Category: Match Reports 4s
Merton 4s vs. Actonians Association 7s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 24th November 2018
Following last week’s draw at home to West Wickham, it was another home game for the 4s in the form of Actonians Association 7s.
Having reviewed last week’s result something has to be done formation wise. As a collective, we opted for a 3-5-2 formation. The back 3 consisted on John Gridley, Joe Plumridge and Darren Avey with yours truly (Ed Plaistow) and Thomas Murphy taking up the roles of left and right wing back respectively. The midfield three was made up of Andrew Stears (start Full deserves following last week’s man of the match performance), Roman Bilivskyi and Andrew Minkevich. The strike force was made up of Denys Zhurbiy and new recruit Isaac Ssebugwawo. Callum Fisher arrived last so had to settle for a place on the bench.
The game started well with Merton on the front foot from the off. It wasn’t until half hour mark however that we manage to grab our first goal of the game. Isaac, causing a nuisance in the box was clipped and as a result the referee pointed to the point. Up stepped Denys to convert under the keeper into the bottom left. 1-0 and that’s how it remained going into the break.
We kept the formation and personnel the same going into the second period. The plan was to pick up where we left off in the first half, however this was not the case. A lapse in defence allowed the visitors the chance to equalise which they did with ease following a 4-on-2 situation in favour of Actonians.
It wasn’t long until we regained the lead, Romans right footed half-volley squeezing under the keeper. Once again, Actonians upped the ante and managed to equalise for the second time in the game. I can’t remember in what fashion they did but they did!
Fortunately that was as much as Actonians had as it was all Merton from then on.
With 30 minutes to go Merton took advantage of the game. Roman played a delightful ball from left to right which was met by the skipper. The control of the ball was Messi-esque however the finish…..words won’t do it justice! Having beat the left back a composed left-footed finish from all of 20-25 yards beat the keeper….he might have rushed out leaving the goal gapping but the finish was of the highest quality! (Not to blow my own trumpet).
3 soon became 4 when Darren Avey got on the scoresheet, bundling home following John Gridley’s header back across goal. That goal was followed up with a 4th from Isaac and then a 5th from Andrew Minkevich.
All in all it was a great team performance and one we hope we can take into next weekend’s game away to Polytechnic 6s where we hope to better the 1-1 draw from the previous meeting.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 6 – 2 Actonians Association 7s
SCORER(S): Denys Zhurbiy (pen), Roman Bilivitskiy, Edward Plaistow, Darren Avey, Isaac Ssebugwawo, Andrew Minkevich
MOTM: Andrew Minkevich
DOTD: Edward Plaistow
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Darren Avey, Thomas Murphy, Edward Plaistow, Roman Bilivitskiy, Andrew Minkevich, Andrew Stears, Denys Zhurbiy, Isaac Ssebugwawo (Callum Fisher)
Merton 4s vs. West Wickham 6s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 17th November 2018
Following a break from league action last weekend, this weekend we welcomed West Wickham to Joseph Hood.
With the 5s having defeated them earlier in the season (albeit against 10 men) and us having defeated the 5s already this season, on paper this should have been a routine three points, everyone knows however that football doesn’t work in that way…
With KO delayed by 5 minutes due to the opposing keeper running late, it gave us that little extra time to discuss the best formation possible. We opted to line up in a 4-4-2 formation with Kieran in goal, from right to left the defence was made up Ed Plaistow, John Gridley, Joe Plumridge and Thomas Murphy, the midfield from right to left was Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich and Lewis Riches. The driving force up top consisted of Nick Englefield and Denys Zhurbiy.
It was West Wickham that started the game on the front foot, passing the ball around with confidence and finding gaps that seemed to open up our midfield. This confidence on the ball resulted in the first goal of the game. How it came about was a blur….
So was the second!!!!
Shortly after conceding, a change was forced upon us. Dan Kelly came on to replace Joe Plumridge. This meant that with no other option, Denys slotted into the heart of the defence alongside John. Dan Kelly partnered Nick up top.
If we were to get something out of the game, we knew that we had to pull our fingers out, work as a team and graft.
10 minutes before the break we managed to get ourselves bank in the game when Nick rifled in a right footed shot into the top corner. Nothing the jeep could do about it. I don’t know what was more remarkable, the technique to finish how he did or the fact that he managed to get through 90 minutes without getting injured!
