Category: Match Reports 1s
Ibis Eagles 4 Merton FC 0
The final away game of the season for Merton, would see them travel towards the M4 and meet IBIS Eagles.
With only 3 games left in the season it’s a critical stage to get some points on the board, especially considering Merton have only managed to gain 4 points in 2018 and find themselves in a potential scrap to avoid relegation.
With the sun shining and a positive 4-4-2 formation, perhaps the away side could put on a performance and claim a crucial win.
The first half overall was an even affair, with Merton looking dangerous going forward and creating plenty of chances. However, there was a serious of quality on the ball with passes going astray and no real control in possession. This led to openings for the home side who were far more clinical.
A quick break from a loose pass lead to their opener and again before half time they took advantage with an almost carbon copy goal. 2-0.
The travelling team could certainly feel aggrieved that they were two goals behind, despite creating chances and having much of the play in the opposition half.
So with 45 minutes to play and certainly plenty of time to get back into the game, Merton needed a change of luck. But unfortunately non would be forthcoming.
Good running from Ackers and DQ up top, closely supported with Barry & Van on the wings, seemed a threat throughout the second half. But as the boars pressed the Eagles back four and created multiple chances to get back into the game, no goal was to be found.
On the other hand, IBIS were decisive, taking advantage of the away side loading players forward, they would stretch their lead to four with two breakaway goals. Although, the fourth and ultimately the final goal of the game easily two yards offside.
In all a very disappointing trip to West London; placing huge pressure on Tuesday night’s game against old foes HSBC.
Back to back away days for the boys in Yellow.
It was a rare away trip south of the river to Chiswick this Saturday as Merton took on Civil Service. Civi earlier in the season had effectively bullied the boars winning 3-1 and since had continued that winning form to be top of SAL Div 2.
Injuries meant the away side would bring no recognised centre forward and overall a tea, more known for its defensive capabilities than banging home the goals.
More worry before kick off as Harrison our trusty CB, was running late and now lost somewhere near the river. Carrying a BIG sore head following a successful trip to Infernos the evening before.
But let’s turn our attention to the game itself.
They say football is a game of two halves, but in the first 45 it seemed everything would be played down Merton’s left as Jordan and Glenn both tried to cope with heavy pressure from the home side.
We never really created much ourselves with more panic than precision when passing the ball forward. Yet despite one excellent save down to his left from Sherbs (in for the absent Siri), Service didn’t create any clear chances; just better territory and few glimpses of talent from their central midfielder.
Walking in from what had essentially become a bog, Merton could be very pleased with the result at half time. The boys had shown could fight and effort all over the pitch but would certainly hope to create more going forward.
The second half would be fiercely contested as either side knew one goal would probably be enough to nick it.
And it was the travelling team who nearly made the break through when James Gray played a ball down the channel to lone striker Sam Harvey, who it’s worth mentioning but in a great shift up front with very little service, beating the keeper to the ball only to find the side netting with his left foot from a tight angle.
Both sides were playing three in the middle of the park and it has to be said the Merton boys put in an incredible shift to numb the threat through the middle. As always Craig Usher ran his socks off to nullify their captain and Sam Pritchard did more defending than he’s probably done since he was a kid. I even saw win a header for the first time this season, incredible feat at only 6 feet 4.
Glenn consistently tried to add more of a threat going forward after having to put in a true defensive shift in the first half. And the back four were solid in front of Sherbs, as captain for the day ‘Rat’ (MOTM) communicated excellently and remained the most composed player with the ball at his feet.
So, with the game heading for a bore draw and running down to the final few minutes, Merton admittedly were under the cosh and had to make a number of substitutions due to injuries. Things weren’t helped when James suffered a rush of blood, taking a quick throwing on the edge of his own box mounting more needless pressure (DOTD please).
But all in all, a well fought draw away from home, before returning to the hood to take on Old Finchleians this Saturday.
Saturday saw the 1’s travel to HSBC looking to build on their victory a fortnight earlier.
Having been promised the best pitch we’ll play on all season, it was a disappointment when we turned up and it looked like it had housed a small farm during the week. Not to be perturbed by this shock development, we started well and went ahead thanks to some brilliant football. One touch interplay in midfield led to a through ball to Chaz who calmly finished in the bottom corner.
