Chip n Pen

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Chip n Pen

Post  Boz1964 on Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:55 pm

Chip n Pen

It was the most anticipated game of the season, which drew a huge away support last seen by me since our losing play-off match at Hungerford a few seasons back.

Two bus loads of Martyrs intermingled with a few special brew Scottish guests, saw an under strength Merthyr crash out 3-1 to league leaders Chippenham Town earlier today.

To those that claim that our 3G pitch is a huge home advantage, I would wholeheartedly agree - but to try and play football on that lopsided uneven Hardenhuish pitch today was a nightmare for our ailing players.

Now I am not looking for an excuse for the two goal defeat today- one of our poorest results of the season- but I defy any team that wants to play flowing football try and do so on the slopes of Mount Etna wearing a stiletto heel on one foot and a glass slipper on the other.

The cynics on this forum will say that it is the same for the both sides - but that is where their home advantage plays a big part.

Why else would Chippenham elect to switch sides on winning the coin toss ?

Preferring to 'putt' downhill into the 'deep end' rather than 'pitch' uphill towards a fence with more barbed wire on it than Steve McQueen tried to leap on a motorbike in the film 'The Great Escape'.

Sadly there was to be no such great escape for the Martyrs from the uber-confident Bluebirds of Wiltshire, who easily extended their unbeaten run to 20 games to huge cries of disappointment emanating from second placed Leamington.

If anyone was capable of upsetting the Champions elect, it was the free-flowing football of Merthyr Town.

But with all the recent suspensions, indiscipline, injuries and petulance, our once settled side has been decimated by the recent enforced changes which has been coupled with a sudden loss of confidence and form.

I would like to think we are saving something in reserve for the inevitable play-offs but the Puritanical Order of Banbury United have now closed the points gap and are too close for comfort , breathing down our necks albeit with a much tougher run-in than our faltering heroes.

But to assume that Chippenham Town are World beaters would be folly, as in the first half their tactics of 'Hoof and Mouth' were straight out of the Farmers Weekly Coaching Manual and were easily neutered by our greatest asset this season - our frugal defence.

A few weeks back and the defensive back line of Davies, Davies, McDonald, Tancock and Barrow looked less likely to be forced into an embarrassing U-Turn than a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, but more after reshuffles than a broken Apple i-Pod, our back line looks as solid as a lactose intolerant Welsh Irishman who has just swallowed a cheese laxative by mistake.

If Dai O'Rhea is a bad micks, then today the combination of goalkeeper Olly Davies and centre half Curtis McDonald was even worse.

After holding Chippenham comfortably in the first half, early in the second half, our keeper came out to punch a hopeful 'Wimbledon' style lob from the left and collided with his defender to give a Chippenham Pratt an easy finish.

This unfortunate incident became the focus of some discontent in some of the Merthyr Faithful who despite wearing much 'Spirit of '58' Welsh Football clobber failed to adopt the credo of 'stronger together'.

Chants of 'Sack the Board' and language not usually heard in monastery's up and down the land, together with acts of petulance towards the home keeper that President Trump would have been proud of - left me and my travelling companion a little embarrassed to be a Merthyr Town fan, when for most of this season our supporters have been real ambassadors for our Town, Club and Country.

Sadly some supporters seem to have very short memories, which clearly were alcohol induced and whilst I can understand their frustrations they should be realistic as to expectations too.

Divisions, Factions and a 'Them and Us' attitude cannot be allowed to thrive in our Community Club after a few bad results in what has been a memorable season.

After all we are all supporters and perhaps we should take heed from the sign which read 'Before you complain have you volunteered?'

There is no disgrace in losing away to the top side in our division, and should be met with such unmerited criticism, especially when we matched them for 49 or so minutes with an under strength side on the most difficult pitch with the only area that was on the level was the size of a postage stamp in the right hand corner.

Now if Merthyr Fans have much to complain about, then they should try and sit next to the Wiltshire footballing equivalent of Victor Meldrew.

