Scorers: Shaw-Morris (2), OG
Another game for the 2’s, and guess what? We had poor availability, a patched up team (half of whom were late), Frazer was wearing Crocs and Fabb was tucking into a tin of stuffed vine leaves while sporting a horrendous vest and telling the team how despite playing at the back he wasn’t responsible for any of the 7 goals AP conceded in the previous game…talk about the worst possible pre match preparation. I mean, crocs? Seriously? It’s not 2005, and as for stuffed vine leaves in a tin? Fresh vine leaves sure…but out of a tin???
For those of you that haven’t been cornered in the AP bar by Macca, or read one of his depressing match report rants – we were top of the league 4 weeks ago but have blown our chances with 4 consecutive defeats. With this fact in mind, we lined up with confidence at an all time low against top of the league Merton. However, as I reminded in my inspired team talk – last year and earlier in the season, we had been on top against Merton, only to concede in the last minute. They were, therefore, beatable.
With this in mind, and with the enthusiasm of new recruits (Gary and Adam from 3’s and Brendan – who slotted in well) we took the game to Merton in the first half. Frazer pulling strings in CM, Tabram and Brendan holding the ball up in the final third. We were rewarded for our early pressure with a well taken goal from Adam Bruce. For the next 15 minutes we continued to press and could have extended our lead. However, in the last 15 Merton came back strong – but found an ‘up for It’ Jason in goal who pulled off a decent double save to ensure we were 1-0 up at half time.
In the second half, Merton continued where they left off with some heavy pressure. It was against the run of play a little that AP won a corner which was taken by Frazer who whipped the ball in back post..and into the top corner (aided by Gary bundling the full back into the net). 2-0 to AP.
At this stage you just want to see the game out, however with our low confidence and patched up side this was never going to happen. Merton got the score back to 2-1 when a ball was squeezed via deflections in-between CB Jeater and RB Fabb, and the Merton striker rounded Jason to score. Two minutes later a Merton corner was flicked on by Fabb to Frazer who planted a superb header home…into his own net. 2-2. Game on.
The last 15 minutes were very tight and incredibly open. However, with 10 minutes to go a weak Merton clearance fell landed outside of the box on Frazer’s left foot and he hit a sweet volley home. He then ran to the corner to celebrate and turned around to see everyone walking back to the half way line, too tired to celebrate!
After this it was a backs-to –the-wall job, but we rode out the final 10 minutes (helped by two last-ditch tackles) to win the game…a fantastic team effort and a great game.
Full credit to Merton – every time we play them it’s a thriller and we wish them best of luck with their likely promotion.
MOM – Frazer Shaw Morris (despite an OG and footwear)
AP: Jason Smith (GK), Anthony Fabb, Andy Smith, Alex Jeater (C), Gary Jones, Richie Hancock, Frazer Shaw Morris, Dan Wilding, Adam Bruce, Brendan O’Donnell, Alex Tabram. Subs: Nana Kadua