Merton 1s v Old Esthameians – 21st January 2012
This was a hard won point away in East London. It was not the conditions for pretty football and there was little of that on a poor surface, even by Jo Hood’s standards, and with a gale blowing down the length of the pitch. Old Es kicked down hill and down gale for the first half. It really was a strong wind and our whole team defended resolutely clearing a great number of swirling high balls. But for our part we got our tackles in and created a few good chances of our own from passing movements which were not helped by the pitch. In fact, strangely both teams played better into the teeth of the gale. Our best chances came and we definitely played our best football in the first half. Jase headed narrowly wide after a very good passing movement and a flighted Will Low cross. We had a few corners (See pic of a Old Es clearance)So when we walked off the pitch for half time all square I thought we could win. Unfortunately I think that is what all the Merton lads thought.(See pics of half time talk from Clappers) As it happened Old Es had a much better second half. They came out of the blocks very quickly and tested our defence and started to dominate. Old Es No 9 lead their line well throughout the game and they played off him effectively. With the help of the wind we repelled them but their centre back (No 5) controlled the back and cleared pretty much everything. We had a few chances from corners but far too often we launched the ball high and forward hoping for the gale to give us something. Right at the end Will Taylor screamed a volley agonisingly wide and then the game was over. This was our third clean sheet in a row, but unlike the previous two, I felt this had a little more good fortune in it as Old Es carved out and then wasted two golden opportunities in the second half. Still a point is a point and it was never going to be easy. And we certainly battled away. The whole squad put in a good shift and we defended well and in an organised way. Clappers lead and organised the team in his characteristic style. Next week its back to the Hood and the comparatively lush turf for the visit of Alleyn Old Boys who are flying high in the division. It is very tight at the bottom with 4 sides within 2pts of one another and we need to keep up the momentum we have developed. (Max Herbert).
Team:Sherbs (GK), Jonesy, Clappers (Capt) Browner (Olly Braid 50mins), Clowesy, Woody, John Lynch, Tills, Willgo, Willow, Jase (Will Taylor 70 mins). Sub not used Vanny
Written by:Max Herbert