Shortly after we would go 2-0 up through the softest of soft penalties. A ball was played in to the box from the left hand side and Chaz rose the highest, so high in fact he headed the ball ten yards over the bar and crumbled in a heap next to the penalty spot. Nary a defender in site nor an appeal from anyone on our side, the referee, a young man with a clear desire to be involved in the game, awarded the penalty which Chaz would calmly despatch in to the bottom corner for his and Merton’s second.
This was as good as it would get unfortunately. After a fairly turgid 10 minutes, HSBC would work the ball in to our box and be awarded the softest of soft penalties that was even softer than the softest of soft penalties awarded to us minutes before. The referee, really, desperately keen to be involved in literally any way, gave a penalty due to an apparent foul by Crusher, who was some 5 yards away from the bloke who slipped and fell over. Siri would get close to the spot kick but not close enough. 2-1.
We had the best of the play from then until half time, only to be undone just before the half by a very strange goal. A ball played over the top was chased down by their left winger, closely followed by Rat who shepherded him to a fairly innocuous position heading towards the corner flag. In pure desperation their player would shoot harmlessly towards goal, only for Siri to politely watch the ball trickle in to the bottom corner, apparently feeling the ball was heading for a goal kick. Now, I’m no goal keeping expert but having spoken to Siri after the game this is apparently not what you’re supposed to do.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were even, with neither side able to create anything clear cut. It’s at this time, with the game hanging in the balance and the next goal crucial, the best chance of the game would unfortunately fall to our centre half. A corner came in from the right which the keeper only half cleared, the ball falling 35 yards out (or 6 yards out, hard to remember) which I would unfortunately blast somewhere close to Croydon with the whole goal gaping.
From there HSBC would score another 2 scrappy goals – one from a corner we did a poor job of clearing, and one from a cross James Gray passed to their man at the back post – and the game would finish 4-2. The only other drama was Van hurting his rib diving too hard. Get well soon.
Onwards and upwards!
The day started with a few surprises, Clappers was advised his ban had come through in time for him to miss this game and we realised that a number of people had pulled out the night before. We went from having 14 to the bare 11. Thankfully with a few choice calls we managed to rustle up a few of the old boys who aren’t always available. Snooks and Bosher joined us to make a squad that would certainly be in contention for our strongest in a long time. The bants was strong from the start and all the boys seemed upbeat. The warm up was odd having been left with a small, muddy patch of grass at the side of the pitch but it was sufficient to do the job.
The Merton Men started fast and were instantly on the front foot, creating chances up front from our dominating presence in the air by Chaz. Merton were attacking with purpose and fluidity that was causing trouble for Norsmen, particularly with any ball reaching Vanny and the super duo of Chaz and Charlie. We looked to have the rest of the team under control both in mid-field (even with “casual” /ugly/ Vegan Sam) and in defence. There wasn’t much threat from Norsmen but their best players were their centre mids who had nothing to pass to in their attacking third. It was on the cards from the start and not to disappoint, Chaz and Charlie exchanged a few good passes which resulted in Chaz smashing it in the back of the net from close range to take us 1-0. With some lax passing from Norsmen at the back, Charlie pressured well and forced an error, he was rewarded with an easy finish, but born out of good old fashioned workrate. Vanny continued to terrorise the left back with some support from Rat (with passes that showed he had been absent for a number of weeks). Did we miss Clappers presence on the pitch? Nope!
The first half went without much threat to us but we did try to even the odds by slide tackling on the edge of our area and on occasion in our penalty area, where we were lucky to escape a penalty award against us.
The second half started much like the first with Merton dominating in possession and creating attacking move after move. Suddenly, a flash point, their striker decided to react badly to losing the ball and thought the best way to demonstrate his discontent was to “step up” to Chaz, who stood his ground. The striker decided to lean in and attempt to head butt Chaz, in plain sight of the referee. Checking that the ref had seen the head butt, Chaz acted impeccably and held his arms out to show he had no intention of returning the physical contact, which was rewarded by a straight red card for the opposition. The rest of the half went from good to better, with Vanny marauding down the right wing creating chances for Jonny, Bosher and Charlie. One of the chances was converted, in the end it was a classic Vanny run down the right easily passing the left back and with cheeky step over glided past the centre back to provide a simple pull-back inside the 6 yard box for Bosher to finish neatly. Charlie scored another goal easily and then went extremely close with his third, with the ball bouncing off the post, stubbornly refusing to cross the line.
