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Report 13th July 2022

Hastings vs Old Bexhillians July 13th 2022

It might be El Classico in these parts but the game didn’t really ignite at the Academy this evening in a 1-1 draw.

Attacking the Rye Road end, Hastings immediately began playing with expansive width which seemed to be the order of the day. They were pinging lateral passes throughout; most found their mark but there were three total misunderstandings and quite a few balls passed to Tug, Jeremy and Christina on the sideline. It might have been enterprising and good to watch but the visitors were enjoying more meaningful possession.

Beaky was on fire all evening and drilled a cross past Kevin Wingnut’s area early doors with Wondie not quite connecting from what would always have been an acute angle. The heat hasn’t got to me nor have you misread that. Wingnut was indeed the Bexhill keeper. With Howard, Brian, Raz and even Ore Mick you’d think that, as the Anglo-French rugby author Touchline would put it, the visitors have an embarras de richesse between the sticks. Why do they have to poach from us?

Wingnut, who was dressed in all black, initially addressed me in pidgin Russian, I think in an effort to suggest that he was a Russian ringer under the influence of Lev Yashin. He claimed to have been press-ganged into the squad while out for a stroll this morning near the De La Warr Pavilion. Chairman subsequently confessed to have sorted the deal, and he now flourishes a contact book that would be the envy of super agents such as Alex Ferguson’s horrible son, John.

Bexhill were also benefiting from Wingnut’s good football brain and his intelligent non-shouty instructions. On nine minutes he made the save of the night, a reflex stop at close range from Beaky. Moments later, with his back to the ball, Steve Over produced a delicious flick to feed Perry Puddefoot who forced a good stop from Ricky DLTN. And that was all we saw of Over for the night even though he played the full 40 minutes. Iron Russ stuck to him like a fourth-generation Araldite, won the battle of wills and ensured that there was hardly a peep out of him.

Midway through the first period, Hastings conceded when Kim Monroe shot while barely out of his own half. The ball had no great pace, may have taken a deflection and would have been picked out late through a flurry of legs by Rickie DLTN. But in contemporary slang, the optics were not good. 0 – 1.

Perhaps preparing us for the extraordinary temperatures in Qatar, referee Chris Turner (vigilant, very strict on any kind of contact but consistent and fair) punctuated the first half with a drinks break after which El Jay and Beaky began pinging the ball to each other from every corner of the park with both of them having decent efforts on target. In the dying seconds of the half, Blakie (hitting his usual high standards and barged a few times with his complaints meeting deaf ears from Mr Turner) latched onto an El Jay through-ball to force a dive from Wingnut.

Chairman replaced Beaky at the start of the second half which saw an Over effort that Rick gathered comfortably. It was the night of the long shot and on 30 minutes, Iron Russ curled his cultured left peg around a ball on his own half-way line. A ricochet off Chairman slowed the ball down but imparted a wicked spin that deceived the visiting … errrr … foot-in-both-camps keeper. 1 – 1.

Three minutes later DLTN made a brace of good saves (the second outstanding) as Doug Morris shot twice from just outside the ‘D’.

With the minutes running down, Blakie made a long marauding run (“down their throat” as our coach would say) before feeding a well-placed Chairman who might have been disappointed with his effort.

And again, Blakie was the provider when El Jay hit a trademark howitzer past Wingnut only to be adjudged (harshly?) as running by Mr Turner who undoubtedly had a good game but cannot expect to escape uncriticised. On several occasions I heard our players address him as ‘Sir’. Was this a ruse by Russ to gain an advantage, irony or an attempt to massage his ego?

Wondie’s strength is returning; he was always moving into space and put in a good shift before making way for Beaky with five minutes on the watch. I eavesdropped to learn that he is spending half-hour spells running and on a bike. I heard a few people say that Wondie was “blowing” which is nonsense – he always takes in enough air to float a Montgolfier balloon and is probably already in good nick.

There was an after-the-lord-mayor’s-show feel this evening in the wake of the Prem title win but as the commentator Guy Mowbray is fond of saying, nobody can play sexy football all the time. I was sorry to watch the ever affable and cheerful Blakie taking quite a few knocks but there were no injuries that I could see. It’s a good run-out for the Woodnesborough cup tie. Bexhill were extremely well organized at the back and, yet, for a short spell Wingnut’s goal resembled a coconut shy. This bodes well for the trip to Kent the weekend after next which will be incredibly tough – “no country for old men” as El Jay is fond of saying while demonstrating his knowledge of W.B. Yeats’ poetry.

It was quiet on the side lines; after a mammoth lunch in Eastbourne, Bobby was running his rule over the Portuguese ladies in the Euros at home. Christina was enthused in communicating her new interest in firearms having handled a real gun at school today. Barista coffee was dispensed by Sarah, and Tug opined authoritatively on all matters relating to goalkeeping.


Man of the MATCH: Kim Monroe of Bexhill for a goal and countless interceptions.