Scorers: Olomowewe (2), Gunyon
A great win, a good game and a very strange afternoon had by all. We kicked off our league campaign against newly relegated Merton at Fred Knight. The traffic on Tottenham High Road was a nightmare, and I think it will be important for 1st and 2nd XI players to leave plenty of time to get there on match days – despite leaving plenty of time to get there, some of the lads did not arrive until minutes before kick off.
The Ref was well known to us – last season he sent off Egan for asking him to look along the line for an offside. He spoke to Skips for 10 minutes before kick off, telling him in particular what he would be looking for and clarifying some rules – did you know that on a throw on, if you feint to throw the ball in one direction then release it in another it is an indirect free kick for deceiving the oppo? We got a warm up going, but then that was interrupted by the Ref – apparently the dimensions on the pitch were wrong, and we could and should be reported to the SAL!! Luckily, the Manageress at FK was most accommodating and allowed us to move pitches – he seemed happier with this and we got underway.
We kicked off and immediately found ourselves on the back foot. Far too panicky at the back, and we took a while to settle. Surprising then that we took the lead with our first real sojourn into the penalty box – Skipper Macca unfurled a monster throw down the throat of the Keeper, who came and flapped – the ball dropped towards the goal line and T managed to poke the ball over the line. Merton came back at us, and a striker playing in the channel between Jeats and Macca was causing all types of problems. However, Ben Carter came close with a rasping drive that the Keeper did really well to tip on to the underside of the bar. Soon after we extended our lead however. Leslie put on the jet pack and rinsed 3 defenders, swung in a great ball for T to volley in low past the Keeper.
As generally happens, we then took our foot off the gas and were punished. The defence were caught out of position allowing the oppo winger to cut in and shoot, the deflection taking it past Stimpy in goal.
At half time, Gaffer told us to concentrate on shape and play the ball rather than aimless lumps forward that we revert to in times of panic! Skips then added that we see the result through, and not throw away a lead as we had done in our 2 previous friendly’s.
The second half was ebb and flow throughout and turned into a really good game – we had several chances, Les and Michael coming close, as did they, Stimpy making a great save and then having his head kicked in by Skips whilst clearing the rebound! There were bookings galore, as the Ref was beginning to make increasingly questionable decisions. With 5 minutes to go, Merton equalized – we gave away yet another needless foul around the box that allowed them to bring the big boys up from the back (cut these out!!) and they scored a header from this. Hearts broken watching Merton celebrating, we resolved to take at least a point from the game. As it happens we took all 3 – Karnell chased down and harried the fullback and drew a foul. Dan Wilding them swung in yet another superb ball, which Dan Gunyon met at the near post and looped over the keeper. 3-2!
A decent performance, but we need to stop making things hard for ourselves. However, 3 points in 3 points!! On to the next.
Team: C Simpson, Saunders (Wootten), Jeater, I.Simpson, McLoughlin, Gunyon, Jannece (Hubbard), Manu, Carter, Wilding, Olomowewe (Harvey).