Having reduced the deficit to the single goal, we were forced into another change before the break with Roman suffering an injury. Andrew Stears came on in his place.
Due the second half and it seemed like it was a different Merton team that took to the field. West Wickham we’re starting to tire early on which allowed us to take advantage. Although chances were created, composure in front of goal let us down. A prime example was when Dan Kelly blazed over the bar following a peach of a ball from Andrew Minkevich. It was harder to miss than score! That miss awarded him with the Dick of the Day award.
Since being introduced into the 4s setup, Andrew Stears has adapted to the competitive nature of the league and stood out on more than one occasion. This was the case again as he was calm and composed on the ball at all time and picking the right pass 99% of the time. And it was The same person that contributed to our equaliser. His ball from the left was squared to Lewis Riches, who was in acres of space down the right. With pace to burn, he beat of challenger and delivered a low ball into the box. Attempting to put it out for a corner, the opposing defender didn’t get enough on it and unfortunately for him it nestled in the bottom corner.
A difficult game but I think a far result. That is now our 4th draw of the season so we need to think about what can be done to turn the draws into wins.
Next week we host Actonians Association which is when we hope that 3 points, rather than 1 (or none) are award in favour of Merton.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 2 – 2 West Wickham 6s
SCORER(S): Nick Englefield, OG
MOTM: Andrew Stears
DOTD: Dan Kelly
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge (Dan Kelly), Thomas Murphy, Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivitskiy (Andrew Stears), Andrew Minkevich, Lewis Riches, Nick Englefield, Denys Zhurbiy
Polytechnic 6s vs. Merton 4s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 3rd November 2018
Following Poly 7s visit to Joseph Hood last week, it was the 4s turn to travel to Chiswick for a showdown with their 6s. The reverse fixture ended in a 3-3 draw following a last minute equaliser.
Due to traffic, Dom Plumridge and Michal Elgar arrived with the majority of the first period gone meaning we had a bare 11 at the start of the game. With Billy Lane picking up knee injury within 10 minutes, we were left with only 10 men for the rest of the first half.
Having lost the toss, Merton played with their back to the sun in the first half, something that would not have happened had we won the toss. Unfortunately we didn’t and the opposing skipper decided to switch sides.
Having lost Billy early on, our defence had to stand strong and try anything they could to prevent Poly from taking advantage of having an extra man. This was achieved however chances created were limited. Saying that, one of the few chances created resulted in a goal.
Callum picked the ball up on the left hand bye line and delivered a ball into the box which Nick directly into the top right hand corner with his head.
With Dom and Mikey (Elgar) now in attendance and changed, Mikey was brought on to strengthen the back line and Dom partners Nick up top.
Thinking that having the same number of men as the hosts, we would go on to add to our goal tally should we put in the same amount of effort as we did in the first half. This was not the case.
We were now playing into the sun and with us not evening being able to see what was in front of us with the ball at our feet, balls in the air were harder to judge. The opposition picked up on this.
Balls over the top opened our defence up numerous times which results in us conceding 4 goals in the second half.
This was a game that we need to get out of our system quick.
Another downer on top of the result was the unfortunate sending off of Dom Plumridge. Having been wound up by an opposing player, Dom confronted said player and the motion of his head was assumed as a headbutt.
We have a break from action next week before we welcome West Wickham to Joseph Hood.
FINAL SCORE: Polytechnic 6s 4 – 1 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Nick Englefield
MOTM: Nathan Harris
DOTD: Dom Plumridge
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), John Gridley, Denys Zhurbiy, Thomas Murphy, Billy Lane (Dom Plumridge), Roman Bilivitskiy (Michael Elgar), Andrew Minkevich, Nathan Harris, Callum Fisher, Nick Englefield
Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 7s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 27th October 2018
After last week’s penalty shoot-out win, it was back to league action for the 4s.
The visitors to Joseph Hood this week were Polytechnic 7s, our opposition in the quarter-finals of the SAL Cup.
Sam Speirs was once again in the squad which a boost was given his performance in last weeks’ SAL Cup fixture. We also welcomes Billy Lane who was ‘loaned’ to us from the 3s.
There wasn’t a piece of action that stood out in the first period that was worthy of mentioning in this report however the yellow card that Joe Plumridge picked up for a professional foal turned out to have consequences….more on that later.
