Given a Hed Start

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Given a Hed Start

Post  Boz1964 on Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:49 pm

Given a Hed Start

In the last official friendly at Penydarren Park before the season proper, Merthyr Town took on Hednesford Town in what was to prove an entertaining and controversial encounter.

The Away side from Staffordshire lined up against the Welshmen and the first impression was that they looked a tall, physical team which might trouble our defence from corners and set pieces.

Hednesford -nicknamed the Pitmen- didn't 'seam' capable of fitting underground, whereas our much smaller and younger side did.

It looked like a case of Miners v Minors.

Once again, the Merthyr pack was shuffled and 'Ace' Jay Bowen was brought in to the starting line-up for the first time to play as 10, to support Lone Wolf striker Stuart Fleetwood, who has looked in recent games more isolated than the Belle Rock lighthouse keeper who left his mobile on the mainland.

It was this combination that scored the opening goal on four minutes, with Fleetwood running wide and sending in a low cross, which fell invitingly to the youngster, who drilled the ball passed the stranded Hed keeper, Haynes for an early lead.

With Merthyr statistician Imp now decamped back in Lincoln, I had to check who was the last player Bowen to score for Merthyr.

That was Lewis Somers v Farnborough Town in the 2005 FA Cup qualifying campaign.

Now scoring a goal can do wonders for a young player's confidence and for the next ten or so minutes, young Bowen stroked the ball about with ease reminding us of his initial promise when he first joined the club a couple of seasons back.

In his new role he looked assured but then after a few touches went awry - his attempts at creation seemed to backfire- turning attack into defence and his head went down like he was in fact 'bowing'.

Before this change around, there was some beautiful one-touch football on the deck and low delivery from Bowen, Traylor and Fleetwood and these 'crosses' looked like being 'key' to unlocking the Away Cross Key defence.

Traylor and Corey Jenkins -the Fastest Man on the Planet, ( now Usain Bolt Has retired) -
made in-roads against the Hednesford defence, who had a busy time Cannock chasing the pair   all over the pitch.

But Merthyr didn't have it all their own way.

Hednesford had a sprinter and supreme athlete of their own, in the shape of their number 7 Matt Dodd, who gave our young left back a real torrid time, out-muscling and outpacing the debutante for the first half with great regularity.

I bet our Diddy-man will have nightmares of Doddy tonight in his sleep and will never watch Marlon Wayans in the film 'White Chicks' again without shuddering.

As the game ebbed and flowed in a great open spectacle of attacking football from both sides, Hednesford equalised once again from a cross from the right wing, with Dodd influential in the build-up , pressuring Adam Davies into turning the ball passed his own keeper for 1-1.

In fairness, Adam was confused - after all he wasn't sure if Oliver Davies was now playing for Hereford, Yeovil or Bath.

But then again neither was Olly.

In his 'defence' he may have been put off by the loud voices of one of the Aberdare Martyrs behind the goal- let's be honest he wouldn't be the first Adam to be distracted by
a talking snake.

Merthyr fought back valiantly and thought they had a second goal, when from a free-kick on the right, the ball was turned into the net by the hard-working Scott Tancock, only for it to be ruled out for offside by the Champions League Linesman on the near side.

His Welsh-speaking Father, Tad Cock, sat in the stand behind was livid, after watching his son's goal chalked off - as he was sure the Lino's decision was a stinker.

In fact, he turned into a Sceptic Tanc.

Both sides under the direction of their managers fought 'Tooth' and Nail to get the advantage to take into the dressing room for half time, but the referee blew with honours even in terms of both possession and scoreline.

Merthyr's pre-season weaknesses were once again clearly evident in their lack of height and of course in playing with just one striker in the box.

Hednesford on the other hand looked much muscular, much taller and appeared to have more of the same on the bench.

SuperGav once again made changes and brought on the 'Lion of Llanelli' Kyle Copp and the Goal of the Season 2017 Winner, Kerry Morgan and the tide gradually turned.

He also brought on fan's favourite Matthew Harris to get him some game time and help him return to his pre-injury Olympic fitness level ( He now plays every four years too)

Poor old Harris was puffing and blowing,  chasing behind to cover the sprinting Matt Dodd, who was still causing havoc with every full back Merthyr could find off the substitute's bench as he slid in being the last line of defence, he sent Dodd tumbling in the Box and a claim of a Pottery Penalty.

The referee and linesman had no doubt pointing immediately to the spot, but from my viewpoint I wasn't so sure that justice was done -as I thought Harris had won the 50/50 and £83.00 as a result.

I was certain that the injury-troubled Merthyr Messi had got his foot to the ball first- a claim that was backed up by the fact that Matthew Harris toenail was still lodged in the valve of the football-preventing it settling on 'Mount St Peter' - the heavily painted penalty spot.

Fortunately, Barry Thomas was able to find the rest of his toe after the game and return it to its rightful owner.

The resulting spot kick was dispatched with power passed our keeper by Hednesford
Lethal Weapon Danny Glover.

With the Pitmen now in front, the big question was would Taff Merthyr collapse or be able to cut it in the final 15 or so minutes.

The resounding answer was yes- although they were given a huge helping hand by Merthyr Linesman -Peter the Painter.

In a Bartimaeus moment , he allowed a move involving the fleet feet of Fleetwood to stand without a flag and for Kerry Morgan to finish a neatly taken goal to take the scoreline to Desmond parity much to the bemusement of the partisan Merthyr crowd.

In fairness to the Lino, Kerry's speed and stature does allow the skilful winger to sneak under any radar trap but if the Dowlais stealth bomber wasn't offside then I need to acquire at 53 years of age -my first ever set of glasses.

Let's be honest, if a player is standing behind the keeper in the box when the ball is played,he should be given offside.

But on checking the Renaissance Referee optics, his Stanley Kubrick Moment had been caused by the fact he had painted himself into a corner(flag) and the resulting goal was then put down to a 'gloss finish'.

Protests by the angry Potters was understandable and in all reality -the goal should not have been allowed to stand - friendly match or otherwise- the fact that his linesman kit was sponsored by a Malaysian Betting syndicate was immaterial.

And if the Heds were beginning to drop,  they were fully decapitated, when a burst on the far wing - saw a Chase Defender tripped by a mysterious roller pole that suddenly appeared from under a Merthyr Town emblazoned dust-sheet, which allowed the replacement Merthyr
three-legged winger, Tri- Allist to cross - only to be turned in by falling striker- Islip for the match winner.

It was hard on Hednesford and their travelling fans-as they deserved a draw and the resulting howl from their Manager suggested he had retired from football with the same injury to his vocal chords as Mariah Carey.

Another great match for fans who love to be entertained and those who are willing put their hand in their own pocket to support our Football Club week in week out- whoever the opposition.

Let's hope more Fans will turn up next week to support their local Community Club and refill the coffers for the Hitchin match- and not just remain at home as keyboard warriors and 'Talking Heds'.

I live in hope.


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