Merton Reserves vs Horsley 1st – 1st December 2012
By way of a change, and because we don’t actually have a match report of our own, you might be interested in reading Surrey Elite Intermediate League side Horsley’s report for this SCFA Intermediate Cup first round tie, which eventually went ahead at the Tom Field ground, following two earlier postponements and a switch of venues due to waterlogged pitches. The Surrey Elite Intermediate League is one of two feeder leagues to the Combined Counties League; the otherbeing the Middlesex County League, which is also a feeder to the Spartan South Midlands League. It is surprising; therefore, why Horsley do not enter the SCFA Senior Cup competition as do Merton’s first team. It cannot be denied that Horsley deserved their victory and to progress in the competition. However, the Merton players will recall the contest a little differently to the Horsley reporter, who fails to mention either Liam Palmer’s first half goal bound header that was destined for the back-of-the-net before being cleared off the line by an alert defender or, Palmer’s subsequent head injury, which saw him going off to Hospital after 45 minutes.
The 1st team beat Merton 2-1 in the county cup on Saturday. After 2 weeks without playing Horsley’s display was very inept and no disrespect to Merton but we were not facing a strong side or our County cup run could have been over before it had got started. Right from the whistle we were slow to the ball and seemed to just go through the motions our passing was all over the place and commitment was poor. To be fair, though, we never found ourselves under any real pressure and we did score a good goal on 20 minutes, with the first bit of football we played. And, a cracker it was with Henzi running with the ball, before laying wide to Ashbolt who hit a first time cross for debutant Morley, stepping up from the reserves to beat his defender to the ball and bury it inside the near post. The team were already returning to the centre spot when the linesman, one of the Merton subs, stuck up his flag and gave offside. The referee amazingly disallowed the goal, it was an unbelievable decision as Morley clearly beat the defender to the ball and there was another defender further back. Anyway, as this has happened now 4 times this season we are getting used to it. Back to the game and we started the second half a bit brighter and slowly started getting good moves together but as in every game now we missed simple chances. We got our first goal after a good run from Lovell whose inch perfect cross was met by Willoughby, who controlled the ball first time and banged it into the net. This seemed to wake us up as we then made 4 or 5 chances, which brought a batch of good saves from the Merton goalie and a bit of bad luck with balls hitting defenders on the line with the goalie beaten. It wasn’t long before we scored our second when a good cross from Henzi found Lovell, who had the simple task of heading in from about 4-yards. Merton seemed deflated now and the game fizzled out until the last 3 minutes when Dark gave possession away on the edge of our area, allowing the Merton forward – who never stopped running the whole game – to get his reward with a well taken goal. We then survived a last minute scare as sloppy defending allowed their best player, the number 11 to toe poke a shot at goal that clipped the top of the bar. The referee blew for full time so through with a 2-1 win, although not a memorable performance. Okay, the aim before the game was to get through and we done this, but the players must look at their own performances. Yes, at moment we do have key players missing through injury but we need to step up if we reallywant to progress in this cup.