A Point Apiece
Ultimately a disappointing result yesterday but probably a fair result overall.
First things first....discipline-wise, things were fine although Dave was pretty lucky not to get a second yellow for a foul in the second half. The ref called Leo over and warned him that the next foul would be Dave's last.
Up front Leon caused quite a few problems with his powerful running but the 4-3-3 system often left him a little bit short on support. Their keeper made one excellent block when Leon was clean through early on.
Early in the 2nd half we got our penalty for a foul on Leon (?) and he wriggled his way along the by-line. It did look a little on the soft side although the ref was very close to the incident.
Then we had the mad minute when the wheels came off. Their first goal was a touch fortunate as a free-kick took a massive dog-leg off our wall and fell to one of theirs close in. Gary wasn't happy about our slow reaction to the deflection and that shows the high standards he expects. We're not playing at the level yet when reactions like that are second nature (as they were last season).
The second goal came from a break from our own corner. Melvin was left very exposed by their quick break and we looked a bit of a mess at that point.
But we got our heads down and soon Aaron burst into the box, side-stepped a defender and rolled the ball past the keeper for a cool finish. He's enjoying a hot streak in front of goal at the moment and has nearly as many goals as the whole of last season but we now lose him for four games suspended.
On the negative side, Andre Da Costa had to go off with an injury in the first half.
On the positive side; I thought Sam Flegg had another excellent game as a marauding right-back.
So at least we battled back and got ourselves a point. I think we're all realistic and understand that it will take quite a few more games to integrate the old and new players into a reliable style. In the meantime, results are bound to be a bit up and down. Now we wait to see if Leatherhead win their cup replay on Weds. If they do, we won't have a league game next Saturday.
Re: A Point Apiece
If there could ever be an exhibition which encapsulates our inefficiencies that was it. Against a team that were ecstatic with a point - the second goal conceded was beyond belief.
Agree on Flegg, we need better delivery including set-pieces. It all sums up where we are.
Ayran is built like a bull - and looks like one in a china shop. I actually quite like him around the edge of the box, we need someone of his ilk, but he reacts to challenges and needs to reign things in, or we have problems. He's a Maclaren on steriods.
The important issue is to get everybody available. The Gaffer hasn't had the option of playing preferred combinations. Ollie looks stretched and needs cover, at Canvey and yesterday. Casey would have dropped back, Kirbs did well and put in a shift despite obviously feeling the effect of his foot injury.
Lee was trying to switch play and defenders clearly tackling and blocking.
Ironically in a couple of weeks the Gaffer could well have the problem of having too many options. These blasted injuries/suspensions are decimating us.
I don't usually slate the officials, but he was mentioned in pre-match gossip and how it panned out. The Lino actually raised his flag on the build up on their second, not that it made much difference. As for the Ref, he booked someone at every free-kick. Inadequate.
This is a phase and it will pass - the lads deserve credit for sticking at it - we will get it right.
Lino’s flag for second Merstham goal, card-fest and spots of bother for us
The assistant referee flagged for a foul by Ollie Sprague, who slid in to try to stop the marauding Merstham man, but missed him. As Merstham celebrated their goal, Ollie saw yellow.
The match saw 18 fouls awarded and 10 players cautioned, although three (Ollie and two Moatsiders) were carded after the referee played an advantage.
The penalty may have looked soft, but I am happy that the referee got it right and the people behind the goal all felt Leon had been tripped. The only protest from Gonsalves, the player who fouled him, came when he saw the referee’s red card come out of his pocket. “You’re not sending me off for that,” was his comment (the yellow, knowing it was going to get more air time than a publicity-hungry D-lister, was hiding underneath it).
I thought we had three even better penalty claims, none of which were given: when Leon was denied by the goalkeeper in the first 10 minutes, he was barged in the back just after he had shot; when Aaron, coming into the box down the inside right channel, was almost wrestled to the ground midway through the second half; then, in the final few minutes, Kezie was dragged off the ball, after tussling with the defender for 15 yards. How he was penalised, I do not know. If nothing else, it was clearly obstruction, because the defender was not in playing distance of the ball and his run blocked off Kezie’s run towards the ball.