The Merton Social III team got their season up and running with a well earned three points at home to AFC Kingston this weekend. The away side had proven to be tricky opponents previously for the Soche, having taken 4 points from the two fixtures last season.
Both teams started the game strongly, with Merton moving the ball well in midfield and Kingston causing a few problems in behind the back line. New signing Jack Dowell took the armband for the first time and found himself in the thick of the action early on, drawing a clumsy challenge from a defender in the box to give the Soche a great chance to take the lead from the spot. Often compared to Eden Hazard in his penalty taking, TK gave the 'keeper the eyes and calmly rolled the ball in to the corner to put his side 1-0 up.
Feeling aggrieved over the awarding of the penalty, Kingston looked to respond quickly and were having most of their success down the left hand side, with Oscar having to be a the top of his game for large periods. It was on the stroke of half-time that they eventually drew level, with a ball in to the box finding the forward completely unmarked to tap home.
Merton took control of the game in the second half and were putting real pressure on to the back four, with Louis looking a real threat and forcing a couple of good saves early on. A long throw in to the box was flicked on by TK, and the ball eventually dropped to Kiran who was able to fire the three's in to a 2-1 lead.
Things went from bad to worse for Kingston as one of their midfielders lost his cool and lowered his head in to captain JD and rightly saw red with 20 minutes still to play. This led them to play a more direct, route one style of play which played in to our hands with Carl and Ethon never really looking troubled at CB.
At the other end, a free kick from TK and a fine solo effort by Louis forced two very good saves from the Kingston 'keeper, but there was to be no icing on the cake with the ref calling full time at 2-1.