Category: Under 10s Reports
Merton Under 10s vs Old Isleworthians Youth Whites
31st March 2019 – Under 10s report
It was a cold Sunday morning at Joseph Hood Rec and this was the last game of the season. Spring has officially arrived but the biting wind reminded us that Winter was not finished with us yet. As the boys warmed up with their customary pre-match Rondo, parents on the side-lines simply shivered. Personally, I could have done with a hipflask but I know that is frowned upon at 9.30 in the morning.
Today’s opponents, were Old Isleworthians Youth who arrived in ones and twos; at one point it looked as if they would struggle to make up their numbers. They did manage to get a full team out.
The first half commenced with Merton playing left to right on the back up pitch.
During the first few minutes, Merton played with good energy levels and work rate. They made the better start and were in the ascendancy. Good pressure from them meant that they were creating more clear-cut chances; there was also some lovely one touch football on display.
With 15 minutes gone, Dave went on a run, rounded two defenders and slotted in off the right-hand post.
One nil to Merton!
Old Isleworthians were determined to react positively to conceding and played themselves more into the game. Merton were turning the ball over and Old Isleworthians were growing in confidence.
Twenty minutes played, Merton failed to clear after Old Isleworthians’ first corner. When the ball broke loose, it was lashed into the bottom left of Max’s goal.
1 all. Game on!
Max was called upon to make a couple of good saves to keep Merton on level terms.
Twenty- three minutes gone, great footwork from Faris, then a run and shot that hit the post. Close!
After 24 minutes, following their second corner, Old Isleworthians scored with a good shot to the top left of Max’s goal.
Moments later the referee blew for half time.
The second half started with Merton kicking right to left.
Merton put their opponents under pressure as they went in search of the equaliser.
7 minutes played, after a shot from Dave is parried, Percy slots home from close range.
Merton had worked hard to get back on level terms and their efforts had been rewarded. The game became more open and both sides created chances. It seemed as if the next goal would be decisive.
When the next goal came, after 19 minutes, it followed the best passing move of the game. A succession of crisp first-time passes by Merton ended with Louis assisting Maxwell who shot low to the bottom left corner of the Old Isleworthians’ goal. It went in.
What a great team goal!
3-2 to Merton!
Old Isleworthians were not finished yet, they created more chances. Excellent defensive work from Harry, Ollie, Joe, Rio, Dave and Max kept them out.
Would Merton be able to hold on for the win?
Yes, was the answer. In the end, the win appeared comfortable because of what happened just before full-time.
With 24 minutes played, Louis and Maxwell exchanged passes on the left-hand side of Old Isleworthians’ penalty area. Maxwell looked ready to return the ball to Louis but instead he curled a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. It went in.
4-2 to Merton
Moments later the referee blew for full time.
A very good win to end the season. Well done boys!
Maxwell was awarded Man of The Match.
After the match, the team said goodbye to Joe and wished him well for next season.
Special shout-out to Bobby who was unable to play today.
Author: Mike Pitt
Bedfont Eagles U10s vs Merton U10s
It was a warm and sunny spring morning which greeted the Merton boys on their final away day trip of the 2018/19 season.
The match kicked off and Merton were straight on the front foot leading to David having two shots at goal in quick succession. With Chell watching on he looked set for another string performance.
After 8 mins Merton were rewarded with the opening goal after a lovely two touch passing move through half of the side. Louis crossed for Rio to slide in and score.
This was soon followed by a nice run from Dave but his cross was cleared.
This didn’t discourage him and he followed up by sending over a great cross which was brilliantly headed in by Percy to make it 2-0 after 11mins.
The boys were into their stride now and Joe was getting well in to the game. Some good play between Dave, Louis and Rio led to another shot and another good save from the Bedfont keeper who looked very solid despite the goals.
Suddenly Merton made an inexplicable mix up at the back and let an easy chance go in for 2-1. Then, as if that wasn’t disappointing enough, bam: another quick Bedfont attack and 2-2 after some good passing.
Back on level terms the boys needed to redouble their efforts. But Bedfont had the next chance and it took a sprint from Max in goal to get back just in time to save a shot on the line.
Some more good play and shots from Merton came and the Bedfont keeper was equal to much of it with strong saves. He was starting to look like one of the best keepers we have seen this season.
Bedfont broke again and Dave slid in and the ref awarded a free kick. Bedfont strung some passes together from this and their striker somehow squeezed the ball in under Max for 3-2. Shocked!
Half time blew and it was 3-2 down we went in.
