MATCH REPORTS 2022/23 
- Match Reports by Chris Pullen -

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Grays Athletic 4-1 Merstham - Sunday 25th September - Isuzu FA Trophy

With the game finely poised at one apiece at half time, Merstham threw away an opportunity to progress in the FA Trophy by conceding two sloppy goals in the first five minutes of the second half. Although the 4-1 score line was harsh on the visitors, the bottom line was that Grays took their chances whereas the visitors squandered a number of good situations.

 

Perhaps kicking off at 1pm on Sunday did not suit Merstham, because they began the game lethargically and were lucky not to be a goal down in the opening few minutes when a shot by Grays' Osude hit the foot of the post with Mo Otuyo well beaten. The game was end-to-end in the opening exchanges and Lorenzo Lewis had a great chance to put the Moatsiders in front on 6', but he fired his shot into the side netting from 10 yards. A minute later, Grays should have scored when Watts blasted the ball over the bar when all alone 12 yards out. It wasn't a great surprise when Grays took the lead on 12' when Watts hit a superb dipping volley from 30 yards out, which went over Otuyo and into the net. Merstham were giving the ball away with alarming regularity, but Grays defending was no better than the Moatsiders and there was always a glimmer of hope that the visitors could get back on terms. They did so on 23', when Lorenzo Lewis went down in the box after a Grays defender stuck a leg out as Lewis shaped to go past him. Given Merstham's lamentable record from the penalty spot this season, an equaliser was far from certain, but midfielder Charlie Greenwood coolly slotted the penalty past the keeper and the Moatsiders were back on terms. The game began to settle down and Merstham began to get a measure of control, although it took a fine save from Mo Otuyo on the stroke of half time to push away a close-range effort from Watts to ensure the game was all-square at the break.    

 

The second half began disastrously for the visitors. On 48', a low cross from the right was half blocked and Jamal Abubakari, inside his 6 yard box decided to take a touch before clearing the ball, allowing Grays' Chukwu to charge the clearance down which bobbled into the net. Two minutes later, a free kick for Merstham just outside the Grays' box led to the visitors conceding another poor goal. Lewis' free kick was blocked and the ball hacked clear. From that point on it became a foot race as Grays' players sprinted forward in numbers, while Merstham were slow to recover. Merstham managed to avert the initial danger, but then gave the ball away in their final third. The ball was fed into the box from the left flank and Chukwu had time to receive the ball, swivel and fire it into the bottom corner. Although there was still plenty of time left, it felt like the contest was over. Merstham kept trying but all too often the quality needed in and around the box was sadly lacking. Grays rubbed salt into the wound on 72' when another Grays counterattack saw the Moatsiders shorthanded at the back and Gordon was allowed a clear run at goal before slotting it past Otuyo from 18 yards to make it 4-1.

 

Merstham: Otuyo, Alexiou, Reid, Abubakari (Kamara 77) Sankoh, Aziaya, Greenwood, Diallo (Sterling-Parker 73), Stewart, Hyman, Lewis (Bello 62).

Unused subs:  Blackwood, Morris, Trah, Adeniyi.

Man of the Match: Charlie Greenwood

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Merstham 3-0 Hythe Town - Monday 12th September - Isuzu FA Trophy

 

Merstham finally got their first win of the season with a solid, all-round team performance in this FA Trophy First Qualifying Round game. Merstham manager Peter Adeniyi had used the previous week to revamp his squad, bringing in right-back Jordan Wilson from Kingstonian, centre-back Luke Read, who had made over 100 appearances for Carshalton in the previous four seasons and forward Stephane Trah from Chalfont St Peter. Both Wilson and Read went straight into the side, which showed five changes from last time out.

 

