Southampton Trophyman Cup
Meadowside Leisure Centre's toilets were an unnecessary extravagance to Burridge's centre half, Paul Dyke - who, choosing to ignore the sanctuary of an endless thicket of thorn hedge rows, with an unguarded matter of factness more normally associated with reaching for a handful of coins from a trouser pocket, pulled out his wang and relieved himself of a pint of orange juice onto the grass beside the pitch shortly before Burridge were due to kick off.
Five slow weeks had passed since Burridge's last game. Today they faced Nursling, who put seven goals past them on their way to winning last season's Trophyman Cup. Many of their most influential players have since left to join Queens Keep, but Burridge had their own problems. Goalkeeper Ryan Jones was ill with tonsillitis. Paul Andrews agreed to cover for him. Burridge manager Pete Lyons rewarded the favour by investing £14.99 of club funds in a new pair of goalkeeping gloves.
Paul put them to immediate use. When a Nursling silhouette moved towards him out of the low sunlight, Paul began frisking him with an open foam palm. Once satisfied that the contents of the intruder's shorts were of no obvious threat to his penalty area, he brought the search to an abrupt end, but not before confiscating the football from his feet.
During the first half Burridge visited Nursling's penalty area on fewer occasions than you'd imagine Ronaldinho honours orthodontic appointments. Despite this handicap they were still two goals up. Sam Schwodler had the presence of mind to follow in his brother's header, which reached him after bouncing back off the crossbar. Nursling's goalkeeper may still have been upset at the manner in which he'd been beaten when several minutes later, Kev Willsher, loaded a free kick high into Nursling's penalty area. In an enthusiasm born out of atonement he came rushing from his goal line to try and claim the ball from a penalty spot heaving with flailing bodies. All he achieved in doing so was to double Burridge's lead.
Kev sat next to Pete Lyons in the home dressing room after the game. He was working a towel through his wet black hair. A Biro rested between Pete's fingers. The dead end of it was pursed to his lips like an imaginary cigarette and he stared into the match card as if looking for clues. It wasn't clear who got the final touch to Kev's free kick before it crossed the goal line. Kev reminded Pete that it was goal bound, and with nobody else coming forward to claim it as their own, Pete ticked the little score box next to Kev's name in blue ink . “I just asked him and he changed it,” said Kev, perhaps now feeling the effects of the previous night spent in the pub before turning his full attention to a pint of Coca-Cola.
Nursling scored a goal of their own in the second half and spent the rest of the game chasing hard for a second. As they prepared to take a corner kick the referee said that there were 5 seconds of the game left. Nursling's goalkeeper had joined nine team mates in Burridge's penalty area. Nobody wanted to mark him, there was no dignity in it. When the ball arrived it was pounced on by a tangle of legs, arcing it above Paul Andrews' head towards his top left hand corner. Taking a step backwards he managed to pat the ball a Mar bar's width over the crossbar with his fingers. The sound directly after the referee's final whistle was of Paul shouting the word yes several times over. Later that night he stretched his tall frame out on the sofa with his girlfriend Kate. A large brandy didn't do any harm in helping him to enjoy the X-Factor.
Burridge line up
LB:Mark Emerson Sanderson
RM:Kristian Hewitt (Jay Schwodler)
LM:Sam Schwodler (Greg Baker)
CF:Rich Allan (Ben Rowe)