The previous meeting with MC United was the pre-oktoberfest, thin diamond, fat loss debacle and the last time we lost in the league (I think).
Piss poor: Turned up with one net and no corner flags. There was a secret room in the Wandle where someone had left them. Anst had missed the net; the theme for the day established early. Nice one to Gary and Chris G who went back to collect them.
Debut for former Sheff Uni first team striker Moulesy who was much needed with all our other goal threats absent, including the Rhino who was stuck on a mountain.
Our reliable dad Gary drafted in as late cover. We started 4-5-1:
A-ron Anst Broughy Al
Matt No.8 Quinno
Subs: Gary and Eddie
Part of the game plan was to be nastier and go in hard, which we unfortunately announced in earshot of the ref.
Harry showed he had been listening to the team talk and spent the first 10 trying to kick 7 shades out of the oppo with successive late challenges. Their right back managed to give him one back (see whatsapp group > all media for evidence).
We had the first chance in the first minute with Moulesy wriggling through and not quite lobbing the keeper.
The game settled down and MC United were finding some rhythm. Both midfields having some success pressing without the ball but MC United showing a bit more quality with the ball, managing to pass their way out of trouble and find a free man in space. As in the previous game, their forward or one of the CBs would come into the middle to outnumber us. The extra man could then get his head up and play a midfield runner or full-back in behind.
Eventually, this paid off and they slid the left winger in who did well to loft one back stick before the ball went out of play. One of their players had anticipated this and volleyed it in. Shinned it a bit but well placed across the keeper. Chris G unlucky as he got a hand on it.
As they did not have much height in the team we turned to pragmatism and tried to get at them with direct balls forward, long throw-ins and set pieces. Disappointing for a purist like me, but necessary.
I hit the bar with a header from a Quinno corner; the shrunken Kimber Road goals to blame.
We had a free kick from the right which Quinno dropped with panache between keeper and defence. It took a bounce and Anst was there to nod it home from 6 yards. I was right next to him and calmly stated 'finish', ready to turn away and celebrate with our goal starved gaffer (do goals contain meat?). Anst mistimed his neck-swivel and the ball flashed wide, taking Anst to double figures for glaring misses this season.
HT Soash 0 MC 1.
Rat on for Al who had a niggling thigh injury. Shout-out to Al for finishing the half with no foul throws.
We switched to 3-5-2 to try and get somebody closer to Moulesy.
The switch seemed to work and we were applying pressure to MC United in more dangerous areas. An equaliser came from Quinno lobbing one in to the mixer with one of his Varsity-hall of fame -long-throw-specials. Broughy dragged a man to the front post, him and his marker both missed it and Matty P volleyed into the roof of the net with his instep. 1-1.
We then had to switch back to 4-5-1 as we were getting overloaded on the wings.
Tactical hindsight: If they are in our half, our wing back should pick up their full back and the wider CB should step out wide to pick up the winger. If they are deep in their half one of our forwards should track the full back and our wing back should pick up the winger, passing him onto the defence when necessary.
We sorted out our shape and took the lead. Danny, with his second assist in as many weeks, looped one forward. Moulesy did another wriggle and slotted past the keeper who had come out of his box to try and meet the ball. A deserved goal for the rangy debutant. 2-1 Soash.
I think if we had kept it tight for a while we could have scrapped our way to a win. They equalised immediately. For a change they went long and plopped one over Broughy's head. Both CBs managed to get back goal side but their forward just about bought a yard and struck it under the body of Chris G to find the net. It was the only time Anst and Broughy were caught out all game. 2-2.
Momentum now with MC. They took the lead after I got caught on the ball and gave away a soft foul. They worked it wide, completed a neat one-two on the left, flashed one across the box and their Caucasian right back found the bottom corner. It was a well worked goal. I am reliably informed Eddie is to blame for not being loud enough when pointing out the spare man...
Another Anst miss after he beat a man and middled one with his left foot from 30 yards out. Easily tipped over by the keeper.
Gary came on for Harry for the last 20, his fresh, peperami legs a big help in the middle while we had to chase the game. He also chucked in a quality nutmeg. What a bloke.
We needed an equaliser so Anst put himself up top (probably warranted on this occasion) and Danny dropped to CB. Danny did well there putting out some fires, dropping some shoulders and sending some probing long balls forward. Loves a probe that kid.
We started to create more chances, Moulesy was putting a few tasty, deep crosses in from the right. Anst headed one back across goal and Broughy was a c*nt's hair away from tapping it in.
MC had the odd break. A-ron cleaned out their forward who was through on goal but only got a yellow. It was not as blatant as Al's in the corresponding away fixture.
Another Anst miss. I made my only good pass of the game and threaded a through ball between their CBs. The hairy vegan timed his run well, nicked it past the keeper and hit the target from a tight angle. An MC defender appeared from nowhere and slid to make a goal line clearance.
The resulting corner ended with A-ron having the ball on the opposite wing. He crossed, Broughy flicked and *Anst had finally chalked up a goal with an incredible improvised backheel volley....or so he thought before he turned and saw that weasel Dom poking in at the back post. Outrageous.
Merton had one more chance to snatch a victory they barely deserved. Unfortunately another Anst miss after he got a diving header to a cross and the keeper, dressed in a full tracksuit, just about kept it out with his feet.
The final whistle was blown shortly after. We just about protected our unbeaten run but the elation of a last minute equaliser was dampened by dropping points, rendering our title chances improbable. Also we were all too knackered to even muster a smile. MC United have 11 players who don't stop f*ckin' running around and they can all play. Maybe the best team we have played this season. Their CM Mark had a blinder and ran the show without actually running once. Well in Mark.
Danny, who got my vote, was MOM. 3 of those votes from Massey who was not even there. He covered loads of ground, made some vintage munches and was more effective than anyone else at disrupting them. Captain, leader, legend.
I thought Chris G had another solid game in goal and Moulesy had a lively debut. And despite the fact-driven digs, Anst made himself a nuisance when he went up top and helped force an equaliser.
We briefly watched the match next to ours which had goals flying in all over the place. Footballer-cum-Actor Frank Leboeuf scored a penalty.
Went to the Wandle for a few, A-ron got his North Face bag robbed. Yet another reason to neglect our rugby loving, pint over-charging, lettuce wedge serving, pram heavy, c*nt heavy, shit of a sponsor.