Scorers – Wilding, Hubbard, Manu
Frustrating this one. I reckon a draw was a fair result, but to go 3-2 up in injury time you would expect to win it. However, no one can doubt the desire, determination and effort of the lads.
The pitch at the manor was wet and cut up badly. Had we not have had a 2 week respite I think it may have been called off. Certainly we should not be scheduling any games on it for a week or so! This game was originally Merton’s home game, but was switched due to Joe Hood being unplayable. They brought a strong squad so clearly champing at the bit. We had lost Adam Pennycook and Frazer-Shaw Morris from the team, so in came Denzell Wellman, John Gatenby and Dan Wilding from the 4’s and 3’s respectively.
Anyway, to the game. We went 2-0 up after about 30 mins – one was a Wilding cross that drifted over the keepers head and in (did he mean it? He will claim it!) the second came after a sustained period of pressure when we had 5 corners in a row – Mike scored direct from a corner with a wicked whip in.
Merton scored just before half time – a corner was not cleared properly, and was lumped to the back post where the oppo striker headed it in, Skips getting his head battered from behind in a vain attempt to parry.
Into the second half, and when Steve parried a freekick, Skips and Gravesy tried to block the rebound – Gravesy sensibly with his feet and Skips rather stupidly with his head. The shot was blocked but the formers knee smashed into the latter’s face. It hurt. John Gatenby (Striker) came on at right back as the defence reshuffled. Merton equalized soon after – a shot by a Merton midfielder fell to a striker who was at least 5 yards offside. You could see in their celebrations that they knew they had got away with one, but it was no more than their pressure deserved.
The rest of the game was quality, with both teams really going for it. Tabs came on to give us a bit more movement up top, as did Denzell. It was a real credit to the SAL and could easily have been mistaken for a first XI game as both teams went for it. We scored in injury time when Les used his pace to latch on to a loose ball and slide past the keeper. We needed to hold out 2 mins but could not – Merton came at us and we gave away a cheap corner that we failed to deal with, slipped in on the line at the far post.
Great battling performance by the lads. However, we need to be more resilient at the back. This is the 2nd time this season that we have conceded a late equalizer from a poorly defended set piece (BB Eagles, home), and we need to make sure that we see games out and stop conceding goals at vital times. Let’s go for it next week!
Team – Edelman, Graves, Wilding, McLoughlin (Gatenby), Jeater, Hancock, Shaw, Jenkin (Tabram), Manu, Gunes, Hubbard (Wellman).