Snooks made a cameo appearance but thankfully avoided any unnecessary tackles and survived his first match in over a year.
A strong performance from the massive lads and a well-deserved 3 points.
W e were home to Polytechnic in the cup which in fact involved us playing away at their ground because
the Hood was very wet.
We had a strong squad of 14. Everyone was there in plenty of time, which doesn’t mean on time for Jonny
and Chaz, but still in plenty of time. The pitch was in good condition and the sun was out. What could go
We started well against a div 1 side who won the treble last year. They had us under pressure but we were
defending well. That quickly ended. Harrison fluffed a clearance against their midfielder which put him
clear behind our back line. Siri looked at him approaching, thought about coming, looked at him again,
thought about coming again, looked for a third time and then came. By now it was a 50/50 which ended
with the midfielder being upended and the ref awarding a penalty. Probably the only time in Siri’s everyday
life that he wished he’d come early.
Our stuttering star redeemed himself with a fantastic double save and we lived to fight another day. But
not for long!
About 15 minutes in Poly had yet another corner which again was brilliantly delivered. They hit the post
and then there was a goalmouth scramble which ended with a very hard shot from about four yards out.
I was stood on the line and instinctively lent towards the ball and then even more instinctively bent my
elbow, which the ball then hit. Penalty number two and a red card for me!
Siri didn’t save this one.
The rest of the half was a fantastic rearguard action. Browner stepped into centre back to superbly cover
both the loss of me and the seeming loss of Harrison’s ability. To be fair this was his first bad game in a
Merton shirt. Van dropped well in to right back, a sign of the future, and everyone ran their socks off. At half
time it was still just the 1-0 and we felt confident of more of the same in second period.
Unfortunately this confidence lasted no more than five minutes. Poly scored their second and the third
came a minute or two later. Not great times to concede and that was effectively our afternoon over.
Jimbo, Crusher, Jordan and Charlie ran themselves into the ground. Sam had a perfectly good goal disal-
lowed. Jonny and Charlie got clear a couple of times but couldn’t allude the Poly keeper . Glenn, Chaz and
Wilgo all came off the bench with the sort of enthusiasm that identifies true Merton men. Three or four
goals down with only 10 men but on they all bounded and made good contributions. Once piece of skill by
Glenn was roundly applauded by the Poly bench.
The game finished 6-0 but weirdly most left the field pleased with their performances and heads held high.
Team: Siri, Browner, Harrison, Clappers, Jordan, Jimbo, Crusher, Sam, Van, Charlie, Jonny. Subs: Glenn, Wilgo,
MOTM: Browner. DOTD: Clappers
Merton FC 2
So after last weeks successful trip to North London, the 1s returned home looking to build on the back of an excellent all round performance.
Norseman were a team who had been promoted the season before and similar to Merton, have had an up and down campaign lying just below the home side in the league.
The 1s couldn’t call upon last Saturday’s man of the match, Chaz. Missing out due to injury and unfortunately won’t be available for selection until closer to the New Year. On top of this both Vanny and Rat also were away this weekend, which led to a few changes and some new faces.
Florian and Hens both called up for their first appearances of the season, with the former starting on the right wing and Hens making an impact from the bench.
After switching to 4-4-2 at Old Fincheians, it was back to Clappers’ go to formation of 4-3-3, looking to win the battle in midfield and provide support for Charlie up top on his own.
Certainly, the coldest fixture of the season so far for the boys, with Harrison warming up in a large overcoat and big woolly hat; but they’d soon warm up running around on a heavy surface at the Hood.
The first half was very much a war of attrition, with neither side wanting to hand over any sort of advantage to the opposition. The away side looked to put some pressure on the Merton back four with the best play coming from their centre mids and a marauding centre half. However, they never created any clear chances as the home side again demonstrated why they have the best defence in the league. Browner showing he’s a fully converted full back winning his headers and getting up and down the wing well, the same could be said for Jordan on the left who linked well with Johnny and was able to start a number of Merton attacks. Not to mention the great effort and running in midfield from Craig Usher who displays similarities of the Duracell bunny.