The second half kicked off and Merton were on the front foot again with some good play. Suddenly Max made a superb save after dashing out to meet a Bedfont break. Then the ball broke to left and Farris put Percy through for a superb finish and 3-3. Percy was having one of his best games today.
He won the ball again on the right and played across the pitch to Louis who passed to Farris resulting in a shot and save.
Another good move followed with Joe shooting and the keeper coping out to save. He really was looking for a man of the match performance. Bobby was playing deeper than usual for much of the match but still found himself involved in many moves and using his strength and control to break up play.
Next Merton broke through and Rio was brought down for a penalty on the edge of the box. He took it himself and it was now 3-4 to Merton.
Merton continued to miss lots of chances and the Bedfont keeper continued to make good saves. Olly was starting lots of moves from the back and playing a one-two where there was an opening. Nice to see training being taken into the match.
The superb Bedfont keeper now went off injured after an innocuous challenge at the end of his 5-star performance. This took 3 mins of delay but the ref found a whole lot more time extending the game well after the requisite 25 min half.
This game Bedfont the opportunity to draw level but in the end it was Merton who extended their lead as Rio played in Percy who took his hat trick under the keeper for 5-3 with another cool finish. What a game he had played.
The final whistle blew and Percy was awarded man of the match for Merton. The boys seemed to have learned from their previous surprise defeats in games where the opposition took advantage of lapses and Merton did not convert chances. This was a mature and committed win.
Well done to all!
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.
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.
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 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
Spelthorne u10s vs Merton u10s on Sunday 20th January 2019
A crisp, sunny morning greeted our team as they almost all drove straight past the correct turning and then did a tour of the local area to find their way back. Satnavs were roundly blamed. Another innovative warm-up with Neal and Roy prepared the group who were today missing the power-houses of Maxwell and David. Anyone who had parked a car behind the goal was relieved.
Merton made a strong start and won an early corner through the pace of Louis and Farris. They took it short between them and worked the ball across the box but Farris could not quite get his shot off.
They continued steadily for 10 minutes. Neal was demanding more pace and urgency on the side-lines. He knew the boys had more to give.
There followed some nice quality passing play from the cultured opposition who had a couple of players showing great comfort over the ball. Our boys were not quite finding their final pass. Max was also forced into a couple of blocks from good passing moves.
Then the ball was won on the right by the effervescent Ollie, who was once again giving 100% at the back. He found Louis who put Rio through on goal for a solid finish in the bottom left corner of the goal and 1-0.
From the kick off there followed another 2 shots. Louis first and then the ball came out and Bobby played in Percy for a shot wide. Merton were responding to Neal’s calls from the side.
Farris now made a lovely jinking run and was tripped at pace on the edge of the box. Bobby squared up to the ball, took a run and struck the ball sweetly. It crashed off the bar and away from the Spelthorne goal.
Now Rio broke on another through ball and suddenly it was 2-0. This felt no more than the boys deserved.
In search of more Louis now won the ball in midfield and passed to Farris who found Rio in a one on one with the Spelthorne keeper but he was tackled by a retreating defender as he was about to shoot.
Harry, who was his composed self throughout was suddenly off the pitch with some unexpected breathing issues. This clearly concerned his dad, Dan, who ran back from seeing him saying “he must be struggling to carry all that hair around. I tried to get him to have it cut.” There is no love like a man has for his son.
Half time came and it was 2-0, Merton deserving their lead after bossing numerous phases of play despite a well drilled and silky opposition.
The second half kicked off and Spelthorne were working extremely hard to close their deficit. Their manager was offering plenty of positive encouragement from the side-lines and deserved plenty of credit for the quality of their play. This looked like the smallest side Merton had faced of late but possibly one of the best passing sides at the same time with players who knew how to shield the ball.
They created two chances in quick succession but both through balls were a touch heavy and found the grateful gloves of Max, who had been busy without having to over-stretch himself.
Harry was breaking up play as he does so well and Joe was working his socks off at the back alongside him in this phase of the game.
Next Ollie found Louis who played in Bobby but the ball ran too long and went out. Bobby was clearly comfortable playing in any position on the park. Another good passing move by Merton flowed across the Spelthorne box and Percy had his shot blocked for a corner. Nothing came of it again.
Spelthorne made a nice break and crossed the ball to create a powerful headed chance which sailed over the bar. Merton were now getting a little ragged and causing as many problems for themselves as their opposition.
Neal was asking for more forward play and we needed to avoid self-inflicted wounds.
Then, suddenly it was 2-1. Another moment of disjointed play deep in their own half led to Merton giving away the ball and it was eventually worked to a Spelthorne forward who squeezed it in at the far post.
