet and competed well but with five minutes to go we conceded a second to go in at half time 2-0 down.

We were much better in the second half and forced their keeper into 2-3 very good saves but didn’t really look like we’d crawl back the deficit. Then with about 10 minutes to go Old Fs scored their third with a very well worked goal.

A disappointing result but again some encouraging signs from the youngsters and newcomers.

Old Fs were a significantly improved team from last season and deserved the victory. They’re also a good bunch and even bought us a jug in the bar.

The good thing about losing miles away from home is that you’ve got a good hour and a half to feel sorry for yourself on the way back. We managed to offset the dispair with a few pints on the way home and then another excellent round of the This is the Merton Quiz at the Hood.

Team: Siri, Joe Greeeewwwww, Harrison, Browner, Max, Stubbsy, Jimbo, Pritch, George, Jamie and EJ. Sub: Clappers

MOTM: Max Carveth

DOTD: Clappers (Me!!)

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The 1’s welcomed HSBC to The Hood on Saturday looking to bounce back after a miserable 2-1 defeat away at EBOG the weekend prior (spoiler, we didn’t bounce back).

We arrived 90 minutes before kickoff to soil the pitch and do our best to avoid any broken ankles. A good job all around.

The level of commitment translated in to the first half performance as we came out with high energy and dominated possession. We should have been ahead at the half having created numerous opportunities and HSBC having very little play in our half.

Confidence was high at half time as we rightly felt they were there for the taking, and the domination continued for the first 20 minutes with Van, Ackers and George all causing problems. Unfortunately we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net and were made to pay midway through the first half when HSBC won a free kick just to the left our 18 yard box.

The ball was whipped in and I volleyed it in the top corner. Not much more to say really. There was some controversy as one of their players was drinking water on the pitch as the cross came in. An unusual, illegal tactic, but one the ref failed to spot nonetheless.

We had two glorious opportunities before the end of the game. The first fell to beardy Sam when the keeper brilliant saved his free header 8 yards out. The second fell to George right at the death which was again brilliantly saved at a tight angle.

We travel to Ally Pally this weekend looking to get our first points of the season. Onwards. 

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Merton 1-2 EBOG

Please excuse the brevity of this report but I’m having to write it in a hurry as our DOTD, Siri, hasn’t done it. Further cementing his DOTD status.

A long trip to High Barnet, it never gets any closer, was made longer for Siri, Jimbo and Harrison because Siri had left his football boots at work. Why wouldn’t you leave your boots at work on a Friday? DOTD was written in the stars.

The slope on the pitch at EBOG tends to dictate tactics a bit and when it’s rock hard and windy those tactics tend to get confirmed. Play over and around whichever poor sod is full back up the slope and work from there.

After an even first half we went in 0-0 and were pretty please. In fact we were very please having lost 11-0 the week before and given EBOG were relegated from Div 1 last season.

The second half started well but then we conspired to gift EBOG two goals. One down the right, after Ciaran (Dennis Irwin) stepped on the ball, and there full back crossed for the forward to get in front of an uncharacteristically slow Browner.

The second goal confirmed our man Siri’s DOTD vote as he miss hit his goal kick along the floor straight to their centre forward who turned and smashed it back over his head from 30 yards. Siri explained he didn’t jump for it because he knew he was beaten. We are still wondering why he didn’t jump for it!!

EBOG then had a man sent off for a head butt. A silly thing to do as he was their best player but also because it was into Browner’s shoulder. Sadly they coped with 10 men better and we didn’t have the wit to break them down.

We got our consolation goal with a minute to go. A great corner from Jimbo, lucky as the one before was dreadful, and a good header from DQ.

A draw would’ve been fair but life’s not fair.

 

Siri, Joe Grew, Harrison, Clappers, Browner, Jimbo, Pritch, Akram, Tom Rowe, DQ, George. Sub: Ciaran

Scorer DQ, assist Jimbo.

MOTM: Joe Grew

DOTD: Siri

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21st April 2018

Merton 0 v Old Actonians 2

The day got off to a bad start as our ref didn’t turn up. Thankfully the 6s referee was happy to do a second game and even better news, or so we thought, was that he was the guy who’d refereed our midweek game and was very good.

We started the game very well and you wouldn’t have been able to guess which side was fighting off relegation, us, and which was going to win the league, them. Within the first 15 minutes they’d not had a shot on goal and we’d had two efforts cleared off the line. Then the day went to pot!

One of their players handled the ball in the box. The referee put his whistle to his mouth. Everyone waited for the inevitable penalty but the ref didn’t blow! Minutes later Actonians attacked, Harrison went to clear, had his heals clipped from behind, but again the ref didn’t blow. They chipped in a cross, I tried to head over the bar but sent the ball into the far corner. 1-0 to Actonians and to rub salt in Snooks was sent to the sin bin for shouting “You’re joking ref”. If that sort of appeal, in the heat of the moment, is a sin bin offence then football’s gone mad.

Minutes later it was 2-0. A corner was sent in right under Sherbs’ cross bar. He jumped, got two hands on the ball, and was barged into by the Actonian player. He dropped the ball and they scored from a yard. The referee explained he didn’t have two hands on the ball and that the Actonian player had got to it first. This didn’t make sense because if he had he’d have scored but also Graham Poll helpfully heaped on the misery for me on Sunday, whilst I was watching Chelsea v Southampton, by explaining that “if the keeper is off the ground in the six yard box and is touched by an opposition player it’s an immediate free kick”.

This injustice further galvanised the team and we continued to play out the rest of the game as the better side but couldn’t find the breakthrough.

I was sent to the sin bin for the last five minutes for being sarcastic to the ref. Justified based on the new rules and the warning he’d just given me but whilst I was off the pitch an Actonians’ player thought he was fouled, ran five yards, took out Pritch halfway up his shin, from behind, in retaliation and got a yellow card and stayed on the pitch.  Football has definitely gone mad!

A depressing day and now we’ve got a must win on Saturday to stay up.

Pritch was deservedly MOTM, imagine where we’d be if he’d played more than a quarter of the season, and I was deservedly DOTD.

Sherbs, Jimbo, Harrison, Clappers, Browner, Will Low (Gresty 70), Pritch, Snooks, Van (Wilgo 70), Ackers, DQ (Josh FS 15)

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