Isaiah 43:18 - "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old"
After a disappointing result in the County Cup last week, Merton were looking to bounce back to winning ways against old rivals, AMY FC. Merton were very much aware of the quality of the opposition and went into the game with the belief that they could secure the 3 points.
Merton welcomed back Dr. Jox and the one and only, Kyle ‘on the bench’ Hart. Kyle, now in his 30th year, has been missing the last few weeks having cycled the length of Britain, as well as attending his girlfriend’s birthday brunch (you were fortunate that the game was cancelled 2 weeks ago but I had to get this in having received a disgusting amount of abuse from you for my error last year!). Merton lined up as follows:
Aron Anstey Bruiser Al
The message was clear from the start; play with confidence, utilise the pace of Jox and Mousley, and don’t concede early on. Unfortunately, Paul didn’t fully embrace the latter point and was slow to make a challenge, allowing AMY’s Riyad Mahrez to nip in and put the hosts 1-0 up. Like last week, Merton had a lapse in concentration and conceded another soon after the first. Although 2-0 down in the early stages of the match, we were still confident of getting back into the game.
Step up Chris Anstey. Anstey, sporting a ‘short back 'n sides’, managed to get the top of his head onto a Moulsey shot and direct it into the top corner. Merton were playing some good football with penetrating passes and good link up play with Mousley. There was an eagerness to our play which some took to the next level. Al was so eager to take the game to the opposition and get "between the lines" that he decided to take a throw in from AMY's 18-yard box. He soon realised his mistake and quick stepped (Yes I do like Strictly) back to the correct line. Forever Al's achilles heel, maybe some extra thrown-in practice would be beneficial…
The game changed in Merton's favour (or at least we hoped it would) when AMY had a man sent off. The uneducated boy showed dissent twice within minutes and received 2 yellows. Once for throwing the ball at Danny and once for calling Anstey a prick. While you could argue that neither was unjustified, I for one was quite baffled at how stupid he and him team mates actually were, particularly their defender who went by the name of ‘Fizzie’. This chopper felt the need to get involved in the heated discussion but was firmly stopped in his tracks by Harry Parkin and his massive shoulders. I was hoping Parking would call the guy a ‘cabbage’ as that is my all-time favourite Parking saying.
With the opposition now down to 10, Merton were enjoying more freedom on the ball and looking increasingly likely to get back on equal terms but the ref called for half time with the scoreline still 2-1.
The gaffer made two changes with Hart and Poysden replacing Gooding and Jackson respectively, the plan to get these two in advanced posistions and try and penetrate AMY who were obviously going to try and soak up a bit of pressure and hit us on the break. However, AMY continued to play with guile and managed to go 3-1 up within minutes of the re-start. Merton guilty of trying to force the opening rather than being patient.
Merton weren't about to give up though and Matt had made an instant impact and enjoyed some good link up play with Quinno which allowed the former to deliver some fizzing balls into the box. Merton couldn’t quite get on the end of them but the pressure was mounting.
Matt then curled in a pacy corner that was too hot for the keeper to handle This allowed Harry to head home and get Merton firmly back in the game at 3-2 and plenty of time left.
Unfortunately though Mahrez decided to make a fool of young Paul a few moments later and cut in on his favoured left, slotting past a hapless Ethon to make it 4-2.
Merton had no option but to push more men forward and try salvage a result. This inevitably left us more exposed at the back which AMY capitalised on and made it 5-2.
Despite this, Merton continued to drive forward and were rewarded with a neat finish from Dr. Jox after a nice ball from Kyle to make it 5-3 with 10 minutes left on the clock. One last chance for Merton?
We were under pressure to try to secure two goals and leave the game with a point. However AMY were still attacking and scored a sixth when a weak shot managed to find its way through Ethon’s legs. It was a Massimo Taibi moment which despite being rather embarrassing at the time, was quite funny upon reflection. Keep those legs closed young man!
The referee blew the final whistle and put an end to Merton’s disappointing afternoon. Having conceded 13 goals in two games, everyone is aware that we will have to improve so we don’t leave ourselves on the back foot. The manager will have some interesting decisions to make in the coming weeks…
After the game, some of the boys headed to Clapham to enjoy some beers and forget about the result. It appears our skipper had one too many when he eventually turned up at his girlfriend’s house in the wee small hours, having initially stopped in his taxi and then driven past, with his girlfriend watching through the window. It wasn’t until the morning that he was informed that he had urinated all over his girlfriend’s flatmate’s bedroom floor! ‘You’re such an idiot’ Daniel but we all love you, especially in that state. Enjoy that dog house.
Not our best performance and it seems that most of the team followed the skipper's lead by hitting the bottle in order to eradicate any brain cells that may hold memories relating to the match. Here's a quick run down:
Anstey - took it out on the Mrs by recovering from going 2 down early on for the second time that day to clinch an emphatic 8 shot victory at crazy golf followed by copious overpriced shit lagers.
Bruiser - joined his parents for a nice dinner (12 pints and a few whiskies) in a jumper that reminded Aron of one of his cushions.
Alex - joined Kiran for some sort of massive Indian family get-together. Rumour has it he was attempting to order drinks from behind the bar before retreating to the correct position.
Jox - Self medication from the Doc as he filled out a prescription for several sambucas. As often is the case, the cure can be worse than the disease as Jox was still feeling the effects at 10PM on Sunday.
Harry - appears to have gotten off fairly lightly, but slept in till 5PM. Must've been due to play football at 4.45PM.
KQ - can only assume Kez was away as Kieran joined Jox, Danny and Harry in Clapham. Missed his 12:32 tee off on Sunday afternoon as he was sick all over himself in the shower.
I'm sure there were more but I don't have the details.
Regarding the game, Man of the Match was Harry Parkin. Was constantly battling and trying to find a way back into the game and deserved his goal. Well played mate.
We gave ourselves far too much to do going 2 down within 5 minutes and were constantly chasing the game again. It was pointed out afterwards that we have a wretched record against AMY but I honestly don't believe they're a better side. Looking back, every goal we conceded was preventable. Obviously the opposition has improved but we aren't playing like ourselves, keeping hold of the ball, moving it from side to side, wearing the opposition down. Possession for us is key. Let's stop rushing things and going for killer balls lets be patient and control the tempo.
Let's turn up on Saturday ready for battle. We need to find a way to bounce back. I fucking hate losing and I don't think anyone else particularly enjoys it. Everyone needs to look at themselves and see what things that they can do personally. Whether that's extra fitness in the week, having a more chilled Friday evening, getting to the ground nice and early whatever. MTID.