Merton III XI vs Old Parkonians IV XI Sat 18th Feb
The Great Escape…..???
A beautiful spring afternoon presented itself to Merton’s 3’s at the Hood. After the sheer stupidity of the vandals earlier in the week, Merton wanted to bring back some pride to the fortress that was the Hood.
Old Skool Rhythm and Blues was playlist of choice, and the music came flowing out of the (pointlessly smashed) dressing room windows.
Merton were in good spirits following the successful 2 wins on the bounce, unheard of this season!
The opposition was a much changed team of Old Parkonians with only 1 or 2 familiar faces from the team we played previously. Also the average size of these players was a little concern, but this didn’t put off Merton, who were focused on getting the all important 3points needed, to keep their fears of relegation at bay.
Pleasantries exchanged, the game kicked off. Old Parkonians had the better first 10min, but then Merton found their stride. A lovely interchange between Darcy and Glen saw Fitz clean through. 1-0 and Merton hadn’t even broken a sweat.
Merton continued to dominate for the rest of the half, with countless chances created and some even captured on film by the eagle eyed Mr Noble. However, Merton were unable to convert any, which has been the story of the season. On the positive though, as the great ‘Wayne Shaw’ once said, (whilst eating a pie) “Shooting off target is the start of something great… once you know your off target, you are half way there to shooting on target, which is a real game changer”.
Not much else happened in the first half of note, Mustard decided to take a throw in from the wrong pitch and wondered why he could only throw 2m in distance. Mr Happy continued to shout words of encouragement to the rest of his team mates and Ricki’s dog watched on from the sidelines, basking in the sunshine, dreaming of hotdogs.
Half time came and went with all the classic cliches that you have all read a million times before! Big push in the first 10min, Next goal is vital etc.
The 2nd half started much like the first, with Old Parkonians starting stronger and Dan making a number of good saves. Merton finally found their passing boots again and began to knock the ball around nicely. A few more missed opportunities came and went, before Fitz was maliciously brought down by the oppo keeper. Clear pen.
After much debate, the clubs leading penalty taker set the ball down. A whistle went, boom… goal…. cue celebration. However, it was a whistle from the other game. The ref made Darcy take the penalty again…. boom. Goal. Neatly slotted into the same corner as the previous penalty. “Nerves of steal”, some were heard saying on the side line.
Meton now had a 2-0 advantage and it stayed this way until the 83min.
As mentioned, the Old Parkonians had a significant height advantage, with every player being 6’2″ plus. On the other hand, Merton’s tallest player was probably Glen or Neal who are an impressive 5’7″ at best. I’m not sure why it took the oppo so long to work this out, but when they did, Merton were in trouble.
After 8 consecutive corners, with Merton unable to clear their lines, an oppo player broke free and whipped in another cross, which was nodded into the goal. 2-1.
Oppo now had the wind in their sails… 88min went past, 89, 90min and another set of 4 corners came Merton’s way. An exact replica of the first goal made it 2-2.
Heart break for the boars who’s defence had been solid until the 83min.
The game was restated with only seconds left on the clock… tick tock… 5mins later, oppo broke down the left, crossed the ball into the back post, which was promptly put back into the mixer for the striker to score another header. 2-3.
Merton looked by far the better team for 83mins, however like the majority of the other games this season, they found a way to mess it up and lose it.
Some harsh, but fair, words were exchanged in the dressing room, which left each player looking at his own commitment and fitness levels for next season.
Everyone returned to the bar for a beverage and to let off some steam.
Last game of the season Sat… Can Merton 3’s turn over a new leaf this side of Spring?
Goals: Fitz, Darcy