Coming Up Short

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Coming Up Short

Post  Boz1964 on Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:47 pm

Coming up short

After listening to that pinnacle of Masculinity, weatherman Derek Brockway on BBC TV last night, I expected to see Storm Caroline bringing Snow White to Penydarren Park.

What I didn't expect to see in our line-up, so many of her former colleagues.

With the season written off and consigned to Footballing history, SuperGav decided he would blood the inexperienced youngsters and pit them against a Banbury United team that has this season blown more hot n cold than a dodgy air conditioning unit.

Now there is a saying in sport and in Swedish films 'that a good big one will always beat a little one any day' and last night's match was no exception.

If Jonathan Swift had been present in the crowd, he would have assumed the fixture in the latest chapter in Merthyr's footballing history was Brobdingnag v Lilliput and
not Merthyr v Banbury.

Merthyr's team boasted an average height of 4 foot and Banbury 6 foot 5 and that was AFTER the referee made the Puritans take off their stovepipe hats.

What followed in the first half was the most one sided Puritanical contest since the
Salem Witch-trials.

Up front Banbury, had their star striker and poet laureate Conor McDonagh, fresh with newly installed 'Bale' on his head and it was no surprise that he opened the scoring inside the first twenty minutes passed the helpless Cameron Clarke.

There followed a spell where the Pontypridd keeper was all that stood between Merthyr and a Banbury cricket score, as the thin 'green line' stopped shot after shot like he was a firing range target, excelling by limiting the Oxford Outfit to just a solitary goal.

In contrast, Merthyr had youngster Jacob Flower trying to do physical battle with the navels of two massive centre halves.

Whilst the kid ran his heart out, he seemed to be chasing shadows and on the rare occasion he touched the ball, was soon dispossessed by either Gog or Magog, as he possessed less physical presence than Casper the friendly ghost.

Now football purists will point to the fact that the second best player in the World
(after Mattie Harris of course) -Lionel Messi -is only 5 foot 6 , but in all reality can he out jump Ronaldo in the air?...I don't think so.

Ronaldo Corbett perhaps.

Now I hope young Flower can 'blossom' into Pep 'Gladioli' one day, after all, our most deadliest of marksman was the Ebbw Vale sharpshooter, David Webley wasn't exactly the tallest- but until he does he still possesses plenty of pace around the field and is a chaser of lost causes...otherwise why would the loyalist be still at Merthyr Town given our financial crisis in recent weeks?

As was raised by Abergavenny- based fan Gordon Awty, perhaps our team nickname should now be revised from the Martyrs to the more apt name of the 'Borrowers' until we can get our accounts back into the black n white.

And if the Bunbury striker wasn't busy running rings around the Merthyr defence, with Merthyr debuting another one of the Disney Mouseketeers at centre half, defending from corners was to prove impossible and inevitably the second goal was scored by towering centre half Luke Carnell, as he headed the ball over the motorcycle display team defence of Ashley Evans, Ian Traylor, Jacob Flower, Liam Martin & Cameron Clarke.

Without tall defenders to mark him, nothing was likely to stop THAT Banbury Cross.

With the second on the scoreboard, Banbury relaxed and the commentator on Puritan Radio went down an octave or two.

In a strange way, this goal made Merthyr relax too, as the match was now over as a contest, as Merthyr looked more toothless than Benny Hill actor Jack Wright.

If it had been a limbo contest rather than a football match then the result would have been different.

Merthyr then started to grow into the game, getting a greater share of possession and putting together some nice moves without really threatening the Oxford outfit- even if their goalkeeper, Jack Harding, was more troubled by the horn-blowing Merthyr Harpo Marx, than our tiny strike force.

For him it was just 'another day at the races' , as he trooped off at half-time to look for some industrial strength earplugs not having had to make a single save.

With the scoreline (thanks largely to the Cameron Clarke) 2-0 rather than the 6-0 it could have been, Merthyr were still in the game.

With the Merthyr Messi entering the field of dreams in place of Marcus Hogbakken, the crowd responded with a version of the Max Boyce Welsh Rugby chant of 'Hoggy, Hoggy, Hoggy' to mark the performance of the youngster.

Under the silky 'brush strokes' of Harris, Merthyr gradually gained a grip on the game and began to make a contest of the match.

With Banbury coasting in second gear, the moment the crowd had been waiting for arrived.

The return from injury of the Bearded Saviour to put the cross into the side of Banbury.

And what a performance from local hero Ryan Prosser.

In the 25 or so minutes he was on the park, he hit the post, scored one , had one disallowed for offside and should have been awarded a penalty.

On our limited budget - there is no substitute for high-flying Ryan Hair.

The striker had a huge impact on a game not just in his aerial acrobatics but he acted like a set of 'jump leads' to his long standing teammate Ian Traylor, as suddenly the winger could find space and had a target man to aim for.

The impetus was now with the Martyrs as Banbury were forced onto the back foot as in the changing room Hoggy tucked into the halftime back bacon.

Banbury needed to slow down the game and responded by bringing on a substitute of their own.

A man wearing a mask last worn by Michael Crawford as the Phantom of the Opera.

Whether he chose to wear the face gear because of injury to his cheekbones or to hide his face in shame, as the Merthyr Combined schools XI were suddenly becoming top dogs in the playground is uncertain, but whatever it was it took a huge slice of luck and a nod and a wink off the officials, as Banbury scored their third and decisive goal from substitute Leam Howard .

He had worked out that Cameron Clarke is a brilliant shot stopper but with his diminutive height is susceptible to an Andy Murray or two - as this is his Achilles Shoulder.

The near side linesman, who all game had been lifting his flag more than an Ark Royal Semaphore Officer on Blue Peter duty, upset both a large proportion of the Home crowd and our senior players just as the team confidence was starting to be restored to pre-Chesham levels.

It left born-winner Scott Tancock so frustrated over the game management of the Puritans that he tried to lift the Zorro-ful Banbury Phantom off the deck after a bout of professional basketball and drag him in the direction of Plymouth Rock.

To say it was an uneven contest was an understatement, as the Lone Ranger Striker was three times the defender's body weight and for a 'Bright Man' he should have realised that there was more chance of Andrew Lloyd-Webber winning a beauty contest than there was of moving the Phantom from 'centre stage'.

However, such action led to a melee that saw the parrot that lives in Ryan Prosser's beard being booked for dissent.

In the end, a narrow home defeat against a decent Banbury outfit should be viewed as a plus and not a minus and with several youngsters debuting and gaining vital game time experience the result was much better than I had expected or anticipated.

It was also good to see the Gateshead Martyr, Scott Barrow back on his feet after being literally 'knocked out' of the FA Cup this weekend, supporting both his Swansea mate and Merthyr Town with his presence.

Whilst my Man of the Match was the Banbury Ox in the Box, Conor McDonagh, he was nearly eclipsed by the outstanding Ryan Prosser.

We may have come up just short this time but the return of the Ponty-us Pilot has me hopeful for the future- we just need to sign a few players with height and physical presence to add to the enthusiasm of our developing players.

That way our 'subbuteo' players can hopefully 'turn the tables' and develop more 'Flower Power'.

flower flower flower



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