Hungerford 3 Merthyr 1

Hungerford Merthyr 12

Hungerford Town 3 Merthyr Town 1 (Southern League SW Play-off final, 6th May 2013)

My second visit to Hungerford drew a rather bigger crowd than the first, with over 800 fans flocking to the heart of rural Berkshire, with well over half making the journey east from Wales.

To recap the game briefly, the first half was scrappy, although if you missed the “s” off the adjective, it’d be an equally accurate description. The best chances fell to Hungerford, with them making a right hash of trying to go round a stranded goalkeeper, with the shot being almost nearer the corner flag than the goal. They also had a goal ruled out for offside, when an inch-out tap-in was chalked off.

Merthyr probably had more of the play, but did little more than win a series of throw-ins on the right, which were all so poor they might as well have just rolled the ball out for goal kick each time.

The second half started rather differently. Hungerford scored a minute into the half, but Merthyr equalised four minutes later, with a shot from outside the box screaming into the far top corner, a la Ronnie Radford. No parka pitch invasion though. For one thing, it was far too hot for an anorak, with or without the fur-lined hood.

No further goals, and the game went into extra time, with both teams looking nervous, and the teenage youth of Merthyr wandering about, looking for something to occupy their minds.

A minute before the interval and Merthyr’s keeper, their 2nd most portly player after their “stocky” right back, flapped at a cross. It was duly nodded in to put the home side back in front.

A minute after the restart it got even worse, when a ball across a crowded box was knocked in at the back past, and the men from the valleys were left needing to bridge a chasm to get back into the game. They never seriously, or even humorously for that matter, looked like doing so, and disappointed Welshman were drifting off long before the final whistle.

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