Merton 1s v Civil Service – 17th September 2011
As temporary custodians of the Olympic torch for a small part of the warm-up, we showed the Olympic spirit without really showing our class. The exception, in goal, was Sherbs, who stood up to everything Service threw at him and kept the ball out at times when he had no right to do so.
Despite the scoreline, this was a vast improvement on last week’s showing. Vanny (back from his wedding in Reading exodus) revelled in being back in the side, and was eager to make an impression. Tilley brought a greater unity to the midfield, and Ash and Femi were sharper up front.
After a deflected first goal, however, it was too often down to Sherbs to save us from conceding more. A superb reach to tip the ball on to the bar from a corner was followed by our last line of defence rapidly moving from his line to courageously smother the ball in a one-on-one. Football can be cruel (back to that score line later) – never more so when Alex dived low to his left to block the ball from close range, only for Service to follow up and knock it in.
Still, we made plenty of chances of our own. Vanny, switched to the right midway through the second half, almost made an instant impact when bustling down the wing and holding his man off before flashing the ball past the far post. Tilley had the ball in the net but his goal was incorrectly – and spectacularly unfairly – ruled out for ‘hand ball’ 10 minutes previously. Femi was unlucky not to do better with a long-range lob having spotted the keeper off his line. And no one could quite get on the end of another wicked Rayner cross. This was not a 4-0 game. Except it was.
Team: Sherbs (GK), John, Jennings, Marc Wilson, Browner, Wilgo (Clowesy 65), Woody, Tilley, Ivan (Rayner70), Ash, Femi
Written by: Graham Willgoss