Thursday, 29 April 2010

Wellow v Burridge:The Movie

The reports from Burridge's 2-1 and 9-1 victories against Wellow on Saturday 24th and Wednesday 28th will be posted very soon. In the meantime, here's some action from Wednesday's game.


Monday, 26 April 2010

BTC Reserves 0-2 Burridge

Wednesday 22nd April
BTC Sports Club, Stoneham Lane, Southampton

BTC's groundsman stormed straight toward the goal mouth where a group of Burridge players were kicking a ball around. With a crooked jabbing finger he pointed them in the direction of a sign hanging in front of the dressing rooms that asked players to stay out of the goal mouths. It was an instruction that BTC would later take far too literally. Satisfied that he'd got his message across, the groundsman walked away only to notice something laying on the grass, that to everybody else looked like a banana skin, but to the groundsman represented two fingers up to his profession.

"That wasn't there ten minutes ago." He stared. "Who does it belong to?" Paul Dyke was more interested in getting an energy boost from a quick snack than wanting to start a fist fight with a man with quick access to garden tools. He scooped the yellow skin up in his hands and walked back to the away team dressing rooms. The groundsman followed, walking past a group of BTC players who'd still yet to get changed, confessing to them that he hadn't had a drink for three days. I wouldn't want to be the person responsible for leaving an empty bottle of Lucozade in the six yard box on the weekend should he have managed to stay dry that long.

Click on pics to enlarge. Top: Sam Schwodler has his studs checked by the referee. Below: Ben Hutton enjoys a quick snout.

The first half provided little by means of entertainment. Paul Dyke's voice is usually heard by all, but on this occasion it was having to compete with the nearby fast moving traffic of the M27. Burridge's main creative force during this period was Justin Newman. Unfortunately for Burridge he was only here as a spectator, and his offerings were solely concerned on finding new ways to make fun out of Lee Fielder, who having come dressed in a hat stolen from a pensioner's wardrobe, made Justin's task comparatively straightforward.

Mark Reeves had spent the first half stuck out alone on the other side of the pitch with a linesman's flag in his hand. There was twenty minutes left of play when he was brought on as substitute. Within ten seconds of his arrival Burridge had scored. His exchanging of two quick successive passes was the beginning of a move that ended in Kristian Hewitt hitting the ball under the BTC goalkeeper from the outskirts of the penalty area. BTC barely had time to argue about their lapse in concentration when Rich Allan added a second goal, which effectively ended the game for BTC.

Click on pictures to enlarge: Top: Bryn Schwodler relaxes. Below: the first half action


Saturday, 24 April 2010

Hythe Aztecs 1-2 Burridge

Monday 19th April
Clayfields Sports Centre

Burridge and Hythe are five miles apart. They are also separated by an almost two mile wide stretch of Southampton water. Getting to Clayfields Sports Centre in Hythe from Burridge, means driving north-west on the M27 until you reach Totton, then heading south-east on the A326. It's a twenty-five mile journey. Players were forced to sneak out of work in order to arrive in plenty of time for the 6pm kick-off. It didn't bode well when Burridge walked out onto the pitch for a kick-about with no sign of the opposition. It was with some relief when a man appeared to put up the corner flags. The rim of his baseball cap covered his face. The only thing visible beneath it was a bristly grey moustache. Burridge used the time waiting for Hythe Aztecs to arrive to have a spot of shooting practise. Their shots regularly cleared the twenty-foot steel fence summit behind Ryan Jones' goal. The introduction of a second ball disrupted a group of teenage girls' netball practise.

Burridge defender Paul Dyke ignored his swollen ankles, insisting he had forty minutes of play in him. Once the game was underway his booming voice quickly became the game's main feature. Backing vocals came courtesy of Burridge captain Kristian Hewitt. Justin Newman received no prior warning from his team-mates of the opposition sneaking up from behind to dispossess him of the ball. Hewitt screwed up his face and let rip. It was the sound usually reserved for Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant when he treads on an upturned plug.

Burridge took the lead when Justin Newman found Marc Judd, who dropped a left footed cross to the far post that Bryn Schwodler headed in. Hythe's manager stood on the sideline with his arms folded. A second Hythe substitute arrived from the changing room and asked his manager what happened. "Free header," he replied, shaking his head.

It's five years since Ben Hutton played as a striker for Burridge's now defunct rivals Burridge Sports. Since then he has gained a position in the heart of Burridge's defence, and four extra stone in weight. This comes in handy when clattering the opposition. Every time Hutton makes a challenge it's quickly followed by a Hythe player shouting fucking hell ref. Hythe drew level shortly before half-time. Kristian Hewitt tried to shepherd the ball back to Burridge goalkeeper Ryan Jones, whose fractional hesitation allowed Hythe to score past him. Jones got a quick blast of Led Zeppelin for his troubles.