Overall, the first 45 minutes was a tale of poor quality in the final third and a number of very niggly fouls across the pitch. No surprises it was 0-0 heading into the break.
After a positive team talk at half time from Clappers, the boys knew the game was for the taking, needing to keep better possession of the ball and continue to frustrate the opposition.
Despite Norseman coming out for the second half positively, it would be Merton who broke the deadlock on the 55th minute mark. The home side had had some success last weekend with set pieces and their opener made it look all too easy. A free kick near the half way line was lobbed to the back post by Jimbo (no sign of the hat this week) finding Clappers unmarked with a great header back across goal for Charlie to grab his fourth in as many games from 2 yards out.
It was a great time to take the lead but there was a lot of time left and the away side felt they were well in with a chance just the one behind. The next goal would be crucial.
And it would be the boys in yellow who not long after taking the lead would double their advantage. Maybe no surprise that it was from a dead-ball situation, but there were plenty of shocked faces in the manner of how it came. A freekick just over 20 yards out, with Jimbo stood over the top of it, who the week before had something similar and let’s just say the ball is still rising. However, this week the result would be emphatic as a crisp strike saw the ball serve and fly into the top corner in off the post. TOP BINS!
An excellent way to pull further clear of Norseman and take away a lot of their sprit. The remaining half an hour saw a far more open game, with credit to Siri who made a number of great saves down to his right to keep Merton’s advantage to two. Hens came off the bench to provide a really solid outlet on the right-hand side and no shock that Charlie was industrious in his running, even helping out in defence.
Unfortunately, the game ended on a slightly sour note, with Norseman having a player sin binned for the last 10 and another booked for a shocking tackle on Charlie. Yet nothing would spoil another fantastic team display and yet more 3 points for the home team who climb to fifth in the table.
Squad: Siri, Browner, Harrison, Clappers, Jordan, Jimbo, Usher, Willow, Florian, Johnny, Charlie, Hens
MOM: Jimbo for the freekick
DOD: Jimbo for celebrating his freekick like Cantona
1s v Wandsworth Borough AFA Surrey/Kent Cup
We didn’t know what to expect in this game. WB had beaten Old Parks in the last round. Some of my other football friends play for Old Parks and always tell me how good they are. Yikes!
We played really well in the first half and went in at half time 1-0 up. New guy Aaron, well he’s not new because he plays for the 4s but he was new to us but you know what I mean, scored our goal with a cheeky lob. Aaron’s like a younger, better looking, version of me.
I got kicked and pushed over a lot in the first half. I wish Al was still here to look after me.
WB came out much better in the second half and we were nowhere near our first half levels. This meant we were 2-1 down after 20 minutes. We played better in the last 25 minutes but couldn’t break WB down.
I thought I played well but I got DOTD for trying a scissors kick. I’m the only person in the team that could pull this sort of skill off. Well maybe Aaron “the younger, better me” could.
Sorry it’s short but I’m not very funny or great with words.
Ivan Gladkow aged 34 3/4
Team: Siri, Rat, Harrison, Clappers, Browner, Jimbo, Crusher, Sam H, Me, Charlie, Aaron. Subs: Will Low and Chaz
1s Match Report – 18th Nov 2017 – Away vs Old Fincheians FC
Another away game in very north London. There are always a few complaints about the 1.5 hr travel time, but I’m pretty sure that in reality no one has anything better to do. And it allows the potential for a multi-stop stop drinking tour on the way back down the Northern Line if a win eschews, so its hardly all bad. A strong incentive to get a victory if ever I heard one.
After 20 minutes of Arsenal vs Spurs in the host’s bar, we headed to get ready. In an oddly coloured light-pink dressing room, Clapper’s decided an old-fashioned 4-4-2 was the way to go on a narrow, long pitch. Chaz got his wish to start up-front as part of a heavy weight combination with Charlie, but one that has more pace than you would expect looking at them. Rather than try to match the strength of their big, blond lad in central midfield, the decision was taken to back the agility and dancing skills of the sub-6 foot duo of Big-Hat Jimbo and Usher (yeah, yeah). They would have to cover the ground of the usual 3 men between them.
