In 1985, Paul Hardcastle sang that the average age of a dead soldier in Vietnam was ‘19’. Funnily enough, that’s also the amount of players the second team signed on this Summer. Well, technically it was 18, but now that Rob Bevan has remembered he was born in 1984 and not 1982, we’ve finally got our full complement of legal players.
It was typical though that just as we got everyone legal, a virus hit the Merton training camp that decimated the playing squad quicker than an aids riddled African prostitute in a Nigerian village. That virus was called David Cameron, I mean come on – who allows the Great North Run, a triathlon, Found Festival, Holi festival, A Malaysian Airlines Flight, a Wedding, a stag do and 3 other holidays to all be scheduled on the same day as KCG FC at home? With four more years until Jez Corbyn takes his rightful seat at the top table and sorts out this godforsaken mess, something drastic needed to be done to prevent the quickest drop in Merton history since Sam Wowk’s pants hit the floor at the annual rugby gayathon in 2013.
Thankfully, it was that very sexually ambiguous man that proved to be Merton’s glimmer of hope, bringing along Joe the Plumber and Ben the Belgian into the fold to make sure that we had at least enough players to kick off the game. Add to that the fact we didn’t have a referee and Ian’s dad had to step in, it was looking like it would be a tough old day at the office for Merton’s men in black and white.
With one Larkin feigning injury so he could spend the day with his Mrs and the 2015 root-vegetable festival, Larkin Jr. stepped forward to take the LWA heavyweight title of manliness and made himself available for his Kimber Road debut. Scott had flown in the night before from his tax-free trip to Brugge to slap around some Canadians and brought his mate Chris along, who’d come all the way from Squirrels Bar in Fallowfield, Mancs just for the game.
With a lot of new faces in the line-up, we all knew it was going to be tough. So an earlier start than usual at 12:30pm was arranged. Of course, in true Merton style, everyone still turned up at 1pm. Thankfully, Messrs Elwell & Moffatt had set off from the ‘shire at 7:15am to get to South West Mordor on time and were able to dispatch the nets with ease, so we could get changed and going from 1pm to ensure we didn’t suffer the same slow start as next week.
After a keen as mustard warm up from our fitness coach Gareth Thomas (that consisted of him asking what the centre-circle was called in football while we all did the Bafetimbi Gomis panther celebration), we were ready to rock.
Merton lined up in a somewhat unfamiliar 4-4-2, Scotty in sticks with a back four of Wowk, Joe, Hall & Taylor, while a flat midfield 4 of Fryer, Elwell, Ben and a third fit Moffatt were selected to try and hold on to the ball as much as possible and not give it away as much as last week! The strikers consisted of new boy Manc-y Chris and Morty, who massaged his huge ego and wore the armband himself. Morton proved himself an instantly success as skipper and promptly notched his first win of the season – correctly guessing tails… it never fails.
However, winning the toss came at a price as the captain made the stupid decision to switch ends. Since one goal is the size of a child and the other the size of a rugby post, Morton thought it a nice idea to have the big goal second half and when after 10 minutes new signing Ben stepped inside his man and crashed a fierce shot from 25 yards off the crossbar – the team knew that it would have sailed into the top corner had we been facing the other set of sticks. Whack whack oops!
Merton started the more brightly of the two teams and had three or four really good attacks thwarted. Firstly from a foul on the edge of the area in a space only know to seconds as “Moffatt territory” that the referee waved play on for – clearly not knowing that a freekick is more of an advantage to us than Fryer with an open goal! Secondly was Ben’s epic bar shot, which he replicated at about 5pm when the fake yank hit the bar very very hard!!
KCG took the lead 30 minutes in, a hopeful ball forward was capitalised on by their nippy forward who was, in all honesty, offside. The flag went up but when the ref didn’t spot it, the flag went back down and then it was harder for us to state the case. That said, it had been a close game and had Scott not managed to tip one round the post a few minutes earlier, they could have scored a legitimate goal, so we can hardly take it away from them.
