The evening was cold but the welcome was warm in the Cage of Dreams tonight. Alexandra Park’s tatty astroturf under floodlights is as good a playing surface as anything municipal and the new promotional club banner set the scene for a super night’s walking football. Scores don’t prove anything – other than three points – so an 11-5 result belies how close a game it was.

The Blues – skippered by Chairman Phili, saw Popi, Mehdi, Matti, Bobbi and The Catti pitted against a strong Wine Gums outfit.
Big H, forced out of goal by rookie Jeremy, ran the show from the back with Marco Van Gasman, Speedy Steve, Puffing Paul, and handy Andy Pandy.
Oddly, the Gums were controlling the game before the youngster was brought on by referee Gorgeous George but within 20 minutes their 3 – 1 lead had evaporated like a passing jogger’s breath on the evening mist.

If it is all about goals, then the chairman’s early strike was a cracker but it was Matty who took the game by the scruff and put five past the despairing Jeremy in the Gums’ Goal. There were two calamitous own goals, and a brace from Medhi which secured the points. But here’s the thing, the newly reborn Cub Scout keeper made seven great saves to keep it from being a walkover.

At the other end The Cat was back to his imPURRious best making a string of great stops. He hasn’t played for six weeks but clearly tonight was the cat that got the cream. He was beaten by an unstoppable Big H thunderbolt and a great strike from Andy, with Speedy Steve and Puffing Paul also getting on the scoresheet.

But the star of the night was the Gums’ marking. They were all over the Blues like cheap suits for much of the game and it was only superb one-touch interplay between Scouse Phil, The Iranian Assassin(67) and hot shot Matty which opened them up like a can of tuna. The Serb played very deep and ran the game from the back but Matty was on such form that he barely missed a shot and if he got the ball, he didn’t spurn the chance and converted.

The Blues weathered the Gums’ storm and eventually ran away with the honours after The Cub tired in goal. The howler he let through his hands and legs with the last kick of the game was testament to his fatigue. Lovely skills, cleanly fought battles in a crowded midfield, and – above all – post-Covid cameraderie spelled a great return for the club.

MOM: Five-goal Matty