Date: Saturday 19th September
Venue: Botley Road, Burridge
Previous result: 0-0
When what happened: Mike Reid missed an open goal.
Click pic to enlarge: Justin Newman's concentration isn't broken by a referee growing out of the Hythe player's back
If you're the type of person who doesn't enjoy violence and confrontation, don't worry. You can always try the next best thing, and that's shouting. Loud communication isn't simply welcomed on the football pitch, it's recognised universally as a kind of skill. If in possession of the ball without anyone in your pursuit, you can benefit from your colleagues telling you that there's no great rush by shouting, 'TIME.' If indeed whilst casually jogging down the wing one of the opposition is bearing down on you like a chariot, it is helpful for you team mates to warn you by shouting, 'MAN ON.' And so it goes.
Within some players lies a mortal fear of the silence that occasionally falls onto a football pitch when say, the ball is being negotiated from from a nasty patch of stinging nettles. So all encompassing is this fear that those who suffer from it refuse to allow the fact that they have nothing of significance to say from broadcasting it loudly to the world. Nuggets of wisdom like, 'C'mon lads, it's quiet' are shared freely. This level of insight is usually reserved for those who point at the sky and shout, 'AEROPLANE.' Although taken to it's logical conclusion, if everybody shouted their troubling observations, you'd end up with, “THIS PLAYING SURFACE DOESN'T SUIT OUR PASSING GAME,' or 'MY WELL PAID JOB AND SEMI DETACHED HOUSE CANNOT DISGUISE THE FACT THAT MY MARRIAGE IS A SHAM.'
Hythe Aztecs' yellow shirts and blue shorts is a replica of what Brazil have made so synonymous with winning in style. It seems no coincidence that comparisons between the two sides are absent. Hythe are no mugs though, having drawn 4-4 with the Echo's tip for the league, Warsash Wasps, the previous week. If I didn't know better I'd think that Burridge captain Kristian Hewitt was having trouble at home. His high pitched whine can be heard every time Burridge make a mistake. If he continues on like this all season I'm worried he'll get a stomach ulcer. His mood isn't helped when Hythe take the lead. Finding themselves clean through on goal they can do nothing but score. Today's referee, who looks vaguely like Lyle Lovett, awards Burridge a penalty when Bryn Schwodler is pushed from behind. One of Hythe's entourage, who's bravely leading the comeback for stonewashed jeans, misinterprets this decision as an open invitation to call the referee a cheating wanker. The referee gives him a stiff talking to, maintaining the kind of volume that's suitable when communicating between floors despite being stood two inches from his nose. With Greg Baker (who's scored 17 out of 17 penalties) in New York, Justin Newman makes a farce of the idea that taking penalties is difficult and belts in the equaliser. Hythe then take a fairly terrible corner kick that's met by a tame header that's still good enough to put them 2-1 up.
Pete Lyons gees up Burridge, who in the heat have chosen to spend the half time interval laid flat on the grass. After twenty minutes of the second half it's unclear just how Burridge are going to come back into the game, but there's something truly exhilarating when a football shudders against the crossbar. When Ben Rowe causes the ball to chime against the metal frame it stirs Burridge into life. Bryn Schwodler had been gliding across the field like Rudolph Nureyev in black leather Puma slippers all afternoon and he scores two late goals that rely heavily on his newly discovered confidence. Burridge had worked hard to win, but the toughest job was still in hand. As Burridge peeled their sodden kit from their tired bodies, one had to sympathise with Sam Hewitt's washing machine, whose job of successfully masticating soiled towers of nylon goes unnoticed every week.
Click pic to enlarge: Newly introduced substitute Jay Schwodler takes defensive position as Burridge's furthest forward player whilst indicating how far wide his earlier shot at goal went, but is still unable to nick this goal off his brother.