Merton picked up their pace now and had a spell of pressure and kept going forward. Farris played in Bobby. The Spelthorne keeper managed to stop it and then Farris had a pot shot which inexplicably crept under the keeper and in for 3-1, triggering a wave of relief on the side-lines. The game looked won.
Percy continued to work as hard as anyone in the middle of the park and made a powerful run and won a corner. Nothing came of it again but Merton were strong in this final phase of the game. Joe’s game had settled well in the second half and he was playing some nice passes with his team-mates on the left now to get the ball forward.
The final whistle blew and it was a hard fought 3-1 win for Merton. That’s 2 wins from 3 at this new league level.
Rio was awarded a deserved man of the match trophy and the gang took in the final words from Neal and Roy ahead of a dash to the cars for their lunch-time jaunt home.
Claygate Royals Griffins vs Merton Under 10s
13th January 2019 – Under 10s report
After a short trip down the A3 to Esher, Merton were able to warm up and prepare in near perfect football conditions at the Claygate Recreation Ground. This was not Merton’s first time preparing to face Claygate opposition this season. Back in September, Merton had beaten Claygate Royals Hares 3-2 away. Today’s opponents were Claygate Royals Griffins. The referee for today’s match was the same referee from the September match. Could Merton deliver a similar result?
Merton started the match kicking left to right on the relatively small pitch. The pitch may not have been large but it was green and in good condition. When the match started, the opening exchanges saw both teams turn over the ball cheaply. With just two minutes gone, Faris won the ball and attempted to clear behind Max’s goal but his clearance accidentally nestled in the bottom left corner of Max’s goal. It was a fluke own goal that stunned both sets of watching parents into silence.
1 nil to Claygate
For the next couple of minutes, both teams continued to give away the ball with possession often lost in the midfield. For Merton, Harry was particularly effective in breaking down Claygate attacks. After 5 minutes, there was a noticeable change, urged on by Coach Neal, Merton began to ’wake up’ and started to play some of the fast moving two touch football that they are capable of. Merton were linking up more effectively in the midfield.
Six minutes gone, Maxwell won a tackle, raced toward goal and shot. He hit the left-hand post. Merton were now in the ascendancy; after some great link up play between Faris and Dave, Dave’s shot was pushed out for a corner. Claygate were blocking and clearing most of what was being thrown at them and as a consequence, they were holding on to their lead.
Their goalkeeper was having a particularly good period, during the eleventh minute he made 3 saves in quick succession. Would Merton be able to score today?
The answer to that question came in the 16th minute, Faris’ through ball found Maxwell who dribbled away from his marker and chipped the keeper who was rushing off his line. It went in!
Merton’s pressure had paid off and they were back in the game. Claygate responded in the best way possible for them. With 18 minutes gone, Merton turned over possession in midfield, Claygate attacked at pace and their resulting shot hit the underside of Max’s crossbar and bounced over the line before spinning out. The referee took a second to consider and the goal was awarded. She did not need V.A.R.
2-1 to Claygate
The game became more frenetic, Merton had chances but did not convert them. Claygate also created chances but did not extend their lead.
At half time, the score remained 2-1 to Claygate.
The second half kicked off at precisely 10.25 am with Merton now kicking right to left. Faris had a shot to the right-hand side of the Claygate goal. Near miss. Rio had a shot that also went close; this time just wide of the left-hand side of the Claygate goal.
3 minutes into the second half, after Merton failed to clear their lines, Claygate were advancing on the Merton goal. Their striker shot to the bottom left of Max’s goal. It went in.
3-1 to Claygate
The match entered a critical phase, if Claygate were to score again the match might be out of the reach of Merton. The game was very entertaining, a little composure on the ball was lacking at times but everyone was giving their maximum effort. Coach Neal’s beast of a fitness training session had clearly paid off. Crucially Merton got the next goal.
Five minutes gone, after a scrappy passage of play, the ball came to Percy who was able to slot home from close range.
3-2 Game On!
After 7 minutes, Merton won a free kick. It was quite a long way out. Claygate didn’t really expect a shot. Dave had other ideas and launched it into the top right corner of the goal. Top bins! Claygate’s keeper couldn’t stop it. It was a goal!
This was when Merton really began to dominate and to make their control of the game pay. There was some great play in the midfield from Louis, Percy and Dave. In defence, Harry, Joe, Ollie and Max were also playing very well.
With 9 minutes gone, Dave started on a run toward Claygate’s goal, He fed Rio who raced towards the Claygate goal. He struck a powerful shot to the bottom left corner of the goal.
It was a great finish!
3-4 to Merton
Merton were now leading for the first time. They continued to press home their advantage in an attempt to put the result beyond doubt.
