Strong winds hinder Merton’s efforts to set the grapevine alight, despite falling oil prices

In recent years Merton have kept the engines of Ed Mac and Kyle Hart well-oiled but this has come at a cost, and at the end of the 2014/15 campaign Merton’s fuel resources were low. However with the price of Brent crude falling to $28 a barrel, its lowest since 2003, Merton stocked up in order to add fuel to the grapevine during their 2015/16 debut season in the Kingston and District Premier League.

Prior to the match up with TFT Southwest, Merton found themselves in limbo, knowing that anything less than a point would see them battle for mid-table for the remainder of the season, but a result would see then still in with a chance of lifting silverware.

Saturday 6th February 2016 had eventually arrived, much to the delight of Harry Parkin, who was quoted in last week’s Kingston Standard asking Merton leader Chris Anstey, seconds after the full time whistle, “when is our next game gaffer?” much to the frustration of Chris who furiously responded with the usual ‘check your emails’ lecture.

Paul ‘Bruiser’ McLean however was not in as high spirits as young Harry. Paul’s morning ritual(s) with his significant other were interrupted on numerous occasions by the whistling of the wind through his double glazed bedroom window – Storm Imogen had well and truly arrived. However, a bit of wind had never stopped Merton fulfil their goals, and so the team made their way to the hallowed grounds of Kimber Road.

One member of the squad was notably missing, and unable to brace the cold. Third choice left back Alex Gooding pulled out at the last minute with the flu after hearing the day’s forecast. The Kingston Standard later caught up with Merton’s first choice left back Kyle Hart, who recently suffered a horrific double break in his right wrist, and asked for his thoughts on Alex’s absence. Kyle admitted that it must be frustrating for Merton’s present gaffer Chris, and that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but a cold will never hurt me”.

Chris ran through the team 5 minutes before kick-off, having to raise his voice more than usual due to the ever-present storm. Opta-stats, the world's leading detailed sports data provider, later reported that the storms decibel levels were one of the highest recorded at a live sporting event, second only to Richard Brough’s “referee” war cry back in 2015 which resulted in an almost career ending bruise to the shin.

The line-up was as follows:

Bart

Jackson Brough Anstey Suich

Winters Hague

McLean

Poysden Massey

Mayne

Subs:

Quinn

Parkin

Merton’s rock Aron Jackson, brought back into the side recently after undergoing warm weather training in Australia to improve his cardiovascular performance, slotted into right back in order to bridge the gap between defence and attack and allow Kyle’s fellow buksvåger* Matthew Poysden to bomb on and do what he does best for the red and black.

*a Swedish term for two people who have been sexually intimate with the same third person. Literally translates to ‘abdomen brother’.

The match commenced and the Merton faithful in the stands, made up of Mr and Mrs Brough, were out in force chanting “play that funky football Bruiser, play that funky football right. Play that funky football Bruiser, play in Jack Massey and score the goals for Merton till we die” to the tune of 70’s classic ‘Play That Funky Music’ by Wild Cherry, later covered by Roxanne in the 80’s only to peak at no. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Within the first few passages of play it was evident that playing football would prove to be difficult in such adverse conditions. Dom Hague, an admirer of Johan Cruyff’s total football and Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka, looked unhappy in the middle unable to play the free flowing football Merton have come to know and love. Despite being unable to shepherd the ball during the 90, Dom did make up for this later that night and was compared to a sheepherder by his fellow teammates given his choice of attire.

The plumber Danny Winters, seen ‘laying pipe’ most Saturday nights, was also expressing his frustration at Merton’s inability to retain the ball. Merton’s handy man was seen several times slapping his thighs in disapproval of Merton’s long ball approach. Opta-stats would later report that Danny covered 22km during the match, leaving no patch of grass untouched and “getting about well”. Despite his prodigious talent at covering ground, Danny still couldn’t cover the distance from the dancefloor to the toilets in the Old Queen’s Head, instead relieving himself on Jox’s shoes.

One man that was seeing more of the ball was the front runner and odds on favourite for Merton Player of the Season, Jack Massey. Jack’s thighs were out in force once again, recently confirmed to be the same dimension of Merton’s marmite, Eddie Suich’s, whole body. The gale force winds meant that the winger was seeing more of the ball, with floating passes approaching him on numerous occasions from Merton’s backline and midfield. Jacks determination did not waiver either and during the first half he put in a huge challenge against the TFT right back, reminiscent of Danny Winter’s 50-50 with the young Colliers Wood boy.

