Eight aside on a bigger pitch tonight at the Stade Geriatrico and a great chance for practising ball skills.

Two pretty even looking teams lined up but one or two players made all the difference and the Blues eventually walked away with it. The most meaningful contribution came from Massive Mark playing deeper than usual but still with his shooting boots on.

Here’s the difference: many of our strikers – and we have some great ones – will belt the ball first time goal-wards and this actually helps any keeper brave enough to get in the way. The big fellah uses a slide rule to pick his spot every time in training and tonight he beat The Cat five times in four games and the goalie didn’t lay a glove on any of them.

Conversely, Cookie Monster – himself no slouch in front of goal – had three thunderous shots all saved by The Cat. Would he have done better with placement over power?

At the other end it was The Assassin using his calculating angle brain who scored a beautiful placed brace against our number one keeper Ricky DLTN and, hilariously, a belated firework display in St Leonards greeted Mehdi’s second of the evening. He must have thought he was back in Tehran.

Rick was in imperious form. His full stretch left-handed tip round in the first minute set out his stall and he made a string of great saves, all of which drew warm applause.

The teams lined up like this, under the watchful Scouse eye of Chairman Phil as the ref. For the Pinks, Cat in goal with Blakey and Ken the Bass in defence, a packed midfield of Magic Wond, New Andy, Legendary Rog – who was so warm he took his beanie hat off for the first time in six months – and The Assassin and Puffing Paul up front.

The Blueberries had Rick in goal, with the strong defence of Doc Dyer and Marco van Gasman playing behind Massive Mark with Cookie in midfield with Granite Bob and ZZ Nick up front alongside White Cliffs.

Game one started evenly but when Nick scored with the Blues’ first shot of the night the die was cast. If the watching crowd of El Jay and Nutkin thought this had been a defensive howler between Ken and Rog that let Nick in, the crime was repeated two minutes later when Mark pounced on a loose ball and scored his first of the night.

Rick made three good saves to deny Wondy at the other end and it finished 2 – 0 Blues for the quarter.

In game two, the Pinkos regrouped and began a good fightback. Ken had a clear shot on goal but wasn’t able to beat Ricky though Wondy did with a cracking strike. The Cat was unlucky to let a MM strike push past an outstretched paw and the quarter finished 1-1. This galvanized the Pinkos and finally they began to fire on all cylinders with Mehdi taking his two goals really well. An awful Cat rollout intercepted by the long leg of MM and slotted back past him was the mistake of the night but the veteran keeper redeemed himself with a remarkable triple save from a corner and then two incoming shots. It left the Pinks with a 1-2 win and smiles all round.

Normal service was resumed in the final quarter with the Blues taking full control. The Cat made a brilliant save from a Cookie Monster blast and did well to keep out Rick in a tense one-on-one at the death but two more goals from Mark rounded the night off successfully.

Granite Bob had a great game which led to some self-congratulatory whooping at the final whistle.

Doc and MvG were powerful in defence and when Mr Dyer donned the gloves to give Rick a run-out, he made four saves including a wonderful tip onto the bar.

The Pinks played some sweet linking football and Ian Jean Luc was all over the pitch linking well with Rog and Wondy.
MoM: for five awesome goals and his incredible generosity of spirit and encouragement it has to be Massive Mark.