Atha Strollers 0 vs Hastings Over 60s 1
Bexhill College, 28 October 2023
One Matty Longshanks; there’s only one Matty Longshanks; one Matty Longshanks….”
You get the idea. Matty made the difference in United’s Over 60s contest with the Atha with a beautiful strike midway through the second half.
Although the match was won by a single goal it was a much more one-sided affair. In short: Hastings bossed it. Every outfield squad member had at least one shot at goal – just a shame their bomb sights were incorrectly calibrated.
Russ’s effort in the first half was the pick of the bunch forcing a superb tip-over by the veteran Atha keeper Raz. The two oldest men on the pitch showing the youngsters the way.
United had eight shots off target in the opening 20 minutes and were barely forced out of the home side’s last third. Atha captain Hassan Hassan had their only meaningful shot on goal of the half with a speculative effort from distance which Ricky plucked out of the air with ease. Prior to that, The Rickster was little more than a vaguely interested spectator trying to keep warm.
There were some excellent moves from midfield, with Russ playing much higher than usual but the final ball or shot didn’t match the slick build-up. Atha started with Mark Oakley up front in an unfamiliar role, but player/manager Roger Kidney realised that was folly and soon plucked him back to shore up the defence.
All eyes of the less than capacity crowd were on John Wond. This was his first outing against his old muckers and if he scored today Hans Christian Anderson would have sold the film rights. Wondy’s big chance came deep in the second period when he struck a beauty for the top corner only to see Ricky’s solid drummer’s hands beat it away for a corner. The keeper was not going to allow Wondy to write the dream ending to the story.
Blakey was the pick of bunch going forward. He ghosted into some superb positions on the right and Peruvian Mick did a very tidy job in defence. Chairs put Matty in twice. The first time he buried it. The second time he skied it from an identical position but had already proved his worth.
Longshanks changed the game when he came on, Russ dropped deeper and allowed Matty to go wide. His open-footed finish curled into the top right-hand corner and he turned to the crowd (me and Riddler) gave us a wink and a terrible grin. There was fire in his eyes.
Raz made three other saves to keep the score down and get the Atha man of the match award. United’s top dog this morning was Matty. He just loves his football. It took something special to break the deadlock and he came up with it. The game was played in excellent spirit and there was hardly a foul anywhere and certainly no spite or grudgery. Phil Couzens reffed it fairly and United retain their 100 per cent O60s record.