2s vs Carshalton – 16.09.17
Carshalton (a), 16.09.2017
Leafy, desirable, full of undesirables, a kebab shop called ‘Kebab World’ (presumably something of a Disney resort for the cholesterol-arteried of the area, one of whom appeared to play for the oppo), and traditionally the venue of a little bit of needle. Carshalton: our kinda town.
Well, a town anyway, and it’s where Merton 2s’ first away match of the season took place.
A slightly delayed kick-off due to unforeseen clubhouse-opening issues made a mockery of the fact everyone turned-up within good time. Messrs Murphy and Usher (back for his first game for two years after spending a prolonged time in Sheffield, poor lamb) found the whole experience very easy, living but ten minutes away; and Lewis Ackerman was delighted to be able to finish filming a morning’s Fake Taxi in Sutton with plenty of time to hose down the back seat, remove the smell of lady, and still make it by the designated hour.
Captain Willgoss ruminated over how to squeeze the best out of a strong squad, replete with faces old and new, and a front line the sunny side of 70 years old. The ‘respected cycling journalist’ ultimately devised a 5-3-2, utilising Draghici and Murphy’s energy down the flanks and packing the midfield.
Merton started like a house on fire, in that they were very soon engulfed and looking rather weaker than hoped. A long clearance was flicked on by a lunk familiar to anyone that’s played at this level over that last ten years, and a leaden defence admired the quality of the finish. So far, so disappointing.
But this, as mentioned before, was a quality Merton line-up, and they picked themselves up, dusted themselves down, and resolved not to make the same mistake again.
Instead, Merton took control of the game. Willgoss and Usher intercepting everything in midfield, Gibson alongside finding space and demonstrating class of touch. Ackerman hit the bar, DQ had a half-volley acrobatically tipped over, and minutes later was elbowed in the back of the head by a Tubby Angry Man, securing a free-kick on the edge of the area. Having already had one sighter, Gibson stepped up and arced the ball deliciously into the top corner.
1-1, and more was to come.
DQ had a super game up top, making so much through his own physicality and determination. He won the ball in the area, beat the keeper, and saw his shot cleared off the line by the head of the smallest player on the pitch. Murphy and Draghici increased their sorties into the opposition half. Carshalton complained lots. Merton were unlucky not to lead at half time.
Willgoss told everyone they had played just spiffily well and to do exactly the same in the second half. Draghici – full of energy throughout – listened intently, took to the pitch, stole the ball from the left-back, powered into the area and won an absolutely stone-bonking penalty. Ackerman scored it. Because he’s deadly. 2-1.
Willgoss rang the changes: PQ on for the hobbled Murphy, and Preece on for the captain himself. Usher took over the armband, his reintegration into the Boars thus complete.
Preece, evidently bored by the mundanity of a penalty goal, strode onto a clearance and half-volleyed unstoppably into the top corner from 30 yards. A real beauty. Even the Carsharlton players stopped whinging, such was the professional quality of the strike. DQ had a further two shots saved, PQ whipped in some testing set-pieces, and Shields – on for Ackerman – stole onto a short backpass, calmly rounded the keeper, and pulled the shot about ten yards wide.
By the end of the match, Carsharlton had been given such a runaround that half the team had cramp or somesuch and it was an altogether comfortable end for the men of Merton.
Sherbs – another excellent game in goal – tends to make at least one save per game that he has no right to. No change here, Alex acrobatically tipping over a stinger of a ping that thrashed through the air, surely destined to make the last 10 minutes a little uncomfortable for the men in yellow. Sherbs wasn’t having it.
The whole event was a thoroughly promising affair, and 4 points from two games means the 2s are starting to look more than a little handsome again.
Preece secured DOTD after celebrating his worldy by attempting to air-Cruyff-turn a goal kick. But mostly for wanting to shoot off early to get some DIY done. Usher, Crusher, dear sweet Craigy, edged MOTM for a typically action performance. It’s good to have him back.
Merton (3-5-2): Sherbs, Clowes, Dance, Grew, Draghici, Murphy, Usher, Willgoss, Gibson, Ackerman, David Quainton. Bench: Peter Quainton, Dom Preece, Ally Shields