In his live commentary of the Spain versus Tunisia match in 2006, Andrés Montes described Spain's precise, elegant passing style as "Estamos tocando tiki-taka tiki-taka.” With short passing and movement, endeavour on the ball and a unique style of maintaining possession, the development of tiki-taka moves away from the traditional thinking of formations in football. Sadly, Andrés Montes passed away on October 16, 2009. Probably just as well, imagine if he’d been alive to see what we had to play on Saturday. He’d have shit his pants. I mean, it’s absolutely no surprise that England are absolutely dog-shit at footy. Look at what we have to put up with in this country. 13th step of the Football League Pyramid and we’re playing on a pitch made entirely out of mud and manure at a 37 degree angled slope, covered in puddles out the back of a car park near Wimbledon. How on earth is Terry Denness going to realise his dream of breaking Teddy Sheringham’s record of being the oldest player in the premier league at the ripe old age of 56? Luckily, Merton Social were able to use their bonces and abandoned any style or grace to revert to Sam Allardyce/Lower Green brand of football – winning the game in the final minutes of the match thanks to two glorious set piece bundles.
We had a pretty strong 11 on Saturday…Gavin Larkin looked enticingly handsome, clad in a fetching pink and blue top with red shorts, green socks and a pair of marigolds as keeping gloves. Like the FAB lolly of goalkeepers. Half-mackems Kiran and Alex came in to bolster the back line alongside Abbey and the Joe with Elwell pushing into the midfield. Morty, Webber and Wilson kept places in midfield with the returning Will Fryer partnering long-time Merton fan and one-time changing room escapee JP up top.
The game started cautiously, with Merton not realising they were in reverse and booting the ball out of touch for a corner in the first minute. Once they realised their mistake, we went through the gears.
5-25mins was first gear, stuttering into life. In the absence of Ian Taylor constantly moaning at himself - shouts of “OH ELWELLLLLL” could be heard every time the trampy wide man had a ball bobble off the shit pitch and hit him in the tits. The back 4 kept forgetting they were defenders and steamed up the pitch at every opportunity. Mostly, mind, to good avail. First Alex getting the ball out wide and delivering for Jared who narrowly put it wide, then Kiran tearing up the pitch and laying off to Webber who was unlucky not to find will with an acute through ball.
25-40mins was second gear, Motspur had a couple of decent chances – the first Larkin did really well to gather and the second Joe was able to make a last ditch tackle to prevent the one-on-one. On 44 minutes however, Merton stalled the car… Joe won the ball at the back played it out to Elwell and kept running forward. A few others joined the attack and when the ball was cleared by the Motspur defence, It was 3-on-2 at the back. Their midfielder ran through 1-on-1 and finished past the keeper.
Half time came and it was revealed that Elwell had forgot the oranges. We were all devastated.
The second half was all Merton and we started to show the kind of form that saw us 2nd at Christmas. On another day Wilson and Jared would have had a hat-trick each, if it wasn’t for Virgil Van Dijk at CB. The young Dutchman was in inspired form with his dangly legs getting in the way of every attack. Shame his Barnet was disgracefully shit, but the defender was singlehandedly keeping his side in the game. One in particular Will was devastated at, he put in the ball of his life spraying a ground pass 50 yards to Wilson, who skipped onto the ball and was dispossessed last minute by the spindly legs of the #6.
Merton kept going though and we very nearly had the equaliser when Elwell was crunched in the Box by their keeper who made no contact with the ball. The referee said he couldn’t be sure the keeper didn’t get the ball and waved away the loud protests for the spot kick. Mind, their keeper came off worse as Elwell made it two goalkeepers he’s injured in 2 seasons…
With 84’ on the clock. It was time for Merton to conjure something special, straight out of the Stoke City Playbook. Merton had a corner which Elwell beautifully put right on the keepers nose. Jump forward Super Bungle, our very own Cox in the Box, who rose above everyone to bundle the ball into the back of the net with his shoulder. Joe Cox’s second goal of the season from set pieces and an equaliser that set Merton up for a tense finish.
Into stoppage time and Merton had one final throw of the dice. Morton won the tackle in midfield, gave the ball to Jared who spun in and played a galloping Kiran who had sprinted from CB to get involved in the action. He skipped past their winger to the by-line before cannoning his cross off the left back and behind for a corner. Arise Sir Matthew of Elwell, Esquire the III. Who spunked a terrible corner to the front post. Thankfully, we had a second bite at the cherry and this time, he got it absolutely spot on. Curling a beauty of an out-swinger to the front post. Where a younger, more handsome Alan Shearer lurked. Morton shurked off his man and delivered a thumping header into the back of the net… (well, it might have been a flick on toward goal that their skipper might have chested into the back of the net – but fuck it you bastards. I do the match reports and Webber owes me two from earlier in the season…)
Merton have taken the lead with the last kick of the game and ended victorious for the first time in two months. It had been a botch of an end to the game with two bundled goals, but who cares. Sometimes winning isn’t pretty, but winning is always good!
Man of the Match
Not sure where to start with this one. Gary Webbers was the unsung hero of the day, doing the boring job and sitting, but it really allowed the midfield to get forward and create lots of chances. It was an excellent performance particularly in the second half. Jared had been a brilliant outlet always causing trouble, Fryer’s endeavor was again second to none – and it was brilliant having him back. Joe was excellent and grabbed a deserved goal. Kiran and Alex were excellent. Wilson was a handful, Gavin Larkin was a total hero for going in goal and unlucky not to keep a clean sheet. So who to give it to. Well, I’m a sucker for romance and while Matt Elwell had been quiet for most of the afternoon, he came up with the goods when needed – sparking into life with superb set-pieces when it mattered most. Also, he had a brilliant moment when he spunked a touch of the pitch and called himself a Faggott. Absolutely brilliant. Never heard a player throw homophobic slurs at himself in all my time in the game. Deserves the MoM just for that!! Well played mate!