Saturday 11th October 2008
Michelmarsh & Timsbury 1-6 Burridge AFC
On Saturday 29th October 2005 Mark Reeves came off the bench to make his Burridge debut. He joined the club along with Steve Froud as a midfielder, in a desperate bid to boost the team’s depleted squad. His workmanlike ethic in the centre of midfield wasn‘t doubted, but his abilities in the attacking third of the field were quickly held into question. Burridge held on in the drizzle to record a 2-1 win against Capital that afternoon, but during all the excitement nobody noticed that Mark Reeves’ reputation as a goal scoring threat had disappeared.
It was later confirmed that the then twenty-nine year old Mark Reeves’ perceived goal scoring threat had been kidnapped by popular opinion. This strong group was made up of Burridge players, management, supporters, as well as opposition goalkeepers, who all refused to change their fundamental belief that Mark Reeves posed no threat to the opponent‘s goal. Reeves’ reputation as a goal scoring threat remained in captivity for 1060 days, all the while largely ignored, until the emotional release on Saturday 11th October 2008 at Michelmarsh, near Romsey.
The conditions that Mark Reeves’ goal scoring reputation were subjected to during captivity were grim, often held in solitary confinement within a tight pigeon hole, with barley enough room for a solid tackle within thirty yards of goal. There were times during those three years that Reeves was left on the substitutes bench, knowing that if he was unable to break into the starting eleven, release from the popular opinion that he couldn’t score a goal would remain almost impossible. At times, Reeves’ reputation as a goal scoring threat was faced with humiliation. Team mates would snigger when he stepped up to shoot, once more endangering car windscreens, neighbouring gardens and corner flags.
Public opinion very nearly agreed to release Reeves’ reputation as a goal scoring threat earlier this year. Firstly at Green Park, Millbrook, versus Inmar on January 26th; then two weeks later against Hythe Aztecs at Claypits Lane, but each time the escape was blocked at the last minute by the goal frame. By the time pre-season arrived, Burridge’s squad had swelled to nineteen players and Reeves was left to come to terms with the fact that his reputation as a goal scoring threat would see out their days in a tight pigeon hole, with nothing for company but a fifty-fifty tackle - forever held hostage by the ever growing public opinion that he posed no threat to the opponents goal, whatsoever.
Reeves looked surprisingly calm when receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area from Burridge envoy Rich Allan during the second half. No doubt believing that this latest chance to gain his reputation as a goal scoring threat was nothing more than a mirage. Even Reeves' most ardent supporters were never sure they'd live to see the day when he scored a goal, so when the ball hit the back of the net the sidelines screamed out in delight. It had been a long wait to see this. Reeves looked mostly relieved at the sight of putting the ball in the opposition's net, saying he’d never fully given up hope of walking back to halfway line after seeing one of his shots actually crossing the goal line.
Stanfield, L.Sanderson, Willsher, J.Schwodler, K.Hewitt (c ) (M.Sanderson), Reeves, Newman, Judd (Hutton), S.Schwodler, B.Schwodler, Allan (S.Hewitt)
Unused subs: Baker, Fielder
Scorers: K.Hewitt, R.Allan, M.Reeves, M.Judd, M.Sanderson, S.Schwodler
Booked: R.Allan, B.Schwodler