Despite his side being top of the league, and being able to walk unsupported in the eighth decade of his life, he threatened to knock the head off the Chippenham mascot with his walking stick if he came within six feet of him.

He successively moaned about a free promotion, that we were smoking in his stand (I have never smoked so much as a kipper in my life) and also that people were blocking his view ( as he had sat behind a pillar) - and the sad part of it was that this was 'Happy Hour' at the Club too.

'I don't believe it' either.

But it would be wrong if our defence gets the 'culpability' award for this defeat, as it must be remembered that our strike force once again didn't cover themselves in glory either.

It can't have gone unnoticed from the bench that goalkeeper Chitty looked decidedly under the weather.

He was in fact lamer than the horses that I backed at last week's Cheltenham Festival.

And they were still running later that evening.

Feeling Chitty and unable to run....should have been a night' mare' too for the Wiltshire management but there were less shots fired at him than in the 300+ year war between the Scilly Isles and the Netherlands.

His replacement , the reserve keeper, Christened 'Fatty' by some of our more inebriated fans (although to be fair they WERE seeing double) had less to do than a snow shoveller in Barbados and at one point I was tempted to ask him if he was a paying spectator like the rest of the crowd.

Now I am no footballing connoisseur, I don't even own PlayStation or FIFA sponsored console, but even I could see that our tactics on that donkey tip of a pitch weren't working.

The ball was being lumped up in the air against two centre halves who were strong in the air.

Or as the visiting Queens Park fans put it:

'You are taking the high road when you should be taking the low road'

It comes to something when a Glasgow Club famed for being amateurs know more than us 'Professionals'.

But the trouble is trying to play football on the deck (whilst the Titanic is sinking) on a sloping pitch with more ruts than a 1970's punk reunion concert- is hard if not impossible especially when the confidence of the side is so low.

Added to the fact that Chippenham have been awarded more home penalties this season than even Liverpool manage and you have a big problem.

Getting a Non-League referee to award one penalty is unlikely but getting TWO in a game is pretty much unprecedented.

Chippenham suddenly became ChipPENPENham.

However, whilst Merthyr Town after this defeat, appear to be in a bigger hole than Status Quo's Rick Parfitt ( the irony of the Home Club playing at half- time 'Down, Down Deeper n Down' was not lost on me) I suddenly realised that the significance of this game now had lesser implications than it would have if we were fighting for the Championship Title.

Since we have pressed the 'self destruct button' in recent weeks, we should 'resign ourselves' to the fact we are out of the title race and home advantage and that our focus should be merely on getting more points than Banbury in the last half dozen games in the hope that we can build up some impetus and footballing rhythm as we head towards season end.

We are undoubtedly 'Stronger Together' and the presence of our Scottish cousins ( I will refrain from using the swearword of Celtic) was one of the few highlights of an otherwise miserable day even by Chippenham Meldrew standards.

Whilst Chippenham's position at the top of the pile looks more secure than a Chip and Pen credit card, they will have to increase their credit limit to spend big on that Clubhouse by adding a Stannah stairlift for Meldrew on that rusty fire escape that leads to the bar.

Otherwise next season there won't just be Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover Athletic but the Status Quo will be too after 'Marguerite Time' is called.

As for Merthyr we must realise that it may take a few seasons before we climb out of this league....when we have to play Hereford Un-United 'Again, again, Again'...but would that if we are financially stable with football safe in our Town...would that really be such a bad thing?



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Re: Chip n Pen

Post  Merthyr Imp on Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:04 pm

Good post, Boz.
Merthyr Imp

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Re: Chip n Pen

Post  Nubs on Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:45 am

Cracking read, Boz.
Continuing the Status Quo references, you could have said that the pitch wasn't 'On The Level'. Smile

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Re: Chip n Pen

Post  cliffyboy on Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:43 pm

Yes spot on - "I was there" Laughing


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