Merton 7s v HSBC 6s
Another Wednesday night, 10 minutes of rain and the fear the game won’t go ahead at the hood due to flooding…!
Clouds clear and the ref calls the players onto the pitch from the shelter of the club, once again team captain takes up roll as manager, due to on going knee injury, no Steve so Martin takes up the roll as captain, squad as follows…
Lenners between the sticks, Josh, Martin Dan A and Dan O as the back four, Andrew and Luke on each wing with Mario & Darren taking up the centre, Billy and Niall once again roam around up top. Ryan arriving late due to trains and we welcome back Jacob from a lengthy injury take up the seats the bench
We kick off and it looks like a cagy affair, the game has nil/nil written all over it for the first 2 minutes, Billy gets slotted in on goal and the keeper makes a great save, Billy, looking a bit jaded from a hard days work looks an early contender for sub… Ryan in the wings and chirping away to get on, but the gaffer keeps the faith
5 minutes and 1-0 to Merton, that boy Billy gets on to a through ball from Niall and slots pass the keeper and off the post, the ball barely crosses the line when the defender claims to clear the ball, but the ref being in a great position can clearly see its in…
6 minutes and HSBC draw level, no one picks up anyone and lets the oppo stroll through, cross and score, great response from going behind early on. 1-1
8 Minutes and the 7s retake the lead, Luke powering down the right and whips in a shot/cross from the bye line, which deceives the keeper and tucks in at the far post, 2-1
10 minutes and HSBC curl in a corner and once again everyone leaves the responsibility to someone else, a queue of HSBC’s players are waiting to hammer home the equaliser for 2-2
12 minutes and once again HSBC tear apart the 7s with great pass and move, working the ball across the area and finding the left winger in enough space to beat Lenners at the near post to take a surprising 2-3 lead
14 minutes and 37 seconds (approximately of course!)… long ball out sees HSBC keeper come to claim, but Niall nips in and steals the ball, bearing down on goal and with 3 HSBC players in pursuit, he rounds the first defender, from 20 yards Niall would normally hammer home the goal, however he draws in the defenders and flicks a through ball to Billy to calmly slot in an empty net from 8 yards. 3-3
Did I mention this had ‘goal fest’ written all over it?
With 15miutes gone, both teams slug it out for 30 minutes, the goalkeepers play their part in keeping the score level, although HSBC’s keeper is the busier of the 2, its lenners who is making the crucial saves to keep the 7s in it, to go behind now would be a travesty, what with having so much possession
Half time comes and a quick pep talk, just need to keep plugging away and tighten up the back door, with that, Ryan comes on for Martin at centre back and Jacob makes his entrance in centre mid for Darren, the change seems to be good move by the gaffer….
Second half, and its not long before the 7s take a grip on the game, having a bit of youth in defence plays dividend, matching HSBC man for man, and having the fresh legs in midfield soon pays off,
Billy once again is freed and beats the offside trap, still some 35 yards from goal, and with a defender closing down the space, Billy sees the keeper off his line and with the outside of the foot, half volleys a shot that takes a bounce before going in off the post for his third hattrick this season and to put the 7s up, 4-3
Confidence is clear to see, one touch passing from the back, sees Dan O one/two up the line with Niall, Luke comes across to make three, all one touch and over lapping movement, five passes on and Luke is put clean through on goal, only for the centre back to miss judge the tackle and clip the heels as his on goal, Penalty! Full of confidence after securing his hattrick, Billy steps up and makes it 5-3 from the spot.
HSBC fight back and take the majority of the spoils for the proceeding 5 to 10 minutes, Lenners is called in to action and with a point blank one on one, somehow manages to spread himself to block the shot, only to see the ball fall to a HSBC player to volley on goal, Lenners, still on the ground springs into life and tips the second shot over the bar, how did he manage to do that!!!!!!
7s now getting a second wind and with Lenners do his part to keep the score at 5-3, once again sees Billy chase down a lost cause out wide, holding up play and waiting for support, his forced into dropping the shoulder and shooting from range, this beats the keeper, but sees the defender head into his own net in vain to make a clearance 6-3 (5 to Billy!)
Its now very much one sided, the 6th took the wind out of the sails and its now one-way traffic, good football going forwarded with Billy staying out wide and becomes provided as the cross is sees Niall clinically pass in to the net for his first of the day and Merton’s 7th
Number 8 soon follows, offside trap sprung, Billy and Niall exchange passes first Niall to Billy, Billy passes it back, Keeper follows, Niall to Billy, Billy Back to Niall…. Its turning into the chuckles brothers just as Niall decides to pull the trigger… 8-3
Freekick to Merton is cleared as far as Niall, sees Billy at the far post and pings the cross over, Billy, still with ground to make up, gets to the by line and scissor volleys the ball back across to Luke who slides in, first shot is blocked, but manages to get the rebound in for 9-3
With minutes to go, its double figures, again Billy down is the provider with a cross from the left for Niall to head in to complete his hattrick and its 10 for the 7s…
What started off as a 15 minute slug fest, soon turned out as a 10-3 rout for the 7s, to be fair, HSBC wasn’t that bad, the 7s for once was just clinical with there finishing, Billy could have wrapped up a double hattrick if not more, but showed that it’s a team game and turned provider as opposed to trying to score all the goals, Lenners in goal was kept busy and done well to keep the score at only 3, Ryan although not a centre back, galvanised the back four in the second half and worked well along side Dan A, all in all, a good day out for the 7s
Saturday see the Old Sales 3s coming to the hood, depending on which team is sent to fulfil the fixture could mean that the 7s continue the 4-game unbeaten run for another week
MOTM: Billy … a 10/10 performance, 5 goals and 4 assists speaks for it self
DOTD: No one, but we vote for Luke for not completing his hattrick (he had the chances!)