The second period however was a little more exciting.
Firstly Michael Elgar, on his first start since re-joining Merton, latched onto a delivery from Dom to put the 4s into the lead.
This lead however was short lived as the visitors equalised 15 minutes towards to end.
Things could have got worse had Joe Plumridge not pulled back the Poly striker with 5 minutes to go. It was a foul that had to be committed otherwise it left a one-on-one situation. As a result, Joe received his second yellow and his marching orders. A fine save from Kieran from the resulting free-kick kept the scores level.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 1 – 1 Polytechnic 7s
SCORER(S): Michael Elgar
MOTM: Michael Elgar
DOTD: Joe Plumridge
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Michael Elgar, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Roman Bilivitskiy, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher, Thomas Murphy, Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge SUBS: Billy Lane, Sam Speirs
Old Blues 3s vs. Merton 4s
ISEH Intermediate Novets Cup, Round 2
Saturday 10th October 2018
With this match report being drafted nearly two weeks late, I apologise in advance for lack of detail.
The apology is justified as bullet points are all I can muster up to provide an outline of how the game went.
- Our opposition in Round 2 of the SAL Cup hailed from Richmond and were in the form of Old Blues, a team situated in the league below us however having a decent start to the season having played 3, winning twice and losing once.
- Old Blues went ahead through only for Dom Plumridge to equalised half way through the first half. Old Blues retained the league going into the break.
- Old Blues increased their margin by two. It was at this point that we introduced Andrew Stears into the game which proved to be a game changer.
- With 10 minutes to go Merton were awarded a penalty after a handball decision went against the hosts. Up stepped Dom to convert from the spot to make it a very interesting conclusion to the game.
- Merton skipper receives a yellow card for persistent fouling. A sign of frustration.
- Merton hard work pays off when Andrew Minkevich unleashes a first footed half-volley that hit the bag of the onion bag with only a couple of minutes to go taking the game into extra time.
- Nothing happened in extra time which meant penalties.
- Merton won the toss and selection Old Blues to kick first.
- Old Blues 1st Penalty – Scored!
- Merton 1st Penalty (Dom Plumridge) – Saved!
- Old Blue 2nd Penalty – Saved by Kieran!
- Merton 2nd Penalty (Denys Zhurbiy) – Scored!
- Old Blues 3rd Penalty – Scored!
- Merton 3rd Penalty (Roman Bilivskyi) – Scored! JUST!
- Old Blues 4th Penalty – Scored!
- Merton 4th Penalty (John Gridley) – Scored!
- Old Blues 5th Penalty – Scored!
- Merton 5th Penalty (Edward Plaistow) – Scored!
- Sudden Death!
- Old Blues 6th Penalty – Scored!
- Merton 6th Penalty (Andrew Stears) – Scored!
- Old Blues 7th Penalty – Missed! Blazed over the bar.
- Merton 7th Penalty (Andrew Minkevich) – Scored!
- Having won the shootout 6-5, it was Merton that progress to the Quarter-Finals where Polytechnic 7s lie in wait.
- If we switch off like we did in the first half of this game, the cup run will surely end in the next round.
FINAL SCORE: Old Blues 3s 3 – 3 Merton 4s – Merton win 6-5 on penalties.
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Andrew Minkevich
MOTM: Dom Plumridge – A solid performance once again. Tom Johnson was a close shout along with Andree Stears.
DOTD: Edward Plaistow – Picked up a yellow card and committed a foul throw
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Tom Johnson, John Gridley, Thomas Murphy, Callum Fisher, Roman Bilivitskiy (Andrew Stears), Andrew Minkevich, Sam Spiers, Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy
Old Wilsonians 5s vs. Merton 4s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 13th October 2018
Having continued our decent form in the League by defeating City of London 2s at Joseph Hood last week, it was our turn to travel. Fortunately for us, we didn’t have to travel far as the fixture this week pitted us against Old Wilsonians 5s. They hadn’t had the best starts to the season having lost their first game of the season at home to West Wickham however that didn’t mean that we could be complacent and assume this would be an easy win.
Had Kieran managed to have a sensible Friday night, we would have lined up with possibly our strongest eleven. Unfortunately he didn’t which meant that there was a last minute panic to source a goalkeeper. Luckily for us, Michael Gubby hadn’t been selected and stepped in last minute. Life saver!
