This match report was produced by someone who doesn’t really watch the match so some of the information may be factually incorrect.
The Merton boys managed to arrive in Tolworth in good spirits despite a number of cancelled trains and Bally having to get 14 buses to get there. Hague, Quinn and Brough were suitably pumped after listening to Kano’s back catalogue in the back of Jox’s car.
The main topic of conversation before the game involved speculation around the team that Parkside would put out. After demolishing us in the cup two weeks earlier, it was to the great delight of the team and especially little Eddie that there was no sign of Error. We were filled with more confidence when their centre back was spotted having a swift half a pint of Stella 4 before the game, but despite this we knew it would still be a tough game.
Pre match attention then switched to the gaffer and his horrendous shorts. I still don’t know what they were, but they were some kind of two-toned, silky, baggy basketball shorts - white on the front, black on the back……truly terrible.
With some key players still missing, Davis Reader made his long awaited debut, proving that it was money well-spent to invest in a Merton training top and Bally stepped up from the 2’s. Merton lined up as follows:
Brough LeBron James Bally
Playing on a half decent pitch for a change, Merton started the game strongly playing some mouth-watering football, with some great link up play between Quinno and Jox causing an early threat. Merton failed to capitalise on their bright start and Parkside began to fight back with Thomas Graveson and the two strikers causing a nuisance for Merton’s defence.
Merton’s defence stood strong, however, with Bally making some good challenges and Ethon making a couple of vital saves. That was until Parkside’s number 9 dropped his shoulder and beat Merton’s very own Shaquille O’Neal with a couple of quick turns. Ethon made the save but madness ensued as some members of the team went ballistic at Shaquille for turning his back on the ball, to which Shaquille replied, ‘I didn’t let him past me on purpose lads’. Good to know Shaq.
The match was pretty even with both sides creating chances but Merton’s midfield three started to dominate. Winters really doesn’t want to be in the ‘no goal’ race so decided to have a pop from distance despite numerous players screaming for the ball around him. The referee, Uriah Rennie, had told us we weren’t allowed to appeal for anything or moan at him which meant I stayed quiet for the rest of the game. Merton should have taken the lead when Brough somehow found himself in an extremely advanced position on the right, not really knowing what to do with himself he neatly slotted the ball to Jox who narrowly put the ball wide.
0-1: Merton eventually took the lead. After some neat build up play Quinno squared the ball nicely to Parkin, who had made a lovely Frank Lampard esque run from midfield. Parkin, who has money on Dom Hague to make the most assists, really didn’t want Quinno to get the assist so decided to play a one-two with the keeper and slotted the rebound home. Fantasy football rules……no assist for Quinn.
1-0 to Merton. A lovely lady produced some half time oranges for us to enjoy and we switched to 4-5-1 formation with Louis coming on for Kobe Bryant.
Merton started the half on the back foot and Parkside threatened. Parkside were unlucky to have a goal disallowed, which Uriah deemed to be offside despite the ball coming off Ethon. Merton were lucky to get away with that one. Yao Ming’s stint as lino didn’t last long as little Eddie got hit in littler Eddie. That’s probably more action than the little man will get in Miami. Bally switched to left back and Yao slotted in at centre back.
0-2: Parkside’s disallowed goal kick-started Merton back into action and we started to play some nice football again. Louis, who had made a big impact since coming on, played the ball to Quinno, whose terrible first touch popped it in the air, but he made the most of this and volleyed it home. Keeper could probably have done better but good finish from Merton’s Bradley Johnson lookalike.
0-3: Merton continued to pile the pressure on. A Kieran Quinn free-kick was whipped into the box which the Parkside defence didn’t fancy defending, leaving a plethora of Merton bodies queuing up to head home. Michael Jordan, of course, rose the highest to head Merton 3 up. We have finally scored from Quinno’s ever threatening set-pieces.
