Sunday 4th September
Preparation couldn't be described as ideal (after the previous evening's pursuits), but amongst the weariness Burridge put in a performance as measured and mature as any other in recent memory. Once again the heat was unforgiving for the English Sunday leaguer but perhaps it was the temperature that forced them into playing a shorter passing game.
One must say that their start didn't suggest any of the above, as Waterlooville went into the lead within minutes, and it seemed that a long and fruitless afternoon was to ensue, especially as this was the side that had defeated Burridge in two closely encounted cup finals last season. But Burridge didn't allow the contest to slip from their grasp, and reward followed as Bryn Schwodler managed to cut the ball back across the six yard box. Whilst the Waterlooville back line admired his efforts, Lee Fielder drilled in the equalizer.
The game swung to and fro in the second half, but when collecting a through ball from Greg Baker, Bryn Schwodler skipped past two challenges on the edge of the area before keeping his left foot shot low to the keepers despairing left hand glove, despite wearing a pair of Nike football boots that were clearly not even fit for the Salvation Army shoe collection bin at Sainsburys (on later examination it was clear that the sole was free of much of the main vessel of his espadrilles).
Paul Andrews left the bench for the forward line and his enthusiasm earned him a spot of luck as a ricochet provided him a clear run on goal, but his finish rolled the wrong side of the upright. At the other end Waterlooville squandered several clear goal scoring chances, either failing to find their intended destination or simply denied by Dave Hopkins, who was enjoying a solid and agile performance in goal.
Despite this it seemed that Burridge would maintain their lead, but Hopkins was punished by the rarely enforced six second rule. (Whereupon a goalkeeper has the ball in his hands, he has six seconds to release it, if he fails to do so a free kick is awarded to the opposition). Although indirect, the ball was merely brushed and as Burridge attempted to charge the ball down, it had already found Hopkins bottom right hand corner via a low drive.
Disappointment soon vanished as Burridge realized that such a result against last season's treble winners in the absence of any pre-season was a credible start to a new season that dares to offer such tantalizing promise. Can Burridge continue in similar vein?
3-5-2: Dave Hopkins, Ross Bryant, Kev Willsher, Mark Sanderson, Scott Burnet, Paul Dyke, Rich Allan, Bryn Schwodler, Jay Schwodler, Kristian Hewitt (Greg Baker), Lee Fielder (Paul Andrews)
Scorers: Lee Fielder, Bryn Schwodler
Other Meon Valley One Results:
Wickham 1-5 AFC Paxton
Spinnaker 1-4 AFC Spotted Cow
Spotted Cow 4-3 Aquaseal
Visit http://www.mvfl.co.uk/results for more details.