WRFC U13 Warriors 1 – 6 Merton U13
Sunday 5th February 2017
Warriors were given both a mud bath and a master class in pass-and-move football today, as Merton effectively blocked their journey northwards towards the top three of SYL Division 2.
After an initially promising start in which Matt had a shot saved within the first three minutes, Merton quickly put Warriors under relentless pressure, with the home side succumbing to the first goal after 11 minutes – a stark contrast to last week.
Charlie was injured shortly afterwards and spent a minute or two down before battling on again. Meanwhile Merton’s number 14 and number 6 were causing headaches for our defenders, demonstrating great speed and skill in getting in behind our back four.
Just under 20 minutes in, there was a glimmer of an equaliser for Warriors as the referee penalised the Merton ‘keeper for using his hands outside the box. No card followed and the resulting free kick sailed in at the far post, only to be headed clear. There was a brief spell following this incident where Warriors came into their own and momentarily reversed the pressure. A few scuffed shots followed but nothing that remotely tested the Merton ‘keeper.
31 minutes in, Merton made it 2-0, capitalising on one of many loose goal kicks into midfield that Warriors just didn’t fight for. Leon had no chance with the high angled shot that followed. Merton took control of the game again at this point and rained shots into Leon’s box. Several goalmouth skirmishes followed that Warriors managed to pull themselves clear of. However, one minute before half-time, Warriors lost out from a throw-in at the halfway line and the ball was moved rapidly forward and home to put Merton 3-0 ahead at the
Warriors again started brightly enough, with Adam nearly tapping home as Jack flicked on a Marc corner with his head, six minutes into the second half. However, disaster struck one minute later, as Merton’s number six made it 4-0.
Desperate to salvage something from the game, the ever-battling Charlie made a spectacular lunging challenge that saw him slide gracefully through a pool of mud, collide with the Respect barrier and soak most of his upper torso in muddy goo. Respect? He earned applause from both sets of spectators!
Darcey was up and at ’em after about 13 minutes into the second half, when she took on several defenders, held the ball up well and had her resulting shock blocked at close range. Meanwhile, at the other end, Leon was forced into another round of saves, including one where Merton just clipped his far post.
There was no doubt with ten minutes to go that Warriors were going to be kept busy until the final whistle. Jacob and Darcey both made important defensive clearances with their heads and Mikey was credited with never giving up the fight. He took a bad tumble in a 50-50 with Merton’s number 8 during the final quarter of the game, picked himself up, brushed himself down – and promptly go on with the action.
Adam saved another sure goal (and avoided a penalty) with a superb defensive challenge alongside the nearside post at 64 minutes – his timing as he dispossessed the Merton player was spot-on. One minute later, Merton made it 5-0 as Merton’s striker broke through two defenders and beat Leon in a tricky 1v1.
A sense of justice followed as Matt quickly scored for Warriors from a Marc assist, breaking Merton’s clean-sheet. His high shot from the far edge of the box left the Merton ‘keeper with no real chance. Only 5-1 down!
As a finale to the game, Leon was forced into another acrobatic save in the 70th minute, just before Merton scored one last time to make it a convincing 6-1 win to the visitors.
Thanks to Luc for acting as stand-in referee, to Christian for running the line and to Helen for Pitch Marshal duties. Special commendations for today’s real battlers, Mikey and Charlie. Onwards – and hopefully upwards!