Nous Sommes Merton!
First let me start by saying just how horrendous Friday night was. Coming home from work sitting in front of the TV and watching one of the most horrific scenes I’ve ever witnessed unfold as the streams flooded in live from abroad… Shocked and upset, I started scouring twitter and news websites to try and find some sort of comfort for the many questions I desperately needed answers for… How could something so bad happen? Why would the men in charge allow this travesty to take place. Sadly, no matter how hard I looked for answers, no-one could tell me how on Earth Fabian Delph got a start for England.
After retiring from football in the summer, the former Villa and Leeds man was thrown into the deep end to face arguably the best central midfield trio he’s ever come up against in his career. Iniesta, Busquets & Fabregas vs little Fabian Delph and a 56 year old Michael Carrick… what was Hodgson thinking? I mean it must be horrible, leaving the field after 63 minutes having been completely dominated by your opposition. When I was told there’d be a minutes silence at 11am, I duly observed – my thoughts and prayers were with the Delph family at what must be a very tough and difficult time..
One thing that BBC’s Children in Need preached on Friday was that there’s always someone worse off than you. For Example - if you can only afford to eat Beans on Toast, don’t be jealous of the man eating caviar - because there’s people starving in Africa that would kill for a lovely bowl of Heinz #3 and a slice of wholemeal Hovis. With this in mind, it made me think about the Delph situation and that it’s true there is always someone worse off than you, always someone more out of their depth and always someone that would kill to be bossed by a world cup winning midfield. In Delph’s case, those unlucky players were from Chessington KC. For on Saturday afternoon at a muddy Kimber Road, Chessington were bested in every department by a rampant Merton Social that spared no prisoners and pulled no punches as Chessy were firmly put to the sword.
On Monday, Merton had 16 players available. By Friday, we were down to 11. A familiar tale for those that have followed the ‘soash for a while and with no keeper and no substitutes, Merton were looking troubled going into what is generally a tough fixture even on home soil. Having already called up 3 lads from the first team, Merton were forced to bring in an overseas loan signing - as one time first team striker Bogdan was re-signed after a hiatus overseas. Knowing how Chessington like to play through the middle, Merton broke from their usual 4-4-2 to strengthen the midfield, with more of a 4-2-3-1.
But the formation was the easy bit, the hard bit was to be which Merton Social player would don the gloves?
Step forward Sam Wowk. “Give ‘em me” Shouted our pure middle-class hero as he kicked Cerberus in the tits and snatched the gloves from the mouth of Lucifer himself. “I’ll keep a f**king clean sheet for you”. As everyone stood around in awe of such a modern Hero, we all watched as his face dropped as Andy Larkin pulled out the lime green goalkeepers top he’d be wearing that evening. It looked horrendous, but hey, style isn’t everything.
Merton lined up as below, with Elwell returning to right back after three weeks out with a strained vagina and Chris came in for a deserved first start since he dislocated his shoulder.
Nick Ball returned to partner Terry at the back, with the latter reminding us that this partnership were unbeaten… only about 45 times throughout the morning, game and pub after the match. Ed mac came in for his first start for the two’s in a year and Webber was keen to make amends for his shoddy performance in the first game of the season.
Now the laws of physics state that, if 2π - 4θ then θ = π - 2θ, and thus θ = π/3. So at the coin toss, you could say that Morty achieved tan(θ) = tan(π/3) = √3 = 1/ξ and therefore ξ = 1/√3. Basically for those un-educated thick idiots amongst us, our skipper managed to draw the coin toss by achieving a 1 in 6000 possible outcome – landing the coin directly on its edge. The no-nonsense referee just said “F*ck it – heads” and awarded the victory to Morton, keeping his ever present record of winning 9 straight coin tosses on the bounce.
Buoyed by their victory over science, Merton sprinted out of the blocks like a greyhound – or Sam Wowk at the annual rugby bukkake biscuit w*nk-athon (it wouldn’t be a match report without at least one mention of that…) and began to show their flair. Josh and Jon on either wing were taking every opportunity to run with the ball while the central midfield trio were happy to skin their counterparts straight from the off. Webber was ignoring his responsibility as a defensive midfielder and it was proving to work to good effect, first managing to spray the ball out wide to Josh who delivered a stunning ball to the back post which was headed wide and then to Wilson, who jinked his way into the box and tried to square the ball – only for it to be unfortunately cleared off the line. Elwell and Taylor were getting forward too and the latter managed a great ball into the box, but unfortunately the eye of the needle pass evaded his own team mates as it was almost too perfect (to quote Andy Townsend).
Merton did take the lead though quite early on after a superb passage of play that reminded me of that terrible old Ant and Dec World Cup Song: “Ed Mac to Mooresy, Moorsey to Wilson, Wilson to Morty, Morty to Josh. Joshy to Webber, Webber to Webber, Webber to Keeper and goal!”
Sadly, I don’t think you’ll ever see Gary’s finish on any ‘Best of KDFL’ DVDs, but Gary Webber’s curling shot from 12 yards was drifting wide as the keeper managed to pirouette and back-heel the ball like Ronaldinho into the bottom corner. As Webber wheeled away in delight, this divided the Merton camp – Was it a goal? Was it an assist?
To determine, we stopped play to consult the FIFA rule-book, in which their definition states: “A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal.”