The Moatsiders began the game well, although Hythe came close in the opening minutes with a header that skimmed the bar from a long throw. But Merstham were moving the ball well and enjoying a lot of possession. With Byran Zepo back from injury, the forward line had a focal point, with Charlie Greenwood playing in a much more advanced position just behind Zepo to give him options. Reid settled in well in partnership with Michael Kamara and the shape of the team and pattern of play looked far more joined up than it had in previous weeks. Lorenzo Lewis was looking especially lively wide on the left and he opened the scoring in the fifteenth minute. It was a good Merstham move from back to front and Greenwood linked well with Zepo before laying it off to Lewis. Wide on the left, Lewis took a touch to go inside before hitting a low, hard drive from 25 yards. The Town keeper got a hand to it but was rather surprisingly beaten at his near post. But the Moatsiders didn't care as Lewis wheeled away to celebrate, chased by his teammates. On 24', Reid almost marked his debut with a goal when he slid in at the far post but from close range, he couldn't direct his effort and the ball flew over the bar. The Moatsiders were very much on top and looking capable of adding a second. That goal arrived on 26' and what a goal it was! Lewis played a defence-splitting pass to Greenwood who was brought down crudely by a Town defender just outside the box. On another day, Town's Fregene might have seen red, but the referee brandished a yellow instead. Lewis took the free kick and smashed it past the keeper, who was beaten by sheer power, to put the Moatsiders two up. Town had a good chance to reduce the arrears when Steventon had a free header from a corner, but he failed to hit the target. Just before the interval Greenwood had a chance to extend the lead with a close-range header, but he couldn't get over the ball and it ended up as a comfortable save for the keeper. But no-one could deny that the Moatsiders weren't full value for their two goal lead at half-time.

 

Hythe made a change at half-time, bringing on Gray at the back and switching to 3-5-2. They looked much better for it and the midfield, which the Moatsiders had dominated in the opening forty-five minutes, was far more competitive. On 50', it took a great block by Wilson to deny Collin on a swift counterattack. A few minutes later, Town's Goldsmith hit one from 30 yards that skimmed the bar. Hythe had plenty of possession, but really failed to test Mo Otuyo, who had a comfortable evening. Reid and Kamara looked dominant at the back and Hythe's only real threat came from set pieces. The Moatsiders continued to look dangerous whenever they came forward. The game was becoming very stretched which probably suited Hythe more than Merstham, who weren't content to sit back and defend. Greenwood went close on 68' with a shot from the edge of the box and minutes later, Zepo was agonisingly close to prodding the ball home as it flashed across the six-yard box. On 78' a mazy run by Alpha Diallo left several blue shirts in his wake as he ghosted past them. But his finish just lacked power and the Town keeper managed to get a foot to it and keep the ball out. A minute later, Diallo had an even better chance when he was all alone ten yards out. But his shot was superbly saved by Lee-Wharton low to his left. The Moatsiders had a great chance to wrap it up on 87' when Zepo did well to hold the ball up. For some reason, Steventon first grabbed him, then hauled him down and the referee pointed to the spot. Any Merstham supporter will tell you that this season has been a tale of missed penalties. That trend continued as Zepo hit the spot kick wide. But as the game went into added time, another Merstham counterattack found Diallo alone in the box. He took his time, drew a defender and then laid it off to Zepo, who looked like he must score, but his shot was cleared off the line by a covering defender. The ball broke to sub Malakai Hyman, who blasted it home from 12 yards to put the icing on the cake.   

      

Merstham: Otuyo, Wilson, Kamara, Reid, Sankoh, Adeniyi (Blackwood 71), Aziaya, Greenwood, (Hyman 73), Diallo, Hyman, Lewis (Tray 70').

Unused subs: Ringer, Alexiou, Abubakari, Morris.

Man of the Match: Luke Reid

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Merstham 1-2 South Park - Monday 29th August - Isthmian League

Merstham made it a miserable Bank Holiday weekend with their second loss in three days, but they will be wondering how they lost a game that they dominated for 65 minutes. Although it was a far better performance than at Binfield, the Moatsiders missed too many chances and in the end individual mistakes cost them dear.

 

The Merstham line up showed four changes to the side that started at Binfield, with Mo Otuyo making his debut in goal. The opening exchanges were relatively even, though as the half wore on, the Moatsiders began to enjoy a greater share of possession and started to look threatening. Both sides had some promising situations, but the final pass or, at times, simple decision-making was poor. Merstham became increasingly dominant in possession and on 38' they were rewarded with a penalty. Some nice one-touch passing between Lorenzo Lewis and Malachi Morris ended with Morris having his legs taken away in the box as he shaped to shoot. Morris dusted himself down and took the spot kick himself. The Moatsiders had missed their previous two penalties, so it wasn't a huge surprise when Park keeper Basey got a good hand to the spot kick and will possibly feel he should have done better with it as he palmed it into the net. But one nothing almost became two in first half added time, when a powerful shot from Lewis cannoned off the foot of the post with Basey well beaten. How the Moatsiders could have done with that extra cushion. 

