Saturday 22nd March
After signing for Burridge last season Sam Hewitt would have been forgiven for wondering what the Hell he’d gotten himself involved in. His debut was against AFC Solent on Titchfield Rec’s sloped pitch, and after twenty or so minutes things turned ugly. There in the midfield Justin Newman was involved in an innocuous tangle of legs, drawing most of the twenty-two men on the field of play running into a space no bigger than a telephone booth. There they pushed, shoved and threatened each other, while Justin Newman was still pinned to the ground by his opposing number under a sea of knees on the sparsely sprouting grass. Every angry word spat from each twisted face rose high into the atmosphere, as potent as the carbon monoxide spewed from the exhausts of the steady flow of traffic of the A27, that runs parallel to the pitch. But that was a year ago.
There’ve been a few spats since, of course. The day Sam got sent off against Michelmarsh was one. Telling the referee exactly where to get off for sending off his brother Kristian, only seconds earlier. Out it came, that red card, held high once then twice in quick succession. Standing bold against a grey sky like two crimson bullets into the heart of Burridge’s hopes of promotion to the Southampton Premier League. Things don’t always go how you want them to, but they did today.
With Pete Lyons in France, Jay Schwodler - still sidelined with a broken wrist - stood in as caretaker manager. When AFC Hop took a quick lead in the hail and wind of Whiteley, Sam Hewitt wouldn’t have been surprised. It’s been a year. He knows now what he let himself in for. In the penalty area he ran, refusing to be knocked off balance by tetchy defenders, hitting the ball low. Low and fast. The sweet ping of leather hitting steel could be heard as the ball ricocheted in the back of the net.
Then another. The wind and the hail and the narrow pitch weren’t making things easy, but Burridge kept trying to play football. A defensive lapse and Hewitt was clean through, defenders chasing at his ankles made no difference as he side footed in number two. Sam Schwodler made it three late in the second half, before Sam Hewitt was rewarded for his two goals by being pulled off by Jay Schwodler with fifteen minutes to go. This is, if nothing else, proof that Schwodler’s wrist truly is on the mend.
4-4-2: Stanfield, Jones, Dyke, K.Hewitt(c), M.Sanderson, B.Schwodler, J.Hewitt, J.Newman (L.Sanderson), G.Baker, S.Schwodler, S.Hewitt (Kelly)