Another great win for the Merlins
By Lindsey Lucas
Merlins 5 - 1 Wimbledonians
For the first time ever, the Merlins did exactly what Captain Noel “Spud” Murphy has been asking them to do all season and passed to a white shirt which would have been brilliant if we had been wearing white….but we were wearing blue!, (nobody knows why the home team were wearing blue and not the opposition as is the normal custom! - Ed).
The Wimbledonians looked very tidy in the warmup and had a couple of very skilful players but so did we and we started the scoring after 2 minutes when a quick ball through the middle was worked to Kuljit Bhachu and he swiftly despatched into the corner. This woke the Wimbledonians up and they started their own relentless press and a quick ball down the right was squeezed back to the top right of the D and slammed into the bottom corner by Mark Andrews to make the score 1-1. A number of penalty corners followed and some last ditch saves from Ronnie “the Cat” Fuller and some excellent umpiring when one ball was fired into the top corner and was correctly adjudged to be too high, stopped Wimbledonians adding to their score.
The Merlins however slowly took control and the backline of Colin “Citog” Byrne, Marc “Mystic” Jones, David “DV” Vincent and Noel “Spud” Murphy worked out who they were marking and decided that listening to the calls from “The Cat” in goal was a better plan than ignoring him!
The second Merlins goal came from another worked ball up through the middle of the pitch where Laurie Shotton and David “Heartburn” Rennie had really taken control and balls were being worked up the channels through Nathan Jeffreys, George “Braveheart” Wallace and Rob Newnham. One of these well worked moves eventually found Kuljit who stroked his second home.
The half time team talk was the usual request to please do things better but as Laurie pointed out, we were actually playing well and better finishing and poorer keeping might have resulted in a much higher halftime score.
The second half was a very different kettle of fish as Merlins had one of their best halves of the season. Doug “I’ve retired” Courtney had replaced Spud at half time and slotted seamlessly into the left back position. Wimbledonians continued to press but a yellow card for a deliberate foot seemed to sap them of energy and the chap who was carded duly went home and never reappeared, fortunately they had some substitutes! Laurie then scored only to have it ruled out for feet during the build-up. The third came through Kuljit who was once again lurking at the back post and a cross from Rhys “Motor Mouse” Edwards was stroked home. A hat trick for Kuljit – nicely done from a
total distance of about 12 feet!!
At this point we stepped into top gear (which still wasn’t very fast for some of us) and a number of chances were created and missed mainly through some really good keeping. The fourth came from Rhys after great work from Nathan with an exquisite pass through after more great build up play.
Citog had time to try another bouncing bomb (Editor – don’t you mean a miss hit?) which went under the keeper but was saved on the line. The fifth and final goal came from Rhys again with a cracking shot after more great interplay from defence through midfield to attack.
Final score of 5:1 probably didn’t fully reflect the game but it was a very pleasant experience with some great play from the Merlins with crisp incisive passing. Thanks to Mike Barnes for doing the whistling and we all retired to the clubhouse where Dave Rennie was voted man of the match and some lovely teas were provided by the fair hand of Noel Murphy.