Eight competitive 10-minute games between three teams of seven and only four goals scored. That is unheard of at Hastings United – the home of walking football.
But four goals at the Academias Decrepido was all we got.
The cause? Toothless striking? Brilliant goalkeeping from three front-line goalies and an inspired stint from Puffing Paul Hutton between the sticks? None of the above. Today was the day of the defender.
Leading the way was Old John Martin, back from Covid and keen to give his 73-year-old legs a work out. He is a class act and he snuffed out everything that came his way. Add to this Doc Dyer trying to exorcise the ghost of his own goal, Eastbourne Chris who propped up his team from the back, Up Start, who stood tall, kicked nobody and let his skills take centre stage and the two maestros – Coach Russ and Cookie – both playing immense games at the back. It gave a chance for the midfielders to stroke the ball around.
Legendary Rog had a super afternoon and Hughie Canoey – fresh from a crash diet – played really well. Ken the Bass has his best overall game ever, closing down players, crossing well and even producing a shot that stretched the Cat. Despite Matty Longshanks, Chairs, Trigger and the Riddler’s best efforts the defences held firm and they didn’t get much on-goal action.
Game 1 saw a nil-all draw between Pinks and Blues. In a remarkable few seconds both Hughie and Massive Mark hit the Cat’s left upright; he had earlier made a super full=length stop and Mark – uncharacteristically – fired over the best chance of the game.
Game 2 was the match of two penalties: Skid missed his – firing down the middle to hit The Cat’s legs – and Trigger slotted his first ever penalty, sending Rick the wrong way. Rick was virtually unbeatable today – making two double saves in quick succession. ( He also scored four goals in a Bexhill kickabout before training putting The Cat to the sword.)
It finished one-nil Blues over Gums.
Match 3 was a 1-1 thriller which saw the goal of the session. Chairman Phil took the ball in the centre, 10 yards out, and swivelled like a snake to fire home in one movement. His goal cancelled out Skid’s opener – embarrassingly through the Cat’s legs – after a suicide ball from West Ham newcomer Phil, who lost a trainer in one tackle and had to hop along. Giving us a nice nickname for the new lad – Hoppy.
Rick kept his side in it in a nil-all match in Game 4 with two great saves.
In Match 5 it was a well taken Russ penalty that was the only goal of the game, Gums beating Blues. He gave the keeper the eyes, as they say. Fab shots from MM and Cookie were kept out by visiting specialist keeper Big H and Rick at the other end.
And the last three matches were all scoreless draws.
Howie made a string of saves to keep his teams in it and Ricky and The Cat were on hand to do the same.
There was one player who shone out in the sunshine this afternoon for sheer effort and enthusiasm – Holy Paul. In two consecutive games he was right in the corner dispossessing big beast players and moments later at the other end of the pitch and crossing well with very good movement. HP is one of our over=70s players and he and OJM can show the youngsters a thing or three. They share the MoM award this weekend.