Wednesday, 9 September 2015

We love you, left-foot curler

Ben Sibley, one half of Forward The Hamlet, writes...

Until the last five years or so it was generally perceived that playing a left-footed attacking player on the right-hand side of the pitch put your team at a disadvantage.

A winger beats his man and whips in an out-swinging cross, surely? How could you expect a left-footed player to swing in a dangerous cross with his weaker foot? Angel Di Maria’s right foot is so poor that he favours a completely unnatural movement to deliver from his weaker side.

Hang about, does the winger need to beat his man at all? Why can’t he cut inside and significantly increase his possibilities for distribution?

If he was feeling particularly devil-may-care, he could even take a shot at goal. Arjen Robben feels this way 98% of the time, occasionally leading to spectacular scenes.

As it turns out, new Dulwich Hamlet loan signing Rhys Murrell-Williamson is just as guilty of this feeling as the chocolate-ankled Dutchman.

It was a predictably physical and tight affair as Billericay visited Champion Hill on Saturday 5th September 2015 – it was a game that needed a moment of magic. And a moment of magic it got.

Billericay number one Jack Giddens' bedroom window might overlook the greenest fields in all of Essex. He might be in a happy relationship with a partner he considers his soulmate.

There’s a possibility he drives an Aston Martin DB6 in gun-metal grey. Of a Sunday he may just tinkle the ivories of an 80 year-old Steinway. But, ol’ Giddens has never seen anything as beautiful as Rhys’ ninetieth-minute winner.

Rhys’ goal left a huge impression on us - it could be the delicious arc of the ball; it could be the gawping mouth and despairing eyes of the static goalkeeper; it could be the balletic follow-through. It could be all three. Yeah, it’s all three.

These components make up what is the most beautiful shot in all of football – the left-footed curler into the far top corner.

When executed perfectly, the ball wraps itself sensually into the side-netting. Like an otter cub curling up into its mother’s warm, fluffy stomach. As the ball enters the goal just inside the post, it traces the curve of the net into the literal back of the net before nestling at ground level and occasionally, teasingly, rolling back out across the goal-line. A final tongue stuck out at the stranded goalkeeper.

You’ve enjoyed every tantalising second of this due to the ball’s arced flight – the shot has been hit at a pace and angle which grabs your attention and allows you to dream.

A thunderbastard of Steven Reid proportions is all killer no filler, it’s a shot of absinthe. You can’t admire it as you consume it. Without big-screen replays, that shot disappears into the record books before you’ve even acknowledged it.

A left-foot curled shot is a drop of single malt. It’s cultured, it’s layered and most of all – it’s fucking delicious.

Just minutes into his Dulwich Hamlet debut and with seconds left on the clock, Rhys collected a Kevin James headed pass out on the right flank. He moved towards the penalty area before squaring up his marker, cutting inside and curling, caressing, stroking, pouring a left-foot shot into the far top corner.

Moments before he made contact with the ball, Kev fell flat on his face – paralysed with anticipation of such beauty. Himself motionless, Giddens watched, mouth gaping, eyes despairing as Rhys’ single malt hit the spot.

All four of these photos are Duncan Palmer's

Anyone can smash a shot at goal and hope for the best - Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have made careers out of it (don’t @ us).

Rhys took the tougher path, he reached for the aged, dusty bottle way above the brightly-coloured optics, he took care of that ball like it had never been taken care of before. He had full confidence that his accuracy would negate the need for power – even on his debut in the dying moments of a goalless game.

Rhys Murrell-Williamson – you devil-may-care legend.

Watch highlights of Dulwich Hamlet 1-0 Billericay town.

Follow Rhys on Twitter: @RhysMurrellW

Follow Forward The Hamlet on Twitter: @ForwardHamlet

Like Forward The Hamlet on Facebook: Forward The Hamlet

Follow Dulwich Hamlet on Twitter: @DulwichHamletFC

Follow Ben on Twitter: @vicar_of_sibley

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