After 11 minutes, Joe took a throw on the left-hand side. His throw was blocked and the ball came back to him. He struck a great shot into the top corner of the Claygate goal. Their keeper wasn’t expecting it and in went straight in.
3.-5 to Merton
Claygate were not finished yet; they were still creating chances of their own.
In the 12th minute, Claygate forced a corner. When the corner came in from the right, it was bundled in at the far post.
4-5 to Merton
More chances created by either side. Play continued at a fast pace, both sides showing good energy and enthusiasm levels. Claygate hit the post in the 21st minute.
In the 22nd minute, Dave won the ball in midfield and drove toward the Claygate goal. He feigned a powerful shot and instead rolled it into the bottom left of the goal. A very calm finish.
4-6 to Merton
2 minutes later, Claygate went close again with a header that went just wide. Soon after the referee blew the full-time whistle to confirm a great away win for Merton. A great effort from all the boys including Bobby our 11th man.
Well done boys!
Dave was presented with the Man of the Match award.
Author: Mike Pitt
Merton U10s v Sandgate U10s – Sunday 6th January 2019
News arrived over the Christmas break of a well-deserved promotion from the top of division 5 to division 4 after a consistently successful first half to the season.
First up was as tough as it gets with a visit from top of the table Sandgate U10s on a dry mild morning.
The game kicked off and saw some good interplay from both sides on the sticky home pitch. A number of passes never made it to their intended recipient as was becoming the norm in the early phases of home games.
With Harry unfortunately out ill Ollie was playing on his own at the back with a more loaded midfield needing to track back and support as needed.
Dave was also watching on today with an arm fracture and cast on. To compensate we had our new team mate Bobby able to step in and support.
In an early exchange Maxwell won the ball deep in his own half and played in Farris who was up front and went on to create a chance for Rio whose shot was deflected out for a corner. Nothing came of it and on we went.
The first Sandgate chance then followed and Max managed to get to it and shepherd it out for a corner from which Maxwell cleared. This resulted in a chance for Farris which led to a Merton corner but to no avail.
Ollie was looking very solid at the back and choosing his moments perfectly to step in and challenge vs dropping off to let others join in defending. It was like having all of the judgment of Harry and the application of Ollie in one player.
Sandgate broke away and forced a good save from Max in a 1 on 1. His judgment and timing has clearly been improving over recent months.
But the first goal was not far away. It came from a Sandgate break and what was thought to be a good challenge from Maxwell but the ref awarded a free kick just outside the Merton box. It was a cracker and nestled in the top corner to give the visitors the lead.
Merton didn’t let their heads drop and the next chance fell to the home side with Maxwell cutting in from the wing and clipping his shot in for a deflection out and corner. Nothing came of it again and Sandgate cleared.
Then the equaliser came. Percy showed great persistence in the Sandgate box and pushed through 2 challenges. The ball fell to the keeper who attempted a clearance but straight at the on-rushing Percy and the ball was in the net. 1-1.
Both sides were straight back on it from the kick off and some good interplay from Sandgate led to a sweet cross on the ground and tap in for 2-1 to the visitors.
Then, despite the Merton work rate another break led to another good cross and 3-1. The Sandgate number 11 in midfield was a very calm and direct player who had created 2 of their goals. Merton were up against it.
There followed some good play deep in our own half from Louis who played in Farris who in turn found Rio. Rio played a gorgeous little chip over the keeper for Merton’s second of the match. 2-3 and game on.
The half time whistle blew and the boys stopped for a well-earned rest.
The second half started with more intense football and Ollie continuing his fine form.
As the game wore on there were chances at either end and Sandgate were shading it. Joe, Rio and Louis all looked shattered after their hard work and the Christmas break but kept going admirably. Max was called into action again and more often.
Some soft free kicks were being given now and another shot came in from the latest for Sandgate which led to another save from Max who was starting to play a central role in keeping Merton in this.
Suddenly Ollie won another ball and found Rio who played in Maxwell for his first one on one. He had a poor service since moving up front and was making no mistake with this one. He clipped it over the keeper and Merton were back level at 3-3. This was developing into a very good game but the opposition looking on were not best pleased and made their thoughts known through the odd questionable comment encouraging hard play from their team.
Sandgate continued to have some good play and in the latest, just as it seemed they would score up popped Ollie to clear off the line. There was hardly a Merton player now who looked like they had much left in the tank. Even the relentless Percy was looking tired. Having Bobby in the team was a great help with his calm solidity wherever he played on the pitch.
Rio was in the middle of the next key play for Merton after being played through by Farris but this time shot wide left. A win against the top team in this new league seemed within reach as the minutes ticked down.