 

The second half was only 40 seconds old when Malakai Hyman had a great chance to extend the lead. He went through with only Basey to beat, but his tame finish was easily smothered by the keeper. Two minutes later, another good Merstham attack ended with Siao Blackwood prodding the ball just wide with only Basey to beat. South Park had a great chance to get back on terms on 56', but McGee blazed over the bar from 10 yards. Hyman had another gilt-edged chance when put through on goal with just Basey to beat. He lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper but didn't get enough on it and the ball was easily cleared. But the Moatsiders looked comfortable and in control of the game, that is until the 64th minute. With no apparent danger, Charlie Alexiou went to play it back to his keeper, but his pass was woefully under-hit and Park sub Quiasssaca latched onto it and slotted the ball past a stranded Otuyo. In a blink of an eye the game turned, and South Park raised their game by 20% as the confidence seeped out of the Moatsiders. Quiassaca then won the game for the visitors on 76' when hesitant defending allowed him to run at the back four and slot the ball past Otuyo. 

 

Merstham: Otuyo, Alexiou, Kamara, Abubakari, Sankoh, Blackwood, Aziaya (Greenwood 85), Morris (Sterling Parker 69') Diallo, Hyman, Lewis (Adeniyi 79').

Unused subs: Ringer 

Man of the Match: Lorenzo Lewis

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Binfield 4-0 Merstham - Saturday 27th August - Isthmian League

 

Binfield cruised to a comfortable and deserved win, but Merstham made it easy for the Moles with a very poor performance. 

 

Merstham began brightly and were on top for the first ten minutes, creating a couple of half chances. It wasn't easy to play football on a very poor surface but that was the same for both sides. The first half was relatively even until Binfield opened the scoring on 31'. A long ball over the top turned the Merstham defence and they were still all at sea when Harvey Harry's scuffed shot deflected past Joe Ringer into the corner of the net. A minute before the break, Jamal Abubakari needlessly tried to win out by the corner flag. That allowed Harry to get past him and into the box. Abubakari then compounded his initial mistake by bringing down the Moles striker from behind. Liam Tack converted the penalty to make it 2-0 at the break.

 

The second half was just ten minutes old when Merstham were handed a great chance to get back in the game. Raheem Sterling-Parker was needlessly fouled by Morgan as he dribbled into the box. Sterling-Parker took the spot kick himself, but it was a very poor effort and Moles keeper Grace saved comfortably with his legs. That knocked the stuffing out of the Moatsiders. On 74' a cross from Denton from wide on the right eluded everyone, including Ringer and went straight in to the far corner to make it 3-0 . In added time, Binfield rubbed salt into the wound when  Efedje's near post finish made it four.

 

Merstham: Ringer, Alexiou, Kamara, Dacosta (Morris 45), Sankoh, Abubakari, Blackwood, Greenwood (Da Silva 45) Diallo, Hyman, Sterling-Parker (Lewis 75').

Unused subs: Adeniyi, Aziaya, Lewis

Man of the Match: Alpha Diallo

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Sevenoaks Town 2-0 Merstham - Wednesday 24th August - Emirates FA Cup

 

Merstham bowed out of the FA Cup and paid the price for failing to take their chances in the first game, as Sevenoaks progressed to the next round with a fairly comfortable win. Two goals in three first half minutes were enough to put Sevenoaks through and although the Moatsiders produced a spirited second half display, Town keeper McCarthy didn't have a shot on target to deal with. Injuries to both Ore Bello and Bryan Zepo picked up on Saturday forced Merstham boss Peter Adeniyi into two changes, with Morris and Abubakari coming into the side. Adeniyi also switched to a back three, with Abubakari coming in on the right alongside Kamara and Dacosta.

 

To say that the Moatsiders were poor in the first half is probably being a little kind. Sevenoaks were a yard quicker and won every challenge on the ground and in the air. In football terms, it looked as though they wanted it more. Joe Ringer was tested by a stinging shot at his near post from Hector as early as the third minute, which the Merstham keeper pushed behind for a corner. Hector was a constant menace and kept finding a pocket on space between the back three and Aziaya and Blackwood in midfield. Gondoh was running the show for Town and his shot on 20' went narrowly wide. For the opening 25 minutes, Merstham saw little of the ball as they were penned in their own half and when they did gain possession, they gave it back all to easily. Just when it felt as though Merstham were gaining a foothold in the game, they conceded a truly dreadful goal on 34'. It began with a free-kick to the Moatsiders deep in Town's half on the right side. A very poor delivery didn't clear the first man and it was headed comfortably clear. Town had proved several times how quickly they turn defence into attack and did so once again. Ringer came well out of his goal to deal with a through ball, and he had plenty of time to clear it. But the Merstham keeper scuffed his clearance which went straight to Hector on the halfway line. With Ringer stranded 40 yards from his goal most expected Hector to take a pot at the goal, but he elected to play it wide to Gondoh on the right. He cut in, drew Ringer and unselfishly squared it to Bamba to tap into an empty net. A few minutes later, Sevenoaks showed the Moatsiders how to take a free kick. From wide on the left, the ball was beautifully flighted in by Wilson and Olurunnisomo bundled it across the line on 37'. It was hard to argue that Town weren't good value for their 2-0 lead at the interval. 

