2s vs Weirside Rangers – 29.10.16
Merton Res 0 – 1 Weirside Rangers Res
Weirside pulled off a robbery right under the noses of the Met Police (FC) to snare all 3 points at Imber Court. This was an emotional day for Merton, sporting black armbands and holding a minute’s silence to mark the tragic passing of fellow boar Nick Papanastasiou last week. Merton started the game in Nick-esque fashion, with high energy and intensity, and might have had their first penalty a couple of minutes in when Dan skinned his man and was clipped on the line as he cut into the box. The game ground to a halt as everyone turned to the referee for his decision. Was it a pen or a free kick….? Neither, apparently, and the game went on. More bemusement followed as Merton’s back 4 stepped up and confidently called offsite. No whistle…. and what seemed like half an hour later the ball was walked into our net with Big Jase setting off in hot pursuit of the ref which may have contributed to him twanging his groin 10 mins into the 2nd half.
Weirside’s next real chance (of 3 in the match) wouldn’t come until the last 5 minutes of the game. In the interin, almost everybody in yellow tried and failed to notch. First, Joe Grew flicked a header against the angle of post and bar. Then Pearcey was clipped in the box and went down quicker than an AC/DC groupie. Free kick awarded for diving. Then a Weirside defender blocked a cross/shot in the box with his hands raised above his head like an umpire signalling a six. No pen, despite a free-kick being awarded for the same thing in midfield 10 minutes later. As a sort of interlude from the succession of missed chances, Stoney put in a good old fashioned chopper on his opposite number, who moaned about it for the next 15 minutes to anyone within earshot. Sadly that didn’t include the perpetrator as Mike had crocked himself and limped off straight after. Gresty followed a couple of classic amateur football moments (treading on the ball in the centre circle and shanking a cross out of play from the corner of the 6-yard box) by somehow managing to kick the ball over the bar whilst laying on the goal line. Then his header in midfield put Dan clear through on goal, but the keeper saved bravely to send Merton into the break a goal down.
Merton pushed forward in the second half, finding joy from Cookie and Alex Goodwin pinging balls in behind the full backs. Pearcey was inches away from connecting with Dan’s cross from the right and then he headed wide from 6 yards on the end of Rayner’s. More good work down the right saw Dan stab a shot agonisingly between the post and Gresty. Lots of chances, but it much work for the keeper. That changed when Jordan rose like his Liverpool idol John Barnes (the player; not the awful pundit/channel 5 football presenter) but his header from the edge of the box was brilliantly tipped onto the bar. Cometh the hour mark, cometh DQ from the bench, making his Merton return after a succession of injuries/sexual harassment claims. And it’s fair to say he looked a little rusty with his first effort, blazing high over the treeline from 10 yards out. He got much closer with his second though, a header nodded down at the back post, bouncing back off the upright and being scrambled away. Next up was Lofty, unleashing a fizzing piledriver which infuriatingly swerved back in towards the keeper and into his midriff. Weirside did have the odd foray into Merton territory, mostly mopped up by Stoney and Cookie at CB and the Alexes at full back. When they did carve out the chance to put the game to bed, Sherbs pulled off a wonder save, leaping at full stretch to palm the ball round the post. Merton’s final chance came when Cookie surged forward and was scythed down on the edge of the box. Up stepped Alex G who bent a sumptuous free kick up and over the wall…. and inches wide of the near post. With that, the final whistle blew and the game was lost. The failure to score continued deep into Saturday night, but that is another story.
So a frustrating result and a game Merton really should have got something from. But to be honest it pales into insignificance in the context of this week.
Team: Sherbs, Alex King, Ben Cook, Big Jase, Alex Goodwin, Mike Stone, Gresty, Joe Grew, Rayner, Pearcey, Dan Kelly. Subs: Lofty, Jordan, DQ
MOM: Alex Goodwin who just pipped Alex King, hitherto unmentioned in this match report because there were so many misses to get through.