We lined up in our preferred formation which consisted of myself (Ed Plaistow), Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge and Thomas Murphy at the back from right to left. The midfield was made up of Callum Fisher, Andrew Minkevich and Roman Bilivskyi with Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy and Nick Englefield the driving force up top.
From the first whistle, both teams were passing the ball around with confidence. It was Merton however than managed to take control on the game and as a result take the lead. Dom finishing with a smart left footed finish under the keeper having been played through by Denys (I think!).
That’s how it remained for the rest of the first half.
Come the second half, we allowed Old Wilsonians back in the game and in turn allowed them to find the equaliser. A ball was played into the box where there striker was about to lash a ball past Gubby.
Sorry for the minute detail however with this report being written over a week late, most of the action has since been forgotten.
Next week were are in SAL Cup action when we visit Old Blues. If we are to have a decent cup run we need to ensure that performance like the once we gave in this game are left in the past.
FINAL SCORE: Old Wilsonians 5s 1 – 1 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge
MOTM: Michael Gubby
DOTD: Thomas Murphy
STARTING LINE-UP: Michael Gubby (GK), Thomas Murphy, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher, Nick Englefield, Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge Subs: Andrew Stears, John Gridley
Merton 4s vs. City of London 3s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 6th October 2018
Buoyed by weeks result against the 5s, the 4s were in league action again and hosted City of London at Joseph Hood.
With numbers low throughout, due to holiday and injury, we were required to call on the services of Scott Brown from the 5s and Andrew Stears from the 6s to make up the numbers. Following a couple of training sessions, Thomas Murphy was ready match fit and took a spot on the bench while another debutant, Andrew Minkevich slotted into the middle of the park.
The starting line-up consisted of Kieran Lee in goal. From right to left, Dan Gridley, Scott Brown, Joe Plumridge and Edward Plaistow (yours truly) made up the defence. The midfield three consisted of Callum Fisher, Andrew and Roman Bilivskyi with Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy and Nick Englefield up top leading the line.
The first half started as expected, Merton dominating play however when the chances came, composure was non-existent and the chances wasted. One of these chances led to a kick from the keepers hand, not anticipating the distance it would travel, it evaded the back line and with Kieran a little late to come off his line, it allowed their main man in green to capitalise and give the visitors the lead. Learning from this, we ensured that the defence dropped deeper for the remainder of the game.
Fortunately conceding first provided the kick up the arse that was needed. Passed were a little more precise with receivers approaching the pass rather than waiting for the ball to approach them. This allows triangles to be plays which opened up the opposing defence on numerous occasions.
It wasn’t long under out dominance was rewarded when Denys bagged his first of the day, Roman made it two 5 minutes later. A moment of magic from young Callum then provided us with a two goal cushion. A cheeky ‘Cruyff Turn’ allowed his the space to unleash an unstoppable right footed effort which found the top bins! 3-1 at the break.
The second half seemed to go by in a flash! All I know is that were able to add to our tally convincingly. Andrew Minkevich made it four, Denys converted twice more to complete his hat trick and Andrew Stears, on for Denys just about scored from a penalty having been taken down.
The final whistle went with the score 7-1.
Next week we travel to Old Wilsonians hoping to continue our unbeaten streak in the league.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 7 – 1 City f London 3s
SCORER(S): Denys Zhurbiy (3), Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher and Andrew Stears (pen)
MOTM: Callum Fisher – Another solid performance capped off with a goal of the season contender.
DOTD: Kieran Lee – Harsh to be awarded it however the mix-up for the goal conceded was all it came down to. Solid performance after that.
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), Dan Gridley, Scott Brown (Thomas Murphy), Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Roman Bilivskyi, Andrew Minkevich, Callum Fisher, Nick Englefield (Andrew Stears), Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge
Merton 4s 2 v 0 Merton 5s (from the 4s perspective)
Following last week’s disappointing exit in the AFA Cup, it was back to League action for the 4s. This week however wasn’t just any league fixture, it pinned the 5s against the 4s. Not only three points up for grabs but bragging rights too.
Numbers were scarce in respect of the 4s, with only 11 players available. The 5s however arrived with 13. One of whom was approached to switch sides for the day. An offer that was declined without hesitation. In order to ensure that we had back uponthe pitch, Luke Newman, the 5s Manager, agreed to get kitted up and come on if required.
