There are two positions on a football field that attract most attention. While the midfield playmakers are spraying the ball about with gay abandon week in and week out, their brilliant work is only as good as the centre forward and he’s only as good as the keeper lets him be. A touch of magic from the striker wins matches and athleticism from the goalie will save a game, or lose it if he cocks it up.
So imagine a man who can do both; a bloke who looks as though he has been dragged through a hedge backwards but is equally at home stopping goals as scoring them. That man is our own Ricky DLTN. Not only is he an outstanding and reliable keeper – probably the best in the league – he loves playing up front and relishes every chance he gets. Rick isn’t a goal hanger; he’s a traditional number 9 and has a good shot with either foot, and today at Les Academias Decrepidas he turned on the style in both roles, making crucial saves at one end and scoring five, including a hat trick in one 15-minute game.
Twenty-four lads turned out for fun in the sun this afternoon and we saw two pitches in simultaneous use, fair play all round and some scintillating walking football.
The first round saw the Gums beat the Lemons 2-nil with two great strikes from Magic Wond. El Jay was all over the pitch trying to rally his troops. The Cat made three great saves to keep a clean sheet for the Wine Gums and the result was never in doubt. Ken the Bass was up for it and had two chances to score. His time would eventually come.
On the other pitch the Pinks and Blues fought out a tentative nil-all draw.
Round Two saw the Blues come to life with a one-nil victory over the Gums. Trigger was the scorer with a super finish that the Cat really ought to have saved but the big guy redeemed himself moments later with a fabulous stop at his near post from Trig, which saw him move the goals a foot backwards with his head. Concussion check over, the game continued and Rick made two excellent stops from Blakey and Wondy at the Rye Road end. These two really had every game by the scruff of the neck, linking so well together.
When Puffing Paul went over on the ball he came down hard on his back and could only continue after a slight adjournment to the sidelines. He’s made of stern stuff, this bloke.
On the other pitch, the Pinks ground out a one-nil win over the Lemons with a goal from Skid.
In round three there could not have been two more different games.
On pitch one, the Pinks and Gums played an interesting nil-all draw thanks to heroics from The Nutkin who made two outstanding saves and superb work from Chairs and the Coach in midfield which dominated the 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, on pitch 2 there was an eight-goal thriller with the Blues beating the Yellows 5-3. Ricky, now playing up front for his Blues, got three well-taken goals with one apiece from Massive Mark and Trigger. At the other end El Jay scored two – including a penalty – and Wingnut, who was having a great afternoon between the sticks, scored as well.
Round 4 saw a proper goal fest.
The Pinks and Blues drew five-each in the afternoon’s most frantic match. Matty Longshanks opened the scoring only for MM to equalise moments later. Ricky put the Blues 2-1 up but the Coach pulled them back again and got his second to put the Pinks ahead. Ricky equalized and Matty scored twice to secure his splendid hat trick and put the Blues 5-3 ahead but Eastbourne Chris scored twice to level the tie.
In the other match, the Lemons came good with a 3-1 thumping of the Gums. There was a desperately unlucky own goal from Paul Schembri who got in the way of an El Jay freekick to put it beyond the Cat. Then they went two up with a super goal from Ken the Bass who finished off the best move of the afternoon by scoring with a low shot. Bexhill Chris pulled one back for the Gums with a well taken goal but Wingnut made four super saves to keep his team in it. Chris had a brilliant afternoon. He plays his game hard but was faultless today and he enjoyed his outing, playing well in defence and attack. El Jay’s thundering finish for the third goal would have taken the Cat’s arm off at the shoulder if he had got anywhere near it and it was a fitting end to the afternoon’s entertainment.
Man of the Match: Ricky for an incredible performance.