08-01-22


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In the worst weather we’ve had for months there was an incredible turn out for today’s training match. It was our debut at Hastings Academy in the New Camp Cage of Dreams and 18 brave souls gritted their teeth against the rain and howling wind and got soaked to their knickers.

The rain really was biblical for the entire 90 minutes and the only man missing was Noah. If ever there was a game of two halves then this was it with knobs on. The Pinks were all over the Blues for the first 35 minutes and got their backsides kicked for the second period in right regal style.

This is how they lined up: for the Pinks, The Cat in goal – wearing his snazzy new Christmas gloves and boots – had Ken the Bass and Matty Longshanks in defence, with a packed midfield of Magic Wond, Super Dunc, Iron Russ and Posh Andy and The Assassin and Ricky DLTN up front.

The Blues had Nutkin in goal with El Jay, Cookie Monster and Massive Mark at the back feeding the midfield of Granite Bob and Hughie Canoey with the Chairman, Holy Paul and Big Andy up front. In fact, to start with everyone was playing out of position allowing usually non-defensive players like Hughie and Matty to have great games at the back.

Matty was a towering presence for the Pinks and was simply unbeatable in the tackle and putting in some great blocks. We are not sure that he relished this non-glory role but he really did make a difference.

The Pinks were all over the Blues from the off and had had four shots on goal before the first attack by their opponents. Russ, as ever, was all over the park linking well with Wondy and making things happen up front. And when Rick put his first away – through the Nutkin’s legs – the die was cast.

It wasn’t long before Mehdi (67) opened his account and Rick got his second to put the Pinks three-nil up before the Blues clawed their way back into it. Rick’s second was a saved shot pushed out at him by the keeper and the Blues’ opener was a carbon copy.

The Cat could only parry a strong shot from Big Andy and it went straight back to him, making no mistake with the rebound. Rick’s third of the half made it 4-1 at a very soggy half time.

But you see, the big guns – MM and Cookie had been playing largely at the back and their only forward excursions were comfortably dealt with by the Cat who made one excellent reaction save from Mark to keep the Blues out.

At the turnaround MM and Cookie pushed forward. Matty and Wondy had pushed up and not even Russ’s skill at the back could keep them from swarming all over the opposition goal. First to strike was Cookie with the goal of the game, taking the ball from a throw-in 12 yards out, he twisted this way and that to beat two men before rifling his shot into the Cat’s left hand corner. When Super Dunc’s shot was deflected into his own goal by Cookie which gave the Nutkin no chance, it was 5 -2 Pinks and there was still no sign of the onslaught to come.

Ken the Bass – having his best game ever – was seeing a lot of the ball, trusted with roll-outs from his keeper and was keeping his head well when he stepped in to rob Massive Mark of his best shooting opportunity of the half. It was a monumental tackle. But you can’t keep the big fellah quiet for long. And the next two strikes came from sweetly taken one-on-ones with the keeper which gave him no chance.

The Cat was having a great game though and denied Cookie twice and the Chairman once before all strikers exacted their revenge. Cookie’s second and Mark’s third were hammered in from close range but it was the Scouser’s only goal of the game that impressed most. The Chairman took a good ball in from El Jay on the left wing, rolled it past one and deftly put it into the far corner with laser-like precision.

It was 7 – 6 to the Blues. They had clawed their way back into the game and gone ahead for the first and only time. Only the Nutkin kept his team in it, first going full stretch to his left to keep out Russ and then repeating the feat in the other corner from Matty who was unlucky not to crown his performance with a late goal.

It was Dunc who fired the late equaliser to finish a fine game at 7 apiece. For me, the lads playing out of position were the heroes today. The conditions were slippery and difficult and they could have had a hatful each.

Massive Mark was again a powerful force for good, encouraging his team mates and praising his opponents and this was the same for Duncan, Cookie and Russ. If you have time during a busy game just to have a quiet word in someone’s ear and let them know they are doing just fine then you’re alright by me. Misses of the match? For the Pinks, Mehdi could have had six and Holy Paul had two high, wide and mighty shots before getting one on target with the third.

MOM: Not the scorers this week but a striker that played way out of his comfort zone in defence and didn’t put a foot wrong – Matty Longshanks.

 

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