Lloyds TSB 4s v Merton 4s – 2011
The 4s headed to Beckenham knowing they would need to improve on the performance from the week before if they were to properly get their season off to a decent start. Preparation was badly affected by the Team Manager going AWOL, but we all knew we had the ability and the players to beat any team IF we played to our potential.
The game started strongly for Merton, with us trying to get our passing play into gear and opening up the Lloyds defence. A mix of good last ditch defending, good saves and the odd bad choice by the Merton player kept the scores even. Then a stroke of luck, partly down to the immense pressure Thomas and Tom were exerting up top and the backup play from Seyang and Dean had put a sense of panic into the Lloyds defence. With no real need, the Lloyds defender then headed a long ball over the top of his keeper and into the net.
This should have relaxed us and allowed us to take full control of the game. Sadly the in-fighting that has occasionally blighted our season so far reared its head again. Frustration set in and this served to kill our concentration and give Lloyds the confidence that this was a game they could win. The Lloyds striker first took advantage of some open gaps at the back to equalise, and then take the lead after a shocking defensive error by yours truly. A third was scored from a clear offside position, and from being in total control Merton were 3-1 down at the break after a mad 10 minutes.
The attitude after the break was impressive. Everyone played there part and again took control of the game. We sensed that this game was ours to lose, but could we get the required goals. Chances came and went, some harder than others… but we never let our heads go down. First Thomas struck well to reduce the lead to one, then Tommy Savile equalised with a towering header from a Richard Prosper cross.
The game opened up as players got tired and both teams went in search of the winner. The defence held firm for Merton, with one great last ditch tackle from Prosper worthy of note.
Then finally the Merton winner came. Good work from Tommy, Dean and substitute Jamie Brisk found Thomas Taylor free in the box and he coolly slotted past the Lloyds keeper for a deserved winner.
A great win under the circumstances, however we well know that we got away with this one. We have a quality side with a great chance of silverware IF we keep together and play like we did in the second half… If we play (and act) like we did in the last 15 of the first, this will be long season!
MOM: Thomas Taylor
Report by: Mark Chappell