 

Merstham boss Peter Adeniyi made two changes at half time, taking off Morris and Aziaya and replacing them with Charlie Greenwood and Malakai Hyman, who went up front. But the whole side came out with a different level of energy and commitment and looked so much better for it. That said, it was Sevenoaks who almost extended their lead as twice in the opening ten minutes of the half Ringer stood up well to block shots from first Gondoh and then Hector who were both through on goal.  But Merstham were having more of the ball and looking threatening too for the first time in the game. Raheem Sterling-Parker had a great chance to pull one back on 57' but blazed over the bar from just inside the box. Ringer produced another fine save low to his left to keep out a skimmer from Mensah that was heading for the bottom corner.  On 71', Merstham came close to pulling one back after great work from Greenwood wide on the left and Alexiou, arriving late at the far post could only stab the ball wide at full stretch. That was really as close at the Moatsiders got. They enjoyed plenty of possession in the final 15 minutes but couldn't create anything of note and Sevenoaks were happy to sit deep and defend in numbers.   

 

Merstham: Ringer, Alexiou, Kamara, Dacosta, Sankoh, Abubakari, Blackwood, Aziaya (Greenwood 45) Diallo, Morris (Hyman 45), Sterling-Parker (Lewis 75').

Unused subs: Adeniyi.

Man of the Match: Charlie Alexiou

 

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Merstham 1-1 Sevenoaks Town- Saturday 20th August - Emirates FA Cup

Merstham could and probably should be in the draw for the next round of the FA Cup. A missed penalty with fifteen minutes remaining was the clearest opportunity, but the Moatsiders also spurned a couple of gilt-edged chances in the final minutes of a highly entertaining cup-tie. On the plus side, it was a much-improved performance from Peter Adeniyi's young team and there were signs that the new-look side is starting to gel.

 

The match was end-to-end from the start, but both defences looked solid, and the two keepers were well-protected, although Joe Ringer did have to push away a speculative effort from ex-Moatsider Dan Hector in the fourth minute. The game was ignited by a cracking goal from Mertsham left back Aziz Sankoh on 24'. A long throw by Michael Kamara was only half-cleared, and the ball dropped to Aziz on the edge of the box who hammered it into the far corner. Town had a chance to test Ringer on 31', but an incisive burst by Olarunnisomo ended with a complete miskick when only 12 yards out. Just before the break, another Merstham corner almost led to a second goal. The corner wasn't dealt with, and Charlie Alexiou's close range effort was blocked by Town keeper McCarthy. The ball again ran free to Sankoh on the edge of the box, but this time his shot went straight at McCarthy. There was still time for Ore Bello to rob a Town defender, but he dragged his shot wide. 

 

Sevenoaks responded by making two changes at the interval and started the second half strongly as Gondoh began to pull the strings in midfield. They drew level on 50' when the Moatsiders got caught in transition. Town sprang forward and with the home side trying desperately to get back, Sevenoaks left-back Duru cut inside his man before curling the ball into the far corner of Ringer's net. It was an excellent finish to put the visitors back on terms. For the next 10-15 minutes, it was Sevenoaks who were on top and looking the more likely to grab a second. But the Moatsiders dug deep, defended well and weathered the storm. As the game entered the final 20 minutes, it was Merstham who looked the stronger and began to ask questions of the Town defence, with Bryan Zepo proving a handful. It was Zepo's burst into the box on 28' that caused panic in the Town defence. The ball was taken off Zepo's toes as he went to shoot but ran to Bello. A lunge by a Town defender appeared to take the Merstham man's legs and referee Josh Langley-Fineing, who had an excellent match, immediately pointed to the spot. With Merstham's nominated penalty taker Raheem Sterling-Parker having already been substituted, skipper Michael Kamara placed the ball on the spot. Kamara opted for power rather than guile, but his effort cannoned against the underside of the bar and was scrambled clear. But that didn't deter the Moatsiders as they continued to push for a winner. Lorenzo Lewis was desperately unlucky when his superb strike from 20 yards was arrowing into the top corner before McCarthy produced a world-class save to tip the ball over the bar. Diallo was then denied by a superb block by Weaire with five minutes left. A series of corners saw a ball glanced on at the near post and ran straight through the six-yard box without an amber shirt able to turn it into an empty net. As the game went into six minutes of added time, an awful header by a Town defender put Lewis through on goal with just the keeper to beat, but his tame effort was comfortably saved by McCarthy

