Two of our keepers need to be applauded today for turning out in five training matches without a break.
Ricky DLTN and The Nutkin played for 80 minutes for all three teams in a Saturday round robin at Les Academias Decrepido. There were double saves, great saves and a howler or two for good measure but the session belonged to Welsh International defender Touchline Mike. Often our international or triallist players get a lot of humourous stick but this afternoon Mike turned in a post-injury performance which showed why he’s the proud wearer of the National red jersey. He was absolutely everywhere in defence and attack in his series of games, using his backside, thighs and feet to block shots at one end and then managing to fast-walk to the far box where he was rifling in shots with his trusty left foot.
Game One saw a tight one-nil victory for the Lemons over Pinks. Rick was in action with a super double save, first from Matty Longshanks and then Posh Andy. At the other end Nutkin made two good stops to keep his yellows in the hunt. Both times he defied Deadeye Chris but was unlucky with Chris’ third trademark tight turn and shot which went through his legs. Chris had a last second chance to double his tally but he put the ball over the fence, treeline and onto the road. That’s his third lost ball in as many sessions and at seven quid a ball he’s thinking about setting up a direct debit to the club.
Match 2 saw the Oranges beat the Pinkos one- nothing thanks to a Speedy Steve goal. He drilled one past Ricky with breathtaking precision after latching on to a Chairs’ free kick. We don’t often make the most of set pieces in the final third which made the move and goal even sweeter.
Touchline impressed in Game 3. First having a snapshot at one end then stalking back the length of the pitch to block a Magic Wond goal-bound effort and being first to the ball from the resulting corner to foil a second shot. Chairs danced through the midfield to put Chris in for his second of the afternoon and he scored a brace with a Wondy assist. 2-0 Lemons over Oranges.
Pinks v Yellows in match four was another one-nil win this time for Pinks on Yellow. Granite Bob skipped carefree through the box to incur a penalty and Iron Russ made no mistake with the spot kick. Ricky got a big hand to it but it went in off the bar. Posh had three chances in this game – all of them skied over the fence from the Number 9 position. A fourth effort was well saved by Rick and there was great linking from Wondy and Deadeye up front too.
The last game of the session ended 1-1 between Oranges and Pink. Deadeye did the Nutkin at his near post although he was unsighted by the formidable bulk of Puffing Paul to open with a lovely ball from Speedy Steve. Jezza atoned for his error with a super one-handed stop from SS which almost took his right hand off at the wrist. Rick saved from Matty at the other end. He was linking well with his DFL mate Andy and deserved a goal for his efforts. Nutkin kept out another stinger from Deadeye and Matty and Posh both fired wildly over, their coolness in front of goal evaporating like candidates in a leadership campaign.
Finally Posh got his goal. It was his sixth attempt and he clattered it into the far corner before embarking on an uncharacteristically ebullient celebration borne out of relief more than joy. It ended one-all.
The one down side was Chairs limping off with a pulled calf muscle. We wish him – the beating Scouse heart of our club – a speedy recovery.
Man of the match: All too often it’s the glory goals corers or gutsy keepers who win it. Today – for sheer all round excellence – it goes to the Welsh wizard Touchline Mike