A quick conversation with the evening’s referee, Colin Burman, confirmed that PZR were expected to be (and I quote) “bloody good”. Just what a wobbly Perceys team needed then. Missing Eaton in goal again, Holding was drafted in to replace him, and Danny Murray returned to give PMFC a healthy compliment of 8. Steve Badcott and Andy Cocks had apparently kissed and made up over the weekend, possibly at local italian restaurant where they could compare the size and colour of their handbags.

So, the game, then. Well, the first 10 minutes were pretty even, actually, with the Percey’s actually defending quite well. (ooh, two ‘actually’s. Shocking) This illusion of competency was shattered when Ballo seemed to forget that he can’t dribble the ball until he has it under control, and his Heskey-esque touch saw the ball fall nicely to a yellow-shirted (again, yellow! What’s so great about yellow? Maybe they don’t want anybody to park on them) player, who promptly headed goalwards and scored what was quite an easy goal. 3 minutes after that, Ballo got back to try to defend it, but by this time, the restart had already taken place.

Strangely enough, I can’t remember exactly what happened after that but I’m fairly sure we conceded three more goals. Not certain who to blame, so I’ll take a wild guess and blame Ballo (who, in fairness, played like a complete leper in the first half. He kept falling to pieces, ah-hah) for one of them. In between, though, Scales and Murray were doing well, flummoxing PZR defenders quite a lot, before apparently getting a bit dizzy and forgetting where they were. Then, though, Scales was able to run onto a beautiful outside-of-the-right-foot ball from Down and finish with aplomb.

Now that their customary clump of conceded goals had been, er, conceded, Perceys actually started to play it around quite well. Sadly, though, I’ve completely forgotten what the score was at half-time. It was either a: 1-4 b: 2-4 c: 1-5. Whatever it was, things weren’t looking good.

The second half, though, was much better. Percey’s continued their pre-break passing game, and Scales had a few attempts that were sadly denied. The breaks just didn’t seem to go our way tonight. Assuming that PZR already had 5 by this stage, they scored 2 more, one from a corner at which Ballo was uncharacteristically alert, but got nutmegged.

It was at this stage that the Percey’s started to play a bit. It is a strange thing about this team that we’re at our best when we’re some way behind. Lots of talk from everybody tonight, which is good, including a rollicking from Dan Murray, which is a bit like getting attacked by a fluffy duck. In fact, it was Murray who earned the penalty which resulted in Percey’s 3rd. Doing a bit of riverdance over the ball, as is his wont, Murray was scythed down spectacularly, and he went so high up in the air that we could’ve given him a cape and pretended he was Superman. As it was, though, he got given another remarkable wound on his legs instead, which now are so bruised and injured that you could use them to do a dot-to-dot drawing of a 1974 Ford Anglia. Possibly. Arbiter Burman had no qualms about awarding a penalty, and pointed to the spot. The usual penalty-taker, Andy Cocks, was off the pitch (probably trying on the famous Cocksy charm on the seemingly innocent Clare, one of James Down’s flock.) so Mr Versatile himself, Down, stepped up to convert with no difficulty at all.

Percey’s had the bit between the teeth, now, and Down was able to score his second in about 2 minutes when he struck a sweet shot from way out that went in via the upright. Some of the PZR players seemed to get nervous, because suddenly it was the men in white who playing best. A lovely sweeping move then resulted in the ball being passed the width of the pitch, and who was there but Steve Badcott, on hand to power home a nice shot which left the keeper no chance.

Sadly, though, that was the end of the scoring for the evening.

If we can just sort out the defensive frailties that seem to pursue us, like great big pursue-y things, we’d have a real chance of winning a few games. Most encouraging, though.

And not a handbag in sight, neither.

Team; Holding; Ballard; Badcott; Down; Cole; Cocks; Scales; Started as sub: Murray.