 

The Moatsiders must now travel to Sevenoaks for the replay on Wednesday evening at 7.30pm.      

 

Merstham: Ringer, Alexiou, Kamara, Dacosta, Sankoh, Blackwood, Aziaya (Greenwood 90) Diallo, Bello (Hyman 77), Sterling-Parker (Lewis 64'), Zepo.

Unused subs: Adeniyi, Abubakari, Morris

Man of the Match: Aziz Sankoh

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Tooting & Mitcham Utd 0-0 Merstham- Tuesday 16th August - Isthmian League

Merstham picked up their first point of the season and almost snatched all three when Lorenzo Lewis hit the bar in the 90th minute. But it was an instantly forgettable encounter, which was high on endeavour, but low on quality.

 

Resplendent in their new grey and black away strip, manager Peter Adeniyi made four changes to the side that lost at home to Southall, with Sankoh, Sterling-Parker, Diallo and Morris all starting. It was Tooting who came closest to scoring on 10', when Mbango's cross shot went inches wide. Those behind the goal confirmed that keeper Joe Ringer got fingertips to the ball, and although the match officials gave a goal kick, it really was a fine save by the Merstham keeper. But that was as good as it got in terms of any real excitement in a poor opening forty-five minutes. Both sides treated the ball as if it were a hot potato and all too often the ball was launched forward more in hope than expectation. Both sides worked hard and no-one could fault the effort, but it was rare that either side strung more than a couple of passes together in their opponent's half before surrendering possession. The closest Merstham came to troubling the Tooting keeper was a Dacosta header that went narrowly over the bar ten minutes before the break.

 

The second half was a carbon-copy of the first, with possession given away cheaply and misplaced passes the order of the day. But in the final twenty minutes, the momentum of the game started to shift as the Moatsiders began to gain the ascendancy. They looked fitter and stronger than the home side and suddenly space, that had been at a premium all evening, started to appear in the Tooting half of the pitch. On several occasions the ball was fizzed into the Tooting box, but although the Moatsiders had plenty of players in and around the area, it wouldn't quite drop to a man in grey and black. It was generally a case of 'almost but not quite' as Merstham tried to fashion an opportunity. As the game entered the final minute, a good Merstham move on the left flank found Lorenzo Lewis in the box. The forward let the ball run across him before unleashing a powerful, right-footed drive which smacked against the angle of post and bar with the keeper well beaten. But over the ninety minutes, a draw was a fair result. Merstham's attention now turns to the FA Cup with a home tie against Sevenoaks Town on Saturday.  

 

Merstham: Ringer, Alexiou, Kamara, Dacosta (Abubakari 79'), Sankoh, Blackwood, Aziaya, Diallo, Morris (Bello 86') Sterling-Parker (Lewis 67'), Zepo.

Unused subs: Adeniyi, Hyman

Man of the Match; Michael Kamara      

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Merstham 1-2 Southall - Saturday 13th August - Isthmian League

On a blistering hot afternoon, more suited to cricket than football, Merstham began their campaign in the Isthmian South Central with a disappointing performance. They were beaten by two free kicks, but there is no question that the visitors deserved the three points. A brand-new side will no doubt take several games to gel, but there were very few individual performances of note, except for the introduction of Raheem Sterling-Parker from the bench, who galvanised a lack-lustre display.

