In the paraphrased words of the racially-challenged, pre-humus international pop sensation and child-molester Michel Jackson...
"Don't blame it on the Striker
Don't blame it on the Keeper
Don't blame it on the Gaffer
Blame it on the Bobble."
There's actually a lot of things that we could use as a scapegoat for Saturday's defeat.
"They were younger than us", "it was too close to christmas", "skipper got injured", "Scott turned up to the game sober", "our best leftback was called up to the threes..." there's a lot we could use as an excuse but for me, if we're going to use anything it should be the shit bobbley pitch.
As soon as we arrived we knew it'd be an uphill battle – literally – given that we were playing on a pitch that resembled Matt Elwell’s Skiing holiday (I.e. One fuck-off big slope and no snow). The only difference between our game and Matt’s holiday is that we actually got shagged! Sadly, the state of the pitch meant that whenever one of us ventured up onto that wing we rolled down hill like a loose bag of marbles. In fact, saying that the pitch made Kimber Road look like a carpeted San Siro probably isn’t that much of an exaggeration…
Uniquely, our squad was fairly similar to the last game, but with Moffatt coming in for Louis and Fryer in for Moores – who’s hairdresser car had broken down due to him putting glitter in the petrol tank. Alex and Abbey came in at the back for Loveday and Elwell and we had a strong bench – Pyesy and Wowk who returned after a long Christmas break Where one didn't lose his phone and the other broke the world record for batching on chocolate digestive.
As the game kicked off Merton were by far and away the better team, working hard to compete for every first and second ball. Defensively we were sound too Abbey stopping attacks while Alex Hall’s distribution was phenomenal – playing pass after pass into the central midfield area and giving Webber, Morty and Fryer’s neck a rest in the process.
While we hadn't had many clear cut opportunities, the first 20 minutes had seen us control the ball and dictate the pace of the match. However, that all changed on the 21’ mark. Moffatt had been tripped twice on his way through the middle and played a stumbling through ball to Webber as he went down, the referee waved “advantage” while Webber went through 1-on-1 and finished nicely into the bottom left corner. The linesman, clearly panicked, put his flag up to claim offside. Now, if Webber had been offside when the ball had been played then how could that have possibly been an advantage? The sucker punch to this was that as Webber was protesting and Moffatt was still picking himself up off the floor, their keeper took a quick free kick and, outnumbering our defence, they went down the other end of the pitch and scored! The protests continued but the score remained the same 0-1.
Our game plan was working well to that point, but after the first goal our head’s dropped and it seemed to have been abandoned. There were misplaced passes, we struggled to clear the ball past the halfway line with Goal kicks and free-kicks and our lads were so focused on pushing forward to look for the equalizer that they neglected their defensive duties. When the second goal went in just before half time, it had come from exactly that – us giving the ball away trying to get it over the halfway line and with more men in front of the ball than behind it, they were able to nip in and steal a cushion. 0-2 and the whistle couldn't come soon enough!
At half time, we tried to steady the ship, went over the basics and made sure that we came out fighting. The first 20 minutes of the second half we did exactly that. Losing Moffatt to injury at half time was a huge blow, but the introduction of Sam Wowk gave us hope – as he grafted down the right hand side and made many a charging run past the opposition fullbacks. The only downside to Sam’s incredible industry and silky Maradona-like moves was his finishing as we struggled to make our possession count.
As an attacking unit, we were hopelessly wasteful in front of goal, shooting from distance when there were better options on and missing some chances that on a better day we’d have buried. But hasn’t that been the story of our season? Not taking our chances and being punished for them?
Findlater, Pye and Taylor were keeping the wingers at bay as they rotated in the fullback positions and Webber and Fryer were working tirelessly in the middle to snuff out any passes coming from the back. Josh was being his usual busy self in trying to work the channels, but for some reason things just didn’t go our way…
We went 0-3 down to an absolutely horrendous bobble that was almost exactly like the Tim Flowers howler of yesteryear, as a terrible shot from their midfielder (who was less of a cunt than wife-beating Dogger Stan Collymore) bobbled on the shit pitch in front of Scott and into the back of the Merton net.
We then went 0-4 down in similar circumstances. This time it was another pesky bobble in the pitch that was almost exactly like the Ian Walker howler of yesteryear, as a terrible shot from their midfielder (who was just as much of a soft, floppyhaired scouse bastard as Steve McManaman) bobbled on the shit pitch in front of Scott and into the back of the Merton net.
We then went 0-5 down in similar circumstances. This time it was another pesky bobble in the pitch that was almost exactly like the Ian Walker howler of yesteryear, as a terrible backpass from our midfielder Thomas Pye (who has lost less phones in 2017 than, floppyhaired Manc bastard Gary Neville) bobbled on the shit pitch in front of Scott and into the back of the Merton net.
Okay, that last one didn’t really happen, it was just a decent shot that went in the bottom corner… but I couldn’t resist!! Anyway, my point being – Chin up Scott mate, it happens to the absolute best of us! We know you’ll be back to your feline-best this Saturday!
As Merton pushed forward for a last ditch consolation, our highline was punished as their striker was quicker than our tired defensive legs and popped in to slot home a missed header to make it 6. The referee then blew the whistle and admitted it was one of the best game’s he’d refed and that we never deserved to be on the end of a 0-6… but that’s amateur football!
After the game, we all had a bit of a laugh about it. We know we’re better than we showed and we’ll all be keen to put it right in our next game – against Colliers Wood in the cup.
Man of the Match
For his running, slick aerodynamic haircut and un-rivalled, all-round bum-merchanting ability, Man of the Match this week was deservedly Sam Wowk. A great, tireless performance and, considering you were on the pitch for less than an hour, all the more impressive! Well played mate!