KCG had one real plan, get the ball to their quick winger. For most of the first half, it resembled the scene from family guy where ‘greased up deaf guy’ evades capture by slipping past everyone. It was starting to prove a real annoyance as a few half-arsed tackles went in and he ended up coming out with the ball. Sod this thought Moffatt who decided to take a leaf out of Razor Ruddock’s book and just laced him right up into the air until he came back down with snow on him. After that he was fairly quiet and Moffatt escaped a booking since the referee genuinely didn’t have any cards on him! Any hope that this might have spurred Merton on into a bit of a fight though was short-lived as Moffatt remained the only person in the first 45 to make a slide tackle – and even that was made at a risk, with a list of injuries longer that the receipt for Fryer’s lap dances on a Friday night in Spearmint Rhino.
We went in half time 0-1 down and Merton hadn’t really got going. Moff flying in all over the shop to try and inspire some fight meant he needed a breather and we had to shuffle the pack, Chris went out wide and ben indoors, while Fryer came up front to be the focal point of the attack. It wasn’t long before we needed Moff back on the pitch though as Fryer’s game came to an abrupt end. When he was horrifically chopped by a #10 who did lost his balance and took out the big man like that famous Boris Johnson tackle against Germany (see Cover Video above). Even a quick ham shank from Ian’s dad couldn’t get Fryer up as his mid-pitch massage for once finished with an un-happy ending.
We soon found ourselves two down after a bit of ring rust in the defence allowed their quick striker to get in and finish in the bottom corner, again, we’d been alright to this point, but KCG had been knocking on the door. What followed next though was one of the most ungodly sights ever witnessed on a football pitch. The striker, sadly, celebrated. It marked a truly depressing day in KDFL history and I’m ashamed to say that I was there to witness the embarrassment. There’s been some horrible sights on football pitches over the years; Hillsborough, The Dyer/Bowyer fight and Gary Linker taking a dump, but an amateur “airplane” celebration in the Kingston and District League Division Two surely tops the lot. On behalf of Merton Social FC I would like to sincerely apologise to all that witnessed this travesty, we should not have allowed this to happen. We’re deeply sorry for any offence caused by our shambolic defending which allowed this to happen.
It 0-2 there was a shout for a Penalty late on, when Morton turned the Centre Back and got a lovely pair of size 11 studs down his ankle before being called a “diving prick”. I mean, he got half of that right, but a diver??? Never! The ref missed it though and the game played on.
Sadly their icing on the cake was complete within minutes of that misgiving. A deflected cross from their little ADHD striker looped over Scott and again he wheeled away in delight on what was clearly his Make a Wish Foundation special day out.
There wasn’t much left to do late on other than a couple of revenge tackles that needed to be made, firstly from Moffatt as he did a bit of a barrel roll into their annoying full-back and then finally Morton managed to nail the guy who got Fryer earlier and somehow managed to win the ball first before sending him into a treble somersault that left him in a heap – clearly mistimed!
The game ended and, being fair, KCG deserved the win. The score line was slightly flattering and there were shades of Larkin’s infamous “Turd Polishing”, however we’re still way off where we need to be going into what will be our third game of an already disappointing season. How can we put it right? I hear you all scream. There were two things wrong with the performance, there was little heart shown from anyone bar Moffatt and there was too much lumping the ball forward, a lot of players had a tendency to not want the ball which was odd and when we did have it we hoofed it, lost the resulting headers and then spent most of the day chasing back. Not a great way to play football. The biggest disappointment of all though, no Yelwell. I mean he played, he just didn’t yell his own name. it was sad.
On the positive side, it was the first time we’d played with half the squad and there were some flashes of ability. Ben played really well out wide and after having 6 years out, you can tell Joe is a very good player that just needs game time to get back to his best. Chris was starved of service the whole game and with a bit more appetite for the ball out wide, I’m sure he’d be scoring goals. Having Moffatt back was a massive bonus as he looked hungry and ready to create – we just all need to take a little step upwards around him to offer more.
Man of the Match
This week goes to Andy Moffatt. For smashing the winger so hard that it gave the left backs some respite for the rest of the match. Well done!