Farris had another opportunity soon after but shot straight at the keeper as the ball stuck under his feet.
Then the sucker punch as Sandgate broke forward again and after some tight play around the Merton box squeezed the ball in for 4-3 and the lead as we entered the final moments of the match.
There continued to be quick fire chances at both ends, of which Sandgate had the better and forced some brilliant goal keeping from Max. He clearly wanted to get his hands on the Man of the Match trophy today.
The ref blew the final whistle to the relief of the Sandgate team and Merton had shown that they were a match for this level having taken the top team very close to a result.
Man of the Match was a high quality problem for Neal and Roy with a number of good performances. In the end it was double awarded to Max and Ollie who both richly deserved the accolade.
Neal and Roy let the boys know after the game how proud they were of their work rate and determination throughout a tough match. On another day they could well have got a win. On to the next match!
CAFC U10 Greens vs Merton U10 – 16.12.18
16th December – Under 10s report
Merton made the short trip the home of Carshalton Athletic on Colston Avenue for today’s away match. The match was played on Carshalton’s FIFA 2* 3 G Pitch which meant that last week’s mud-fest at Joseph Hood would not be repeated. The pitch was quite narrow and Merton were playing left to right in the first half.
Carshalton made the brighter start and had the first two chances of the game; the first following good work on the left. Their shot at the end of the move flashed wide of Max’s right hand post. Close! They put their second chance wide of Max’s left-hand post.
These two chances provided a wake-up call for Merton and they responded in the right way. After six minutes, Dave had a shot saved and this was followed by a shot from Rio that was just wide of Carshalton’s left- hand post.
Two minutes later, Rio found Dave on the left and Dave shot to the bottom right of the goal. It went in!
0-1 to Merton.
Merton had clearly adapted to the playing surface now and were controlling a midfield as congested as the M25 on a Friday afternoon. With ten minutes played, Rio provided another assist, this time for Maxwell who’s first time shot was too much for the Carshalton goalkeeper. It went into to the bottom right corner of the goal.
0-2 to Merton.
After 11 minutes, Rio had another shot that went just wide of the left-hand post. Then Dave had a shot saved. Carshalton had a shot that they put wide of Max’s post.
After 16 minutes, Maxwell made an interception and headed off towards Carshalton’s goal. He shot to the bottom left of the goal. Goal!
0-3 to Merton.
Merton were playing well defensively as well as offensively; there was good work by Harry, Joe and Ollie that ensured that Carshalton did not find a way back into the game.
After 19 minutes, Dave hits a good shot to the bottom left of the goal. It went in!
0-4 to Merton
Twenty one minutes played. Up to this point, Faris had made positive contributions to the team with good tackles and runs but had not added his name to the scoresheet. He was about to change that.
He won a tackle and ran towards goal before unleashing a shot to the bottom left.
0-5 to Merton
Two minutes later, he was back at it again. Tackle, dribble, shot and goal. Bottom left placement again.
0-6 to Merton
In the 24th minute Maxwell crossed for Dave to calmly slot home to complete his hat-trick from close range.
0-7 to Merton
Shortly after the referee blew for half-time.
If the Carshalton boys did not come out for the second half it would have been understandable. No-one wants to be on the wrong end of such a hammering. Credit to them for keeping their heads high and coming out ready to go again.
When the second half commenced, it was clear that Merton had eased their foot off the accelerator. In fact, I would go as far to say that they had parked up and were having a picnic beside the road.
Dave was now in goal and launching himself into all manner of dives to the left and right.
All of Merton’s players were enjoying themselves. Max was now an outfield player.
After 5 minutes, Rio had a shot that was parried. Louis was first to react and smashed his shot into the net.
0-8 to Merton
Eight minutes of the second half played, Carshalton were now creating a few chances and they managed to score. Dave ‘the cat’ parried the initial shot but their striker was on hand to slot home.
1-8 to Merton
Ten minutes gone, Carshalton won a corner. The initial shot is blocked but again they react first and their striker smashed home the loose ball.
2-8 to Merton
They could not come back from 2 -8, could they? This was their best spell of the match.
Faris was on a hat-trick and clearly keen to score again. With 14 minutes played, he went on a run and shot to the top left corner of the Carshalton goal. It went in!
2-9 to Merton
Incredibly there was still another goal in the game; after good work in midfield, Louis scored his second with a great shot to the bottom left of the goal.
2-10 to Merton
A couple of minutes later, the referee blew the final whistle.
Well done again, boys!
Special shout out to Percy who wasn’t able to play today.
Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!
Author: Mike Pitt