Merstham â€˜Aâ€™ v Warlingham â€˜Aâ€™
Saturday 12th September 2009
The â€˜Aâ€™ team kicked off their season with an away match at Merstham, although there were lots of familiar faces around the place due to it being the â€œadoptedâ€ home of Warlinghamâ€™s first team for 2009/10.
The afternoon didnâ€™t start well with the players forced to get changed in the open air as a result of some vagrants having made the changing rooms their home for the summer months and the building being condemned by the local council. Ah the joys of match day!
There were a number of new faces in the â€˜Aâ€™ team for the opening game, some of whom have recently joined the Club and others promoted from the â€˜Bâ€™ team but it was encouraging to have 14 players available.
The match started poorly for Warlingham with Merstham scoring from their opening corner in the first few minutes of the game due to some slack marking. However, it was good to see that heads didnâ€™t drop and the team rallied.
The first half offered a number of chances for both teams with Kevin Babcock and Dave Baker creating opportunities up front for Warlingham and Keith Williams pulling off a couple of fine saves at the other end. Unfortunately, Warlingham were unable to find the net before half-time to bring the scores level.
A change was made at half-time with Sean Phillips coming into the centre of midfield alongside Richard Wadsworth and he immediately injected a bit more pace. Other changes were made in the second half with Conor Back and David Cocksedge entering the fray.
Unfortunately Conor Back was soon forced to leave the play and this meant that Warlingham had to play the last 30 minutes or so with 10 men, which was not easy so early in the season on a reasonably warm afternoon.
That being said, Warlingham did still create goal scoring chances and were not outplayed by Merstham. However, it was, I suppose, inevitable that Merstham would make the extra man count and they scored a goal on the break with about 15 minutes of the match remaining.
Warlingham showed a lot of heart in their first game of the season bearing in mind that they were playing against 11 men and 2 rather dubious match officials. I am sure that this performance can be built upon over the coming season and it was great to see that all the players appear positive for the games ahead.
Final score: Merstham â€˜Aâ€™ 2 â€“ 0 Warlingham â€˜Aâ€™