Wednesday, 7 September 2011

23 Hmm - meanest wart hog! (anag)

Merstham's pre-match huddle was the least huddliest huddle I have ever seen
Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 6 September at Runnymede Stadium
Egham Town 2 Merstham 3
FA Cup Preliminary Round Replay
See the previous post for details – I am here because England U21, Israel U21, Brazil & Ghana scored six goals between them last night.
This match in one sentence
Merstham asserted their status in the second half but Egham Town, from a step lower in the non-league world, gave a good account of themselves and may even consider themselves unlucky.
So what?
Walton & Hersham manager Chuck Martini (a spectator this evening and mentioned elsewhere earlier blogposts) will take his team to Merstham in the next round.  Merstham’s Andy Martin should be a bit happier and may stop shouting at his players by about Thursday.  I recommend a cuddle with Charlie – see below.
Something random

Hello to Charlie from Merstham, this blog’s first dog-in-kit.  I look forward to meeting him again when my random life takes me to Merstham, even though he distracted me at the moment their third goal went in.  Beatrix Potter could have learned a thing or two about animal fashion from this – she left us no information whatsoever about the teams supported by Jeremy Fisher and Peter Rabbit, although we do know the Flopsy Bunnies turned out in the all-white of Leeds United.
The drama unfolds
Egham’s goalkeeper Paul Borg was the busier in the first quarter of an hour, with two meaningful saves.  Merstham’s manager Andy Martin’s unhappiness with his side’s performance was carried over from Saturday.  By all accounts he confused fans with a half-time triple substitution in the first game which even the club’s own website described as bizarre.  Tonight he was concerned about the space found by the mobile Egham midfielders, and repeatedly barked instructions about who-should-mark-whom.

The first clip is a scene-setter, and the second shows Egham almost grabbing the lead after 20 minutes.  Egham are in red.  The free-kick, given by the lino, had been loudly disputed.  Borg was called into action again though soon afterwards, and the game settled into a pattern.  Egham’s attacks, usually down the right were pacy and mobile but without ever really creating a gilt-edged chance or causing a tricky save.  Midfielders #8 for Egham (Marcus Moody, I believe) and Omar Folkes for Merstham caught the eye most often.  The third is another Egham  near-miss from the first half.

0-0  at half-time

Merstham took hold of the game by grabbing the lead in the 47th minute.  Dan Harding made no mistake when the chance fell to him.  0-1

However, Moody was able to level the score straight from the restart with another effective run through the middle of the defence.  1-1

The turning point of the game came in the 67th minute.  Roscoe Dsane scored this spot-kick after a foul in the area – the defender escaped with a yellow, as it was one of those where the ball was running away from the goal at the moment of contact.  1-2

Merstham got a deflected third within a few minutes and looked safe.  Harry Ottaway was claiming the credit, if a little sheepishly.  I was distracted by Charlie the dog at this precise moment so can shed no more light on the circumstances.  1-3

The neutrals, however, licked their lips in anticipation as Egham’s Aaron Taylor bundled in a headed second goal from a cross with eight minutes left.  2-3

My final clips come from the closing moments. The first starts with an aeroplane (the ground was underneath the Heathrow takeoff path tonight) and the second is just before the whistle.  I really wish Borg had headed to the opposing penalty area – that has been a feature sadly lacking in my cupties so far this season.  I returned to my car to learn that the England v Wales game had been another Wembley anti-climax.  Final score 2-3

Acknowledgement to the Merstham website for helping me to identify scorers.  You can also cross-check my opinions with @putajumperon on Twitter - he and I watched the second half together and I have no doubt we will cross paths on another hop sometime!
I am sure there were several worthy performances from the visitors, but I will give this accolade in misty-eyed fashion to Egham Town’s #8, whom I believe to be Marcus Moody.  His all-action performance from midfield, with great movement, caused all sorts of problems for defenders.  Merstham manager Alan Martin kept berating his defenders for losing him.  Honourable mention too to the Egham Town goalkeeper Paul Borg.
A snippet from the programme

The Egham Town motto is “Ut Homines Liberi Scint” which really should mean “Those men leave here with no money” but actually means, “That men may know Freedom”.  Except for opposing attackers in the penalty box of course.
What I learned today
I really should go to Runnymede sometime – it’s one of those odd omissions from my days out over the years that I have never been to the place where King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215 to placate the revolting barons.  I have had no connection with the Magna Carta School, and I have never taken refreshment at either the Magna Carta Tearoom or the Magna Carta Tandoori, all of which are nearby.
What Next?
Not a clue as yet, watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for any announcements.

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