We spent the team talk reminding ourselves of how to play 4-4-2, a formation that has nose-dived out of fashion to a similar level as Clapper’s wardrobe. I was a little sceptical about the plan. But in fairness, it worked very nicely indeed in the first half. Their centre backs, maybe used to marking one upfront most of the season, could not handle our front two. They were able to receive balls to feet/ chest, turn and slot through balls into either one another or the wingers. At the other end, the old man defence (average age 34, even with mid-twenties cube-head that is Harrison it in) was holding out well enough, aided by Jordan playing more like a left wing back at times and covering an awful lot of very wet ground in the process.
An early one on one chance was spurned by Charlie after an excellent Chaz turn and through ball, but we eventually got our deserved lead. A hard, low cross from the right by someone was met by a sliding threesome (and it was an excellent day for a slide) of Charlie, Jordan and one of their defenders. Jordan is honest enough to admit it was not him that got on the end of it, Charlie is not, but I think we all know that it was the defender that actually applied the tidy finish. About ten minutes later and we were two up: a splendid free kick delivery to the far post from Big-Hat Jimbo was pulled back by a sliding Chaz to arrive at Clappers feet who duly slotted it away.
Half time was spent reminding ourselves that we had put in a similarly good first half the previous week and ended up losing. Perhaps as a result, we scored a third shortly after the break when Jordan put away another good right wing cross. But we had only delayed the on-set of complacency and in a 15 mins period we went from comfortably coasting at 3-0 up to nervously hanging on at 3-2. The first of their goals came from a quick-ish-ly taken corner that arrived at a completely unmarked Finchleian. Siri did well to keep out the initial header but could do nothing about the rebound. No one was eager to admit the lapse of marking, so lets just blame it on Van – it was probably his fault somehow.
Their second was also poor defensively. A high ball should have been cleared, but ended up with their left winger who bore down on goal. Everyone was expecting Rat to throw in a tackle at some point, but it never came – apparently a Shakira standard hip sway from the winger was the cause. The finish into the far post left Siri with little chance.
While it was a bit nervy after that point, we did manage to pull out of the tailspin and actually had the better chances for the rest of the game. With just about the last kick of the ball, a goal shaped cherry was put on top of the cake. Someone did a very good job of closing down the keeper, the attempted clearance rebounded off him and into Charlie’s path, who cooly slotted home. More finishes like that would be appreciated for the rest of the season.
Credit goes to Old Finchleians’ hospitality. The club house does not look up to much. But it has very good hot showers that were thankfully received on a cold, dark, wet day and it serves an excellent tea (sausages, beans, hash browns – a double helping for Chaz, obv). A good start to the multi-stop celebratory drinking tour that duly took place. Pit-stops were taken at Kentish Town and Waterloo before arriving at Earlsfield.
Coming out worse from the drinking games were probably Harrison (who is only slowly getting better at them) and Chaz (not EJ’ing an 8 pint jug early in an evening is really school boy). Someone anointed them as Merton’s Bebop and Rocksteady, and I doubt that duo were very good at drinking games either. Marks also go to (i) Clappers for starting a game of categories with “Numbers under 20, to my right, starting with 20” (Doh!), and (ii) Jordan’s attempted ‘disguise’ so his TfL employers don’t recognise him during the shinangans on the Tube.
Drinking continued with the help of Todt’s birthday celebrations. One of those post-win sessions that ends with everyone slurring how much they love everyone else (or was that just me). Sore heads the next day, but worth it. There is a high quality spirit in the squad at the moment and it feels like this win could be the start of a push up the league as long as the right people keep on making themselves available. So watch this space.
MoM: Chaz. Faced by his towering performance, their centre backs didn’t really know what to do. Could this be the start of a great Merton centre-forward career? A nod goes to Clapper’s two-up front call and to the centre mids for making it work. Jimbo managed to pull out a cracking game after one of the worst training session performances I have seen earlier in the week.
DoD: Browner. 3 votes were enough as no obvious candidates were available. Two votes were harshly given for a foul throw. One much more justifiably for a ludicrous attempted 30 yard full-back to full-back cross-field ball that was beautifully visualised but not so beautifully executed. Don’t think I have ever tried one of those before in a 10+ year Merton career, and I might leave it in the locker for a while after this. But at least you benefit from a semi-literate match report rather than Van struggling to do it again.
