Tonight saw the first run out of the Under 60s squad in readiness for the Walking FA cup tie in July against Herne Bay.
It’s a great measure of the Hastings United club that we are making ready for our first proper tournament. And Gorgeous Georges was more than happy for all the ‘youngsters’ to play together at the Active Hastings Monday session. So it was Big H in goal with Marco van Gasman and Paul Reardon in defence behind a midfield of Matty and El Jay with Oh My Cod! upfront as the holding number 9.
The only young ‘un not in the Lemons tonight was Magic Wond but he will play with them next time. ( He reminded them what it was all about with one of the best goals of the night, stepping inside The Motormouth to rifle the ball low past The Cat in the Blues’ goal.)
The Lemons started poorly – losing their first match to a Mad Margaret toe-poke – before Big H had got into his stride between the sticks.
Hassan did H with the second toe-poke of the night for the Blueberries and claimed he placed it. Trust me, he didn’t. A good goal from Chairman Phil saw them 2-1 victors against the Skins.
Match 3 saw The Cat come into his own with four good saves and a penalty stop from Mr Chuckles low to his left to leave the score at nil-all. That was justice for a shoulder barge which pushed Marco into the area to be penalized.
By game four Big H had his gloves on and he kept a clean sheet against the Wine Gums with two fabulous saves to his left. Oh My Cod! took his first goal with aplomb, turning on a sixpence to fire past Jeremy and then Matty struck with a beauty to make it two.
By now the Lemon young guns were firing on all cylinders and El Jay scored with a pearler that beat The Cat right in the bottom corner from distance after a defensive cock-up and a totally unnecessary dummy. Rusty took his goal well to level Game 5.
Matty struck again after another defensive calamity by the Blueberrys’ defence to win game 6 by the solitary goal and Magic Wond’s strike against the Blues gave the Gums their victory in match 7.
Match 8 saw the Skins back in action – after a four-month layoff – with the biggest margin of the night. Medhi( 67) netted twice and got an assist for Bobby Dazzler in their 3-1 demolition of the Gums so the Assassin went home smiling for a change. The Medhi roar was heard the length of Alexandra Park. Big H made the save of the night in this one, leaping to his left to flip the ball over the bar.
The Cat was having one of his best nights for weeks and kept another clean sheet for the Blues in Match 9 against the Skins. He made three great saves to keep his side in it, and you could hear him purring from the main road. He wasn’t beaten in game 10 either, pulling off another three great saves – the best a right-handed stop from a Matty blast – to keep it a nil-all draw against the Lemons.
And Oh My Cod! struck in the final match of the night to make it one-nil to the young bloods against the Wine Gums.
Eleven scintillating matches on a very warm evening which had everyone sweating; 15 great goals – aside from a Matty scuff, a lucky long-range effort from one of the rebels and two jammy toe-pokes; lovely linking play between Scouse Phil and Everton Joe, a masterful display by El Jay in preparation for his England recall this weekend with no hint of his recurring calf injury and the best-ever showing by our favourite chippie with Ali scoring twice and passing more than ever before. He really did a great job for the Lemons who were only beaten once all evening. Great portends for our Herne Bay cup clash.
There was a little bit of bickering and dissent from the usual suspects, but since neither are in the club and this is a council-run session, then we just have to suck it up as we go on to glory.
We all wish El Jay the best for his recall.
It was so good to see The Cat back to good form but the man of the match in the Cage of Dreams tonight was everybody’s favourite chip shop owner Ali ( Oh My Cod!) He showed a real appetite for the ball and chased back all evening.
MoM: Oh My Cod!