Due to the personnel available to us, we lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Kieran Lee taken his usual slot between the sticks. The back four from right to left consisted of John Gridley, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge and myself. In the middle of the pack, again from right to left was, Marcus Perkins, Roman Bilivitskiy, Mo Chouikhi and Callum Fisher. Leading the line was Dom Plumridge and Denys Zhurbiy.
There was nothing to separate either side in the first 20 minutes. It was after 20 minutes that the 4s, wearing all yellow, wereable to get a foothold on the game and overpower the 5s, wearing blue shirts and shorts with pink socks, in all areas of the field.
It was also around this time that Luke had to unfortunately get kitted up in yellow to replace Marcus. I have to commend the professionalism Luke showed. You wouldn’t blame him for coming on and making a few ‘mistakes’ to give the 5s an advantage, given that he is the Manager, however this was not the case. He put the effort in that was asked of him and stood out as one of the best performers on the day.
Getting a foothold in the game allowed us to play the passing game we knew that we were capable off. Our dominance paid off when Dom managed to score from with an overhead kick albeit from a standing position. Denys awarded the assist with a header from Johns throw in.
The talk at half time as a positive one, we just had to go back out there and put the same effort in as we did in the first half.
From the first whistle to initiate the start of the second period, the 4s were in control as the 5s were getting frustrated thata few decisions (offsides and handballs in particular) were going against them.
With 20 minutes to go, Denys doubled our advantage. His effort beating, assisted by Dom, beating Chappell at the near post.
As the clocked ticked down, the 5s had a sniff of goal when Dulanie was played through for a one-on-one. His tame shot however was comfortably held by Kieran.
This was a massive win and one that hopefully kick-starts our league campaign. Four points after two games is a decent return.
Next week we welcome City of London Reserves to Joseph Hood. We need to ensure that we go into the game as we finished this one. If we do, another three points are surely guaranteed!
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy
MOTM: Mo Chouikhi
DOTD: Kieran Lee
LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Dan Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Marcus Perkins (Luke Newman), Mo Chouikhi, Roman Bilivitskiy, Callum Fisher, Denys Zhurbiy, Dom Plumridge
Old Sedcopians 3s vs. Merton 4s
AFA Minor Cup, Preliminary Round
Saturday 22nd September 2018
In order to ensure our passage to the First Round of the AFA Minor Cup, we were tasked with taking on Old Sedcopians 3s of the Amateur Football Combination in New Eltham. The travel distance to New Eltham wasn’t that far however the roads you had to take to get there, unless you select the M25 route, made it seem that way.
As a result of the travel time, the first challenge was ensuring that we had enough players in attendance at the time of kick off. Fortunately out of our squad of thirteen, only Lewis Riches and Adam Lynch were running late. The former arriving fifteen minutes after kick off with the latter arriving as the half time whistle sounded.
Due to Adam’s late arrival, Denys Zhurbiy temporarily sat alongside Joe Plumridge at centre back, John Gridley took his usual right back spot and I slotted into my usual position at left back.
In the middle of the park we had Roman Bilivitskiy and Tyrone Fuller with Callum Fisher and Mo Chouikhi supporting them on the flanks with Mario Del Prestito playing just behind Nick Englefield up top.
The match started with high intensity from both sides however it was the hosts that were carving out the better opportunities. One attempt in particular striking the bar early on. Old Sedcopians started to overpower our midfield 20 minutes in and it was around this time that they took the lead. How? I hear you ask….I can’t remember fortunately. What I can remember though is that one soon became two and we were staring defeat in the eyes even before the half had come to an end. We did create one chance that should have been converted, Lewis, who has come on to replace Mo, used his pace to get behind the left back but his effort from Callum’s cross was blazed high and wide. 2- 0 to the host at the break.
We knew that if we were to get back in the game in the second half that we had to strengthen up the midfield. In order to do so, Adam can on in place of Tyrone to partner Joe at the back, Mario dropped back into the middle of the park alongside Roman and Denys partnered Nick up front.
These changes seemed to spark us into gear, it wasn’t long before we were bossing possession and creating chances that with a little more composure would have probably found the back of the net. I can’t decide whether we created more chances than there were balls that were lost over the fence and we created quite a few chances! I think the balls over the fence clinch it though.
The effort we were putting in was finally rewarded when Callum’s cut back, following a Messiesque run, was converted by Roman. Our opposition were clinging on to their lead and they knew that they had to switch back on.