 

Southall started by far the better. They almost went ahead on 9', when a shot from Heneghan crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced down on the line, before being hooked clear. It is fortunate that goal line technology is not available at this level, as it looked very close to being over the line. But by the 15th minute, the visitors were in charge, and it was no great surprise when they took the lead on 19'. A free kick was needlessly conceded 25 yards out. Heneghan bent the ball around the wall on the side they were meant to be covering and into the bottom corner. Questions must be asked about how the wall was lined up to go in like that. The Merstham faithful might have hoped for a response, but there really wasn't one. The Moatsiders seemed content to play the ball sideways and backwards without really trying to break the lines. After a while, patience ran out and a long diagonal ball was hit from back to front, but all too often it went out of play or straight to the Southall keeper, who was time wasting from the 20th minute, aided and abetted by a referee who seemed to believe that the ball being in play was somewhat of an inconvenience and took minutes getting the game restarted. If anyone deserved a yellow card for time-wasting, it was the match official. Aside from wasting time, the Southall keeper didn't have a shot to save in the opening 45 minutes. Joe Ringer in the Merstham goal wasn't overly busy either, but he had to palm away a shot from Mark on 38'. With five minutes of the half remaining, Merstham conceded another free kick in almost an identical position to the first goal. Once again Heneghan lined it up. This time he curled a superb shot over Ringer's grasping fingers into the top corner to make it 2-0 at the interval. 

 

Peter Adeniyi brought on Malachi Morris up front at half time, but the game quickly settled into a familiar pattern of both defences largely on top. Undoubtedly conditions didn't help, but the Moatsiders build up was too slow and didn't really move a well-organised Southall defence around enough to create space. The pattern didn't really change until the 55th minute, with the introduction of Raheem Sterling-Parker. From his arrival on the pitch, he created problems for the visitors with his ability to hold the ball and link play up. He also was unafraid to turn and run at tiring defenders. A free kick won by Sterling-Parker was floated into the far post on 65' and Charlie Alexiou will wonder how he missed the target from close range. With seven minutes remaining, Taylor bundled needlessly into the back of Bryan Zepo and the referee pointed to the spot. It took the best part of 3 minutes to actually take the spot kick as the Southall players had undoubtedly some pleasant conversations with the match official. Eventually, Sterling-Parker stepped up to calmly convert the penalty on 40'. That led to a nervy last 10 minutes for the visitors, but the Moatsiders were unable to carve out a clear-cut chance to try and snatch a point.

 

Merstham: Ringer, Hyman, Alexiou, Kamara, Dacosta, Adeniyi (Diallo 83'), Blackwood, Aziaya (Morris 45'), Lewis (Sterling-Parker 55'), Bello, Zepo.

Unused subs: Sankoh, Abubakari

Man of the Match: Raheem Sterling-Parker      

 

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Merstham 2-3 Reading XI - Saturday 23rd July - Pre-Season Friendly

As the centrepiece of the Merstham Community Day, the players of both sides produced an entertaining and free-flowing game, which could have gone either way. The Moatsiders battled back from two down to pull it back to 2-2, before Reading grabbed the winner with 15 minutes left. 

 

Merstham had a great chance to go in front as early as the fourth minute. A ball over the top of the Reading defence saw the Reading keeper and Raheem Sterling-Parker in a race for the ball near the edge of the box. The Merstham striker got there first and nodded the ball past the stranded keeper, but a covering defender hooked it off the line. However, the referee had seen the keeper clatter into Sterling-Parker and pointed to the spot. Lorenzo Lewis stepped up to take the spot kick, but his well-struck effort smacked against the inside of the post and was cleared to safety. Both sides were playing some neat, attractive football and the home side didn't look out of their depth at all. Like many sides, Merstham like to play out from the back, but that always brings with it an element of risk. On 25',  Merstham keeper Joe Ringer delayed his clearance fractionally longer than he should have done, as he was closed down by a Royals forward and the ball rebounded off the Reading player into the corner of the net to make it 1-0. With five minutes remaining of the first half, Reading added a second with a beautifully worked move. A series of one-touch passes was neatly finished off by Reading's centre-forward as he slid the ball past Ringer. But on the stroke of half time, the Moatsiders pulled one back when a cross from the right was turned in at the near post to make it 2-1 at the break.

 

The second half started as the first half did with Sterling-Parker in a race for a through ball with the Reading keeper. This time the Merstham forward finished with aplomb as he lobbed the ball over the keeper to make it 2-2 on 47'. The Moatsiders almost took the lead on the hour, but a goal bound effort that beat the keeper was cleared off the line. The Royals won the game with a carbon copy of Merstham's first goal. Good work down the right side led to a low, near-post cross that was turned in from close range on 75'. But the Moatsiders will have been pleased with their performance as they matched Reading throughout the game for fitness, work rate and quality on the ball.