Merton were the oppo in the SAL Div 2 and recalling our loss away to them last year, we knew we were in for a tough battle of a game.
So off to South London we trekked, some by train, some by plane and some by automobile (I lied about the plane bit, just thought it sounded good!)
It was a wet & windy Saturday afternoon, but the pitch was in good nick, so it looked as though it would suit the 3's brand of football (football for the people)
After being given the keys to executive changing room (it had padded seats!) the 3's got changed and got out onto the slick surface of the Merton pitch.
The game kicked off at 3pm and from the off the 3's looked in control of the match.
Some good work by Paul Amico early on put Danny Green in on goal early doors, only for Danny's shot to fizz past the post.
Then came an early goal from the 3s. A corner was given to Norsemen and the box was loaded, Danny Green whipped in the corner and it caused mayhem in the Merton box only for a shot at the back post from Amico to ricochet off the post and onto a Merton defenders leg from 5 yards looping into the roof of the net! 1-0 to Norsemen.
The 3's then proceeded to dominate the midfield battles and won a lot of ball in the air. It was still felt that the 3's could give a bit more in the match though as it seemed as though they were still in 2nd gear.
A couple of alarms were had though maybe a bit of overplaying the ball and allowing the Merton pacey attack to break on the 3's defence, but nothing came of these couple of chances.
Then came goal number 2, a well worked Norsemen move through the midfield resulted in the ball being lashed in the back of the net by Danny Green! A great finish to a great move! 2-0 to Norsemen
Half Time 0-2
The Half Time Team Talk spoke of ensuring that we didn't give the Merton Midfield any space to turn and run at us as that was where Merton looked dangerous.
The start of the second half saw Norsemen come out on the back foot and do exactly the opposite of what was spoken about during the half time team talk.
Merton threatened and put Norsemen under pressure but it wasn't looking like Merton were going to score and then disaster struck.
Merton picked the ball up on the edge of the Norsemen area and had an 18 yard shot that took a slight deflection which saw the ball squirm under K "The German" and into the net. K admitted that it was an error on his behalf but he only did it to make the game more interesting.
Despite this setback Norsemen looked to still create chances and Danny proceeded to hit the post from a tight angle and Paul Amico hit a screamer from 25 yards that the keeper plucked out the top corner!
Then it came, a Penalty was awarded to Norsemen with around 10mins remaining, this was to seal the match 3-1.
Danny somehow managed to shank his penalty wide of the bottom left corner leaving the keeper to look as it whistled past his post.
This miss gave Merton heart as they mounted more attacks and piled 3 and sometimes 4 up top.
It was down to K to have the last word with a great save low down late on to deny Merton the equaliser!
Merton 1-2 Norsemen
For every away match report this year we will also rate the Showers, the food and the Beer Jug Rating which is an integral part of the SAL Away Day experience.
So here goes!
Lovely and hot and plenty of showers to go round.
A short walk from the changing room (Bonus!)
Good old meat and pasta.
Really tasty and Bevers didn't like his so we got seconds! :)
Beer Jug Rating: 8
Kronenberg on Tap.
Jug was quite pricey though at £22.50
Deano and Pett got to drink most of it to themselves with a little help from Bevers as everyone else buggeredoff home (Bonus x2!)
The Merton boys stayed back to play darts and Deano & Pett enjoyed some good banter and more beer with the Merton lads.
This led to an interesting trip home via Bits & Bobs (picture attached) where a Buddha was found (Bonus x3!)
Old Paulines Away (AFA Cup Match)