The momentum however remained with yellow shirts outnumbering purple ones at every attack we had. One of these said attacks resulted in a corner from the left. Mario’s out swinging delivery connecting to Denys’s forehead to bring the game level. The momentum had definitely remained with Merton and our hosts were nervous! However they had nothing to be nervous about in the end…..we were able to add to our tally and they were able to grab the winner 10 minutes from time. A square ball across the six yard box tapped in at the back post.
Cue to final whistle and a cheer of relief from Old Sedcopians.
Once against, each and every player that pulled on that yellow shirt left everything out on the pitch. If we continue like this, results will come and we will be a force to be reckoned with.
Next week it’s a Merton Derby when we take on the 5s hoping to leapfrog them in the table.
FINAL SCORE: Old Sedcopians 3 – 2 Merton 4s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Jonas Cabrera
MOTM: Callum Fisher – A solid performance once again. Doesn’t look out of place.
DOTD: Adam Lynch – Nobody deserves it however if it has to be awarded to somebody it goes to the person who turned up nearly 2 hours late.
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Joe Plumridge, Denys Zhurbiy, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Mohamed Chouikhi (Lewis Riches), Roman Bilivitskiy, Tyrone Fisher (Adam Lynch), Callum Fisher, Mario Del Prestito, Nick Englefield
Merton 4s vs. Polytechnic 6s
SAL Junior Division 4 South
Saturday 8th September 2018
The first game of the 2018/19 season say Merton 4s host Polytechnic 6s.
With squads yet to be settled following an exodus 4th team regulars from last season, there were more new faces than old with only myself, Kieran Lee, John Gridley and Dom Plumridge surviving.
The first half was one of few chances for Merton however for the visitors, they hit the bar and had a ball cleared off the line courtesy of Matt Nightingale. For an individual of his stature, it was probably the best goal line clearance I have witness during my 14 years at Merton. 0 – 0 at the break.
Where the first half was a period that was easy to forget, the second was one full of action.
Following a push in the back, Polytechnic were awarded a free-kick from about 25 yards out. From the resulting set piece we found ourselves a goal down when a composed header found the back of the net. 1-0.
1-0 soon became 2-0 when a spot kick was harshly awarded. John Gridley unable to move his arm out of the way in time when the ball was ‘pelted’ at him from 2 yards all. Regardless of the appeals, the penalty stood and was converted into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
For a team that had not played together before, not even in pre-season, everyone was grafting and working for each other. This was evident when Dom managed to pull a goal back. Merton were back in the game!
This however was short lived! Less than 5 minutes from the restart, the visitors managed to restore their 2-goal advantage through a goal reminiscent the Luke Shaw/Marcus Rashford linkup against Spain a few hours later.
Disappointment was showing having worked so hard to get back into the game however we continued to press and was creating chances. Finally, one of these paid off. Denys delivered a delicate ball into the box which Dom again managed to latch onto to reduce the deficit once again.
With less than 5 minutes to go, it was gung-ho. With every offensive opportunity we committed men forward, never giving up.
Our resilience was rewarded. A free-kick was award to Merton just inside the oppositions half. With Andy Bitmead on the ball and Kieran Lee in the mix, Andy’s delivery was cleared however only as far as John Gridley on the edge of box. His ball back in could only be parried by the keeper which allowed Jonas Cabrera to unleash a right footed volley (might have been half-volley!) into an empty net. Jubilations!
This was a draw which felt more like a win! Each and every player gave it their all and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
We keep up this hunger, who know what we could achieve this season.
Next week would have seen us travel to Chiswick to face off against IBIS Eagles however this match has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.
FINAL SCORE: Merton 4s 3 – 3 Polytechnic 6s
SCORER(S): Dom Plumridge (2) and Jonas Cabrera
MOTM: Chris Outred – A solid performance having been called up from the 5s.
DOTD: Kieran Lee – A sliced clearance that could have been VERY embarrassing had he not recovered.
STARTING LINE-UP: Kieran Lee (GK), John Gridley, Edward Plaistow (Capt.), Chris Outred, Jonas Cabrera, Callum Fisher, Matt Nightingale (Mohamed Chouikhi, Denys Zhurbiy, Roman Bilivitskiy, Andy Bitmead, Dom Plumridge