Still confused as to whether it was a goal or an assist, we consulted Urban Dictionary which stated:
“There’s loads of different types of goals, the worst goal in footy is when a player squares the ball when in a 2 on 1 with the keeper. This is a Jew Goal. A jew goal is frowned upon within the FIFA community and often results with the scoring player being called a Jew.”
With this in mind, we decided that Gary Webber had indeed scored.
Moments later, Merton doubled their lead and again it was Gary Webber at the heart of things. Gary had somehow found himself out wide and delivered an unbelievable cross to the back post, where Jon Wilson had managed to peel away from his marker and stooped to nod an unreal header into the opposite bottom corner from almost 15 yards out. A great cross and a great finish to give Merton a nice cushion.
With barely 30 minutes on the clock, Merton found themselves three to the good. It was almost like Webber had been kidnapped before the game and replaced with Pirlo, as our midfield man found himself the creator yet again, switching wide and producing a sumptuous left footed cross from deep that whipped round the whole of the defence to the back post. At this point, it was like an alarm clock had gone off in Matt Elwell’s head and he just got his head down and sprinted as fast as he could. It was something akin to the famous race home scene from Ferris Bueller’s day off where Ferris has to Race home to get into bed before his dad gets back from work
Needless to say, Matt Elwell was quicker than the 1986 Audi Quattro of a fullback and managed to get ahead of the man and slide in to slot the ball home from two yards out. An unbelievable pass, an unbelievable run but a very believable goal. Merton had looked more like 1970’s Brazil than an amateur team in the first half as we got our foot on the ball and competed for every single ball.
Half time came and Merton had been ruthless, but we knew Chessington would come out fighting and we couldn’t rest on our laurels. We had to try and keep the pace we’d established in the first half and try to continue in the same vein. To fuel us, goal hero Elwell unleashed his oranges which proved even more popular than his goal.
In the second half, Chessington decided to try and claw back some pride but we were still making it tough for them to get out of their own half. Sam’s goal kicks were tremendous and his rugby drop-goal style of kicking the ball on the half volley was seeing the ball fly far into the opponents half. After competing and usually winning the first and second balls, Merton looked good.
Chris had been excellent all first half, while rarely getting on the ball the pressure he was putting the defence under was causing them to lump it and lose it, his selfless running deserved a goal and he very nearly had it when a superb ball found him through on goal, only for his shot to drift narrowly wide of the near post. Merton did find the back of the net again, moments later, but it had been ruled out for offside – Josh just straying ahead of the ball as the pass came and was unfortunate that the linesman had his flag up and wasn’t cowering under an umbrella. It was quite similar to a goal Josh scored in the first half which definitely should have stood, the linesman was proving to be a thorn in the side of Josh who was having a really strong game and was unlucky not to have his first goal for the club.
In fact both wingers were having strong games and Wilson nearly had the chance to double his tally for the game when he was floored in the box. The ref blew his whistle but bizarrely, decided to bring it back for an earlier foul – and gave us a free kick on the edge of the box. Not once have I ever seen that in amateur football (and I have witnessed my fair share of odd decisions) but Merton were left with a free kick instead of an almost certain goal. Morton stepped up and hit a curling free-kick toward the top corner but it just shaved the far post as the keeper watched on wondering what day it was.
Nick and Terry were having a great game at the back clearing everything up to the point where it’s really hard to mention them in this report. They kept the striker and the midfielders so quiet, that there were no last ditch tackles or goal-line clearances needed. In fact, the only real moment to mention for Terry was when he cleared the ball straight into the opponents knackers – leaving him crumpled on a heap on the floor gasping in agony! Taylor was very composed throughout the game and had been playing superbly. Since no-one had volunteered to go off and everyone was playing so well, taylor was a victim of position and made way for Larkin with 30 minutes left.
Sam was having a brilliant game too and wasn’t forced into many saves, but the one time he faced a shot he had to be alert. The defence and midfield had been excellent in their task of restricting Chessington to shooting from distance and it had worked well – until and uncharacteristically rasping shot was unleashed from their sub CM which took a deflection and was fizzing into the bottom corner of the net. Wrong footed, Sam dived to the floor head first like a salmon and managed to save the ball and divert it wide with his schnozz. A terrific save that even got a round of applause from the oppo.
Chris had been excellent and again, fell foul to there being another striker on the bench and made way for Bogdan. A fiery character to say the least, Bogdan got straight into the action by flying into a strong challenge that their centre-back ferociously objected to. The referee could have handled it better, but sadly didn’t and in the end the rest of the game became about him trying to get his revenge on poor old Bogdan. As tackles escalated and the players began kicking each other, Bogdan was warned three times before going into the book. I felt sorry for the lad, who had come in to do us a massive favour – but sadly a frustrated back line were just putting the boot in to him and he reacted how most people would.
The final whistle sounded and Merton were victorious. A deserved 3points seeing us climb 2 points off third place with a game in hand on them. Perhaps promotion is still on the cards eh? Everyone to a man had been tremendous and the work ethic was outstanding. A seasons best performance so far.
Man of the Match
One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make, Elwell at RB was absolutely top drawer the whole game and notched the games best goal, Josh and Jon were excellent and should have had a couple of goals each. I’ve not mentioned Ed Mac’s name much in this report – mainly because he did the thankless task of just marshalling the midfield. He allowed Webber to get forward and to create chances and without him we’d have certainly not won by such a strong margin. However, a goal and two assists is just too strong to ignore. After a sensational first half performance – MOM is Gary Webber. Well played mate!