Saturday saw the 1’s take on The Warren in the SAL Cup. After a disappointing result the week before it was pivotal for the lads to get back on track with a win against a team struggling in the league below.
Merton dominated possession early on without creating any clear cut chances. The central midfield trio of James, Crusher and the other person that played in midfield got themselves on the ball as frequently as possible and broke up play when required. Woody, playing up top for the first time all season, was industrious with his runs in behind and his physical play in the air. However, the majority of Merton’s good play came out wide. Van, struggling for pace in his old age, relied on guile and experience to beat their below average left back and whip in crosses, and EJ dribbled, dribbled, dribbled and dribbled until he could dribble no more.
Despite having the majority of the play, Merton would eventually fall behind. A cross was whipped in from the right and their striker turned past Harrison’s flailing leg and finished neatly in to the top corner.
Unperturbed by this sudden injustice, the lads continued pushing forward and would eventually get the breakthrough before half time after a smart finish by Van. It’s been a few days since the game so I can’t remember much about the winning goal, however I know Charlie scored it to break his duck for the season and it happened in the second half.
The last 25 minutes saw us sit back and try to sit out the game; a ploy that only worked thanks to the heroics of Siri who made 2 or 3 excellent saves to make sure we could avoid extra time and advance to the next round.
MOM – Siri: kept us in the game in the second half
DOD – Harrison: jealousy of my good lucks and talent
Crouch End Vampires 1 – 0 Merton FC
This weekend saw the 1s make their third lengthy trip to north London against bottom of the table Crouch End Vampires. The game represented a great opportunity for the lads to gain three points and move up to fourth in the table after a number of decent league performances that so far had only led to five points.
The team welcomed back the likes of Jordan Cox and Harrison Ryle into the starting 11 after missing the game at Oilers and it was a first appearance for Gabby starting on the right wing.
Possibly because of Storm Brian the weekend before, the groundsman clearly hadn’t got round to giving the pitch a well needed trim; as it represented something like Chris Waddle’s mullet back in the 80s.
During the early parts of the first half it was a messy encounter with neither team really getting the ball under control and producing any signs of true quality. Crouch End in particular seemed to set up with no real structure in front of the standard back four, but it meant they were pressing high up the pitch and not allowing Merton to move the ball around in their usual style.
With the game quite frantic, it lead to few chances but without doubt it was the home side that enjoyed the better of play and created the better openings. A number of pop shots from 20 yards not finding the target. However, after a sloppy pass from James Gray in the middle of park just before the half time whistle, the Vampires had a real sight of goal only to be denied by a great last-ditch block from Harrison seeing the ball go wide of the post.
At half time the travelling side knew they had to produce something better if they were going to get anything out of the game. But it wasn’t the worst result to come in at half time 0-0.
The start of the second half certainly saw an improved Merton side who were having better possession in the right areas of the pitch and restricting the home team to very few chances. Much down to the work of Harrison and Rat on the right side of the defence.
On the hour mark, with Merton trying to press down the left channel an interception and subsequent long ball had the away side backpedalling. It was Gray who chased his man into the corner flag but with a rush of blood hacked him down giving a needless freekick; also receiving a yellow card. From the resulting cross it was The Vampires captain who leapt highest, as he had done throughout the game, to header home the opener.
It was real blow for the visitors who had been better in the second half but a fully deserved lead for the home side.
The remaining stages of the game were much more open as Merton pushed for an equaliser and Crouch End playing on the counter attack finding more space.
With around ten minutes to go a great piece of play from Sam Pritchard sees him bring the ball down on his chest and attempt a lob on the volley from the edge of the box. It looked certain to find the net but a great fingertip save onto the underside of the bar kept the Vampires ahead.
Unfortunately, for the travelling team the game petered out with the result remaining 1-0 to Crouch End who secured their first win of the season.
Man of the Match: Harrison Ryle. Made several important challenges
DOTD: James Gray. THAT TACKLE!
Line Up: Siri, Rat, Harrison, Clappers, Jordan, Gray, Sam Harvey, Sam Pritchard, Gabby, Ivan & EJ
Subs: Browner and Adam