2s vs Old Owens – 21.10.17
Old Owens (a) 14-10-2017
Merton has never been a club to put too much stock in omens. But when, as skipper, your referee for the day asks if you’re wearing yellow while your entire team is standing around you, all of you resplendent in the very shade Merton has made famous in every corner of London, well… you have to wonder.
Especially when the man in black has then somehow managed to make a complete muddle of the coin toss. Long day ahead? You bet.
This is not the forum for complaint, however. You can draw your own conclusions as to just how wildly inconsistent the man in the middle’s behaviour was during the game.
Instead, a few Merton highlights.
Dom Preece put in a hell of a shift in the middle of midfield. Outshining the energy of Craig Usher and Ryan Gresty is no small feat, but our man did exactly that.
Ahead of him, David Quainton led the line with Tom Benham admirably. Benham’s goal – twisting the defence inside out after latching on to a precise Peter Quainton through-ball – was joyous. Having sat the defender down for what seemed like a third time, Tommy B rattled the ball high past the keeper with his left foot. From the look of determination on his face immediately afterwards, he drew no little satisfaction from doing so.
Sherbs in goal was as reliable as ever. He could do nothing about the penalty (the ref was possibly only sorry he couldn’t take it himself), and made two or three excellent stops.
Dan Rist exudes a style and presence all of his own. Man of the match here, his delivery was pin-point from all over the pitch, and he even found himself on the edge of oppo area to force a fine save from a stinger of an effort. Also worthy of mention is his fondness for the over-elaborate dummy at centre-back. Gets ‘em every time.
Special mention, though, for Peter Quainton. Off the bench after less than 10 minutes, Pete podiumed for Man Most Handsome from right wing-back. Affecting the game when you have the best player on the pitch to mark is one thing. Coming off the bench to show the rest of the lads how it’s done is quite another. Well played.
There was something of a spiteful playground atmosphere about the whole affair, hardly helped by the coin toss cocker-upper. A long way to go for little reward. But this was a game, in the end, that was not without its lighter, brighter moments. In yellow.
Herbert (GK), Grew, Rist, Cook, Rayner, Willgoss (c), Preece, Usher, Gresty, D Quainton, Tom Benham. Sub: P Quainton