0-4: Not too sure what happened in the build-up to this goal but I am informed that Eddie slid the ball to Louis who shot on goal. Their keeper, who I think had been mesmerised by the basketball shorts on show, actually thought he was playing basketball and decided to slam dunk Louis’ shot into the back of his own net instead of saving it. Dubious goal panel gave the goal to Louis.
1-4: Parkside’s consolation goal came from a huge kick from their keeper which had been difficult to judge all game; the ball cruelly going over the head of Bally, who was probably our best player in the first half, and their number 17 lobbed the ball over Ethon. Unlucky not to keep a clean sheet.
There was still time for some drama as the gaffer did not appreciate little Eddie’s attempts to get forward and told him to ‘not f**kng move from left back’, which obviously Eddie wasn’t happy with and told him so. Good job Bally was on hand to break up the fight. The last bit of action came as Ethon made an excellent double save with the second of his saves being made by his face from very close range. Dr Jox was straight on the case to help the wounded Ethon with the rest of the Merton players trying to get the Parkside players out of the way. The Parkside players must have spent a lot of time listening to Jeremy Hunt as they also thought that doctors should not be allowed to have hobbies at the weekend. Turns out Ethon wasn’t concussed, he was just having a rest.
Brough, who was doing a stint as lino at the time and surprisingly not sulking about it, donned the gloves for the last 5 minutes but didn’t get a touch of the ball as Jox made his first ever header and was caught complaining after the match about how much his head hurt.
A special mention must go to Dav, who I don’t think I have actually mentioned in the report but I thought he was excellent on debut. Well played mate.
Post-match entertainment came in the form of watching Dav’s reaction to Newcastle’s result and him having to go to his car to listen to the game. Their gaffer turned into a really nice guy after being a complete tw*t for the past 2 fixtures. Probably something to do with the reefer he was smoking on the side lines, but he produced a plate of sandwiches for the boys which unfortunately all contained meat so Carmelo Anthony couldn’t have any.
Dav, Eddie, Anst and Louis continued on to Clapham Junction for a few scoops and the Leicester game. Davis running his new "foolproof" betting system past Anst, who, fully convinced, duly deposited £50 into his Betfair account. After briefly poking his nose above £80 on Sunday the gaffer then lost it all on the Buenos Aires derby that finished 0-0.
Really good result in the end lads. They weren't the same squad who dumped us out the cup but it was a pretty similar side that we struggled to put away earlier in the season so 3 points is still a good result. Man of the Match was Daivs Reader who was excellent on debut. I was about to give special mentions but to be honest every singel player played well on Saturday and contributed to the result.
One thing that wasn't as positive in the first half was a a bit of a negative attitude coming from several areas of the pitch. Joking aside, if people make a mistake, let's not jump on their backs, if you have something tactical you'd like to point out, make the point quietly to me, not shouting from the other side of the pitch. The ability and strengths of the players we have each week makes it really difficult to pick a formation and lineup each week that suits how we play and the opposition we come up against. This week we went 3-5-2 with the intention of soaking up pressure against a good team but it was probably the worst tactical decision we've made since the ill-fated diamond. It didn't suit the opposition on the day as they had two wingers pushing on as well as two strikers up front. That led to our wing backs being pegged back and our three centre halves occupied marking two strikers. There were various calls for two of our centre backs to pick up the wide men to allow our wing backs to push on but this would have been madness. I was having enough trouble staying on my feet with one man to contend with in the middle, let alone two. We switched it at half time to go 4 at the back and that helped us to assert ourselves. It's great that we have so many intelligent players who think about how we're set up and it bodes well for us that we have potential managers in the ranks because i don't actually want to be in charge! But if we could try and keep communication on the pitch to being constructive and positive then this team is going places.
Like I said individual performances were great all over the pitch and this is the first time in about 22 games this season I've had anything negative to say which is unbelievable really as Gary was always moaning in his match reports. Quarter final of the League Cup this weekend probably against AMY who we know are a good outfit. Let's be on it again. If anyone wants to invest in the new Merton Social shorts I was modelling at the weekend please get in touch.