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The Merton derby


They say that a championship winning team is one that can scrape out results despite playing awfully, especially if S&M 2 T&M 2 was anything to go by. However, that theory only works towards the end of the season, and quite simply, we should have lost. Our defence was shit, our midfield play was shit, our striking was shit, at least for the first 75 minutes. It started off badly, with Naisbitt kicking errantly and T&M returning the favour. Our defence especially looked like it had thought the game was at Imperial Fields instead.

Parity was somehow restored on 29 minutes. We got a corner (no, we didn’t do a lap of honour), and up popped Martin Randall to put the mouthy wankers in their place. You would then think we would go up a gear, right? Er, not quite. T&M kept the running going, our defence looked more brain dead than a Florida voter and thwack. 2-1 to them. This didn’t look like the team that was slaughtering all before them earlier on.

Half time came – thankfully. We really should have been 4-1 down. Second half started and it felt more of the same. Half a yard too slow. Then suddenly, out of the blue….. a penalty. Penalty to Wimbledon. Surely this was the turning point? Sure, the T&M players had a whinge about it but this was our chance to get back. Up stepped Ursell to save the day, to claim blood for the forces of good against the Evil Empire from the wrong bit of SM4. It was a magical strike to delight people of all ages. It would have been even better had the T&M goalie not saved it.

Rather strangely, this seemed to galvanise us – players and crowd. OK, I had a feeling it was going to be one of those days, and I was ready to hand out suicide instructions on here in the event of us losing. But when Ursell got the ball, took it to the edge of the goaline, and crossed in for Martin Randall to slot home, I knew that our luck was in. From then on, it was us, with the occasional T&M foray that caused a few hearts to stop. We could have won it, and had our scoring boots been put on today, perhaps we would have repeated the scoreline from 1963 (the last time we played them in a proper game). But we didn’t. The game was over. We departed to the bar, the T&M fans fucked off back to the Phipps Bridge estate to do their usual Saturday night recreational activities, like car stealing and stabbing people in pubs. And that, as they say, was that.


Plus points: We didn’t lose. Thank fuck for Martin Randall

Minus points: The defence. The midfield. The strikeforce. The first 75 minutes. Certain players looked seriously not up for it. Matt E returning and not exactly at the peak of physical fitness.

The referee’s a……: Well, he did OK considering he was reffing a local derby. Seemed to let a few attempts at ABH tackles go. The reaction of the lino to various offside decisions made our defence look quick.

Them: At least there were 100 less ASBO candidates in either Mitcham or Tooting this afternoon. Mitcham especially is one of the shittiest places known to humankind, and if Pope John Paul 2 took a visit there, he would drop all opposition to contraception. Did some anti-Plough Lane stuff, about burning it down etc, though weren’t so keen on singing it near Wombles. Funny that. One of them when they scored was apparently pushing/punching down the hAE when they scored. Needless to say, you couldn’t hear too much out of them when we scored. Oh, and a couple of ICF chants thrown in for good measure….

Oh what an atmosphere: Quite good, and buoyant. The last 15 minutes were the best I’ve experienced since Dover. I think this was an event, certainly in league terms. We’ve had bigger games, like AFC Wallingford, the CCL cup final etc, and they didn’t quite have the same buzz. Wonder if this now counts as a proper local rivalry?

Point to ponder: Just why was the T&M goalie sitting down when we were taking a corner?

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) As said above, it really has been 41 years since we last played them in a competitive (ie not Lanes Cup) fixture. Doesn’t time fly? (2) Seeing about 4 or 5 T&M fans trying to, erm, steam into the hAE in the second half, despite being told not to. They did however go down the WB end…. (3) Your humble/esteemed editor stood next to our Chairman for about 10 minutes today. What got me was that he has to wear a name tag with “Chairman” on it. Only at AFCW.

Anything else? Yeah – I would not like to see what KM is like when it’s full to capacity.

So, was it worth it? Urm.

In a nutshell: Derby days. Can’t beat them.