The best chance of the first half fell to Jack, with the TFT keeper pulling off a last-ditch save after Jack curled the ball towards the far corner.

Merton’s Rhino Louis Mayne, who everybody knows, recently suffering from Polymelia, a rare condition that means he has more than the usual number of limbs, was unable to capitalise on his two extra feet advantage and wasn’t given the service he needs during the first half. The two big horns on the tip of your nose didn’t help his cause either, making heading the ball particularly difficult.

Aron Jackson, evidently excited about the prospect of England vs Scotland later in the day, decided to incorporate some rugby methods into an uneventful first half, taking down several TFT players during what appeared to be a scrummage, bulldozing Manager Chris in the process. The Kingston Standard would like to take this opportunity to wish Aron the very best of luck next week when he spends time with the in-laws.

The half-time whistle came and the team talk begun. Kieran Quinn, sporting a cleaner shaven countenance than in recent months, felt like TFT’s Big Sam wasn’t up to Merton’s standard and could be exploited during the second half, a comment he would later regret. Paul was overheard asking for Ian Taylor’s bank details, much to the annoyance of Chris. Chris later tweeted the following, venting his anger:

Chris Anstey

@no1striker

Let’s put this to bed @brunchlover, Ian Taylor’s bank deets:

Sort Code: 40 43 04

Account Number: 61351885

#checkyouremails

The second half brought fresh legs, with Kieran replacing Matt and Harry replacing Louis.

Harry Parkin took to the game like a duck to water, linking up with fellow players regularly. Never had the Kingston Standard seen or heard of such team work since an incident involving Harry, a young lady, a group of friends and a hair trimmer.

One of the best chances of the second half fell to the little wizard Eddie Suich. Eddie jinked past the TFT wing back and hit a thunderous shot towards the TFT goal, only for it to clip the bar and head over. The Merton faithful were later quoted saying Eddie’s screamer was “sick”.

TFT did apply the pressure during spells and found themselves in a decent position deep into the second half. A foul on the edge of the area resulted in TFT’s best chance of the game. Their playmaker curved the ball over the Merton wall only to be denied by Merton’s goalkeeper Bart. Merton were thanking their lucky stars that they snatched up the former SUMFC goalkeeper after Ethon retired from football to pursue a career in rugby, and that save may prove to be vital in the chase for first spot. Bart’s namesake was later quoted during an interview after witnessing the save saying “Ay caramba, that was one hell of a save. If he doesn’t play week in week out I’ll eat my shorts”.

The only other threat to Merton’s chances appeared to be TFT’s Big Sam, who was causing from his midfield position. Fancy footwork from the juggernaut undid Kieran and left him in its wake. Kieran was caught sighing “ah” on the Sky Sports cameras seconds after the incident, which must have felt like an eternity, and Matt later admitted that Big Sam “absolutely did him”. Kieran was obviously still feeling the effects of the manouever later on in the evening as he threw up all over the bar in The Old Queen’s Head.

Merton did manage to get the ball in the TFT net, with a “Carlos Vela-esque” finish from Kieran, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. Replays showed that Kieran was in fact offside, leaving a 20 yard gap between him and the defenders – a gap that hasn’t been seen since Kieran’s ex operated a large toy on his derrière**

**as overheard at The Old Queens Head (next season’s sponsors).

The full time whistle rang through the body of Storm Imogen and the teams took the share of the points. Manager Chris Anstey would have loved to take all three, but given the tough conditions he managed to take some positives out of it, commending the back four for their grit and determination.

DISCLAIMER: - The above information is based on rumours and speculation submitted by Merton squad members during Saturday night antics and we cannot guarantee its accuracy. This information is provided as a public service, no warranty is expressed or implied. The Kingston Standard do not necessarily agree with all/any of the comments but still give a platform for our patrons to express their thoughts.

Manager's note:

Frustrating day for everyone really as the combination of the wind and pitch really did ruin the chance of a proper game. The Man of the match votes were nearly all distributed among the Back 4, except for one rogue vote for Bruiser, a nod to the hard work the defence did all day long. Just ahead of the rest though was Broughy who was a monster throughout. Hats off to Kyle for an excellent match report, quite ridiculous seeing as he wasn't even there. Thanks to everyone who made the effort to come out on Saturday evening . That kind of stuff is the difference between us and other teams and is great for team spirit. 13 games unbeaten, let's try and keep the run going this weekend against Barnslake. Danny and Eddie in charge. Looking to improve on their previous performance, last time they managed we lost to the 2s and drew with the 3s. Please don't ruin my holiday fellas...


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