Merton vs Old Salesians – 26th October 2014
Saturday saw the 1s at Old Salesians new ground in East Ewell. It is just as hard to find as their old one but not nearly as nice as their old ground and it’s not their own. It is a great shame for them and it is good to see them making the best of it. This is a story that is being repeated all across amateur football in London and is a worrying trend with old established clubs losing good grounds that are not being replaced. The game was massively important for both sides who were at the start of play the bottom two in the top division. The first half was pretty evenly balanced with I thought Merton playing the better football but Old Sals having the better chances. We had the ball in the net (Will Low) which was given offside. It was very tight. Our good passing play broke down in the last third but Old Sals had good chances which they generally blazed over the bar. The second half was a much more open affair with all the goals. We went ahead very early in the second half. It really was a scrappy goal, very much the type we concede rather than score. Woody tricked his way past a couple of their defenders on the by line and closed in on goal but then slithered backwards to the ground desperately trying to get a shot away. It was as if the invisible man was pulling him down from behind. In the understandable confusion all this caused in the Old Sals defence Tee managed to poke the ball into the net at the near post. Old Sals came back at us but we seemed to be dealing quite well with this and created chances of our own. But a through ball saved by Angus but Old Sals struck the rebound away tidily. So with the game opening up Tee was played through and strongly holding off their defender crashed the ball past the keeper from the edge of the box and that is the way I hoped it would stay. Whilst both sides had chances; we hit the post they hit the bar we seemed to be holding on quite well. But then with time running out they equalised in the 90th minute. We failed to clear a free kick and the ball pin balled round our six yard area off players and post and ended up over the line. Angus managed to grapple it out but the lino judged it over the line (correctly). Angus exclaimed ‘Why does it always happen to us?’ A fair question but I don’t know why but it does. Luckily the lads did not ponder this conundrum but set about getting the winner. The ref had added on a generous amount of time for our time wasting and with 4 minutes of it both sides had chances to win it. The game was won in the 93rd minute when a terrific crossfield pass from Al G found Snooks racing on to it on the left and clipping it first time on the half volley past their keeper. Brilliant stuff and a worthy winner of an entertaining game. Pat Ryan reffed it very well as he does with explanations of decisions and the linos did a good job. All our lads put in a terrific shift to overcome a determined opposition. Vanny and Will Low ran themselves into the ground yet again and Tee did very well holding the ball up and using it well. But this was an all round excellent team performance and a very welcome 3pts. And so back to the club to find the 2s had won their game and there were no incidents.
Team Angus Lees (GK), Jonesy, Ben Cook, Rat, Al G, Will Low, Tills (Capt) Snooks, Woody, Chisanga (Tee) Vanny Tom Rowe, Bosh (Well done to all of you)