So off we trot to the dark depths of South London to play our 9th league game of the season. It was a disappointing result so I won’t dwell on the description. But there are lessons to be learnt, so read and read well.
In summary, it was a horrible small pitch which slowed our game down dramatically. This allowed Merton to get close and really press us hard. We struggled to play our passing game and really never looked at the races. Saying that, we also held Merton at arm’s length from most of the game. A gritty first half saw us come in at 0-0 and get an absolute b0llocking from Andy, it was deserved and it worked. The second half we started a lot better, defensively we controlled them completely and we took the lead from a wonderful cross from Adam from a dead ball and Alex Tabram nodded it home. It was probably deserved based on the balance of play. After that we actually kept up the performance and should have probably gotten a second goal. Despite not, we still never really looked in danger, but that’s the whole point of a sucker punch, no? In the 88th minute a slightly hopeful/magnificent cross comes in and their sub striker drifts in-between two defenders and taps home. An absolutely gutting way to end a match.
Now for the feedback, after the game, I think it’s fair to say we were devastated, and rightly so. But to give a bit of perspective, we only drew a game in the last minute. We did not lose. We did not get hammered. We conceded a last minute equaliser. We are still unbeaten. We are still top of the league. In fact, we hadn’t conceded a goal for 445 minutes in the league, which is an incredible achievement.
This team is not compatible with negativity. We cannot let ourselves descend into a negative or cautious frame of mind. We must maintain confidence in ourselves and in each other. That is not to say we cannot point out problems or weaknesses, but this should only be done to improve us, not just to say “I told you so” when things don’t go our way. We have a wonderful team spirit that I think will take us to greater things. Let’s build on this. Turn up, have fun, enjoy playing football with each other and at 4pm every Saturday, be able to look each other in the eyes and know that we gave it our all.
We have a massive game next week, against another promotion chaser Old Parks. I expect us to be fully prepared for this. I expect us to turn up rested, hangover-free and itching to get on the pitch. This will be where we will prove our credentials.
On a lighter note, there were some things to enjoy from the day. Firstly, Karl Packham stepping into Gatenby’s shoes in his absence by committing 5 fouls in about 10 minutes from right wing. Secondly, Ziggy who managed to p*ss off the Merton manager so much that he was told “He’ll never leave South London alive”. I assume it’s for this reason, Ziggy refused to get the bus to Morden station, choosing to walk instead. Maybe Merton were tracking his oyster card?
MotM- Adam Bruce and Jason Smith had solid games, but I’m not allowed to split MotM, so Jason Smith gets it for some solid collections and punches.