“Straight outta Croydon, crazy motherfucker named Moffatt
Pays ten dollars to play, don’t make no profit.
When he’s subbed off, goes in a big huff,
If you don’t pass him the ball he’s gonna kick off.
Missed a pen after a louis dive, but finished off a great team goal to make it 5.
On yo ass, is where he put the defenders,
While Sam Wowk wanks on biscuits with all the gay benders….”
I shit all over ice cube lads, he’s got nowt on me.
Saturday we travelled to Croydon, the heartbeat of gangland culture in South East London. Renowned for Roy Hodgson, the school where Mark Ronson used to stand outside and perve on little girls and, most famously, being the only town where Gavin Larkin has been thrown out of two different JD Wetherspoons on the same day. To say Croydon is a hotbed of history and culture would be a huge understatement and quite frankly a kick in the cunt to Sir Trevor McDonald.
Going into a County Cup game this week, it would have been a major blow to not have any game of football for three weeks in the lead up. So when our fixtureless week turned into a friendly, most of the lads were chomping at the bit to be involved – with the exceptions of Ian Taylor, who had already agreed to spend some quality time with his in laws and didn’t want to risk the wrath of Kelly, and of course Matthew Elwell ACCA, who was celebrating passing his accountancy exams.
A bout of ill health saw Alex Hall pull out from the squad and a broken rib to first team skipper Danny Winters saw Kyle Hart head back up to the first team. Leaving the twos slightly short, although we were grateful to Findlater who was able to bring his mate Dan into the team and we were massively grateful to Jam Master Jay Costello, who SPRINTED the whole 7 miles from his home to the ground enabling himself to arrive just before half time to give us that much needed sub on a bitterly cold day.
After 6 trains, 4 tubes and a taxi through a woodland area that looked suspiciously like the place where Raul Moat offed himself, the lads at a quaint little clubhouse that sported it’s very own banksy…
Trying to work out whether this was an incredibly thick or intellectually profound statement was probably the toughest test that Merton faced on an afternoon that was a fairly routine day at the office…
The pitch was actually really decent for amateur football, secluded off the beaten track with its very own dugouts for each team, something rarely seen by a team at this standard. The only downside was warming up off the pitch – as not to damage grass.
Moffatt won the toss (disproving the theory held by many that he is a “Useless Tosser”) and we elected to give them the kick-off. What a very smart move that turned out to be, as Merton took an instant lead.
As the home side took the kick, they played it back to the centre-mid, then centre-half who tried to slip it to his right back. Michael Logan read the lad like a stop-smoking pamphlet and nipped in, stealing the ball and squaring it to Louis Mayne at the penalty spot. Louis took a touch and then swivelled 360 degrees before slotting the ball in the bottom right corner. Extending his goals to game ratio to 4-in-4.
Merton were a team possessed and began putting pressure on the home side from the midfield, Daryl West getting across his man and playing in a superb cross that Michael Logan was so unlucky not to score with, heading inches wide of the far post from 12 yards.
Michael Logan did eventually get his rewards though when a cross from the left wing was nodded away by the defender as far as the edge of the box, where Mike hit an acute half-volley which spun off the outside of his boot and into the bottom right corner of the net. A fantastic finish.
The opposition woke up after the second goal and started to play a bit more direct, something our two makeshift centre backs were relishing. Gary Webber and Will Fryer were a bit of a revelation at the back, we looked much more confident on the ball than usual and were happy to pass the ball out from the back into the central midfield, meaning that Findlater, Morty and Moffatt had more time in possession than they’ve previously been able to enjoy. In turn, it meant we were able to play around teams and keep the ball on the deck. Larkin was hungry at left back getting forward at every opportunity and Dan coming it at right back looked like he’d played there all season. A very composed debut.
There was only one real attack to speak of just before half time when Sam Wowk was called into action, tipping a goal-bound shot over the bar from a headed effort from some distance.
The halftime whistle sounded and Merton were able to take stock in what had been a very valuable first half performance. Costello arrived to relieve Fryer of his defensive duties and formed a partnership with chairman Webber.
Second half was almost a carbon copy of the first and Merton had a third goal to kill the game almost immediately
Again, the ball was in the back of the net just seconds after kick off and again it was Louis Mayne with the goal. Rasping a shot at the keeper from 20 yards that the custodian won’t want to relive anytime soon. As Louis’ le Tissier-esque attempt toward the keeper was seemingly about to be saved, the keeper Taibi’d the ball through his own legs and into the goal. Still, a goals a goal and even the most hardened of opposition players couldn’t begrudge Merton their three-nil lead.
There was some form of consolation for the home side, when Costello hung out a leg and their player dived straight over the top of it, definitely not making contact with Jay’s studs whatsoever. Not even a little bit. The lady was protesting doth too loads. Butterbean stepped up and took aim for the top corner, before accidently scuffing it and hitting it down the middle of the goal. Harsh on the Merton defence who had been fully deserving of a clean sheet.
Merton had a few more chances, with Louis again going close rolling a shot wide via a deflection and the neat passing from the midfield saw chances both left and right as Fryer and Westy were putting the ball into some dangerous areas.
Merton eventually had their 4th with around 25 minutes left on the clock and it came from an unlikely source. Andy Larkin was suffering from a severe nosebleed as he got as high up as the opposition box and was slipped in near the penalty spot. Larkin took a touch wide of the keeper and dinked a deft chip over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net, looking like a young Bernie Slaven in the process. As the left-back wheeled away, he chest bumped Logan and then immediately asked to be subbed off, so he could call his mam, dad, brother and even our Phil over in Dubai. A cracking finish and perhaps the first of many.
Pre-match, the lads had asked what the difference between an “assist” and a “penalty-drawn” was. Ever the gentleman Moffatt was on hand to illustrate his superior knowledge of Opta data. When Louis was fouled in the box, Moffatt stepped up to take the resulting penalty, proving his point ever so well, Moffatt rolled his penalty wide of the goal on purpose and turned to the lads and said “see lads, if we only counted assists, you’d get absolutely nothing for all the hard work you’ve done”. Andy then asked the ref if he could take it properly now, but the referee only plays FPL so told Andy to fuck off.
The skipper did eventually get his goal though, finishing off an amazing team move that even had the referee clapping. As the ball was passed from the back and around nearly every player on the pitch, Louis picked it up wide left and crossed across the box, where Andy Moffatt had timed his run to perfection, lunged at the ball and hammered it into the roof of the net. In total 25 passes had been counted before the ball crossed the line and it was fitting the man who started the move got the spoils.
To add to his goal, Moffatt also was awarded whiplash, when a daft challenged almost sparked a riot. Moff fouled Shelvey in the midfield, who kicked him on the floor. The ref came across to deal with it before butterbean went nut-to-nut. Having done absolutely of note all day, their #4 ensured his name would be in the match report by shoving Moffatt in the back. Fortunately, the ref just had a word and didn’t dish out any fines, but could you imagine if we’d had the ref from a few weeks back? There wouldn’t be a player left on the pitch and we’d all have to bribe him with cups of tea.
The match finished 5-1 and it was time for Merton to get Straight outta Croydon and back toward civilisation.
Man of the Match
A very close vote this week, but edging it was Andy Larkin for what his finest performance in a Merton shirt, defensively sound, attackingly effective and to top it all off, scored a delightful goal. Well played mate, a very good performance.