Many of Hythe's better players wore bandages strapped around their legs. They looked knackered. Burridge, on the other hand, were full of beans. Paul Dyke could be seen regularly galloping down the left wing, leaving his defensive position far behind him, along with any understanding of the offside rule. Burridge's wining goal came inevitably from Bryn Schwodler. At one stage it took four hacks from Hythe's midfield to stop him. Ben Rowe's defence splitting pass asked questions of a Hythe defender, who at full stretch headed the ball back to his goalkeeper. Bryn Schwodler intercepted the ball before the keeper could make a catch, or the ball had time to bounce, and rolled it into an empty net.


Saturday, 17 April 2010

Burridge 2-1 Sholing Sports

Monday 12th April, The Shed, Burridge

Sholing's goalkeeper continued shouting at the referee long after the final whistle, as the sun set over the trees. In his opinion, thirty-five minutes each way was an unreasonably short game. He relied heavily on colourful language to make his point. Kristian Hewitt had scored Burridge's winner from the penalty spot. It had been conceded by Sholing's goalkeeper, whose team's arrival to Burridge had eaten fifteen minutes into the scheduled kick off time. The referee had warned both teams he wouldn't accept any abusive language. Seventy minutes of football was enough to expose a goalkeeper's short memory, as well, it seemed, as the strength of the referee's conviction.

Click on pics to enlarge: Kristian Hewitt wallops Burridge's winning goal in from the penalty spot.

The referee stood in the centre circle shaking hands with several Burridge players. Sholing's goalkeeper wasn't ready to call a truce. His words broke the referee's dignified silence. Who momentarily glanced in the direction of the goalkeeper for long enough to tell him that he wouldn't have had this problem if his team had turned up on time. The goalkeeper took his anger back to the away team's dressing room. The referee was in no rush to follow. The price for wandering if he was going to get a knuckle sandwich was his match fee of twenty-two pounds.

Bryn Schwodler weaved through Sholing's defence to make it one-nil, demonstrating great promise in a career of sticky witches. Sholing drew level from a corner kick before half time. Burridge's net yawned wide open for several shorn and unmarked Sholing heads to compete successfully in directing the ball past Ryan Jones. Responsibility to win the game rested with Kristian Hewitt. The club's third choice penalty taker had been fast tracked to the front of the queue by injuries and absentees, in a starting eleven that gave a d├ębut to Kev Judd, who wore the number seven shirt and a mop of hair. Hewitt put his faith in raw power and the Nike encasing his right foot. Five minutes later the game was over. Within ten the referee had his foot to the floor on the A3051.


Sunday, 11 April 2010

London Airways 2-2 Burridge

Date: Saturday 10th April
Venue: College playing fields, Hamble

London Airways' number fifteen lay still in a heap on the grass with both hands clasped over the back of his head. Burridge defender Ben Hutton stood over him, his arms outstretched as he protested his innocence. “That's a disgusting challenge, referee,” shouted London Airways' captain. “He's gone right through him.” Several other London Airways players formed a yellow circle around the referee. They waved their arms in the air, complaining about what they considered to be a foul. They did not get a free kick. They did not get a third goal either.

Click on pics to enlarge: (top) Seconds before Airways' goalkeeper fumbles Newman's free kick to Hutton. (Below) Airways' number fifteen prepares to get back to his feet, as Hutton looks on.

There was twenty minutes left and no further goals since Hutton had equalised during the first half. A substitute jogged on carrying a bucket of water. From it he ran a cold wet sponge up and down the back of number fifteen's head.

Burridge midfielder Justin Newman tried to diffuse the situation. “That's what happens when sixteen stone attacks the ball in the air,” he said, with a thin smile on his lips. “He's no different in training.”

“He trains?” Enquired Airways' captain, raising his eyebrows. He put particular emphasis on the word he. Then he walked away from the referee, shaking his head and muttering under his breath. For the remainder of the match Airways' number fifteen abandoned his position up front and disappeared into midfield.

London Airways were eight points clear at the top of the league. Eighteen separated them from Burridge. When the two sides met in March there were six goals . None of them were scored by Burridge.

The sun had coaxed more people than usual to watch the game. They were dressed in short sleeves. Their eyes hidden behind sunglasses. In the distance, masts of sailing boats sprouted above a line of trees that obstructed a view of the nearby marina in Hamble village. Burridge took the lead when Paul Andrews touched the ball on and Marc Judd ran toward it. He took a defender with him, but allowed the ball to roll past him into the path of Sam Schwodler, who collected Judd's dummy and side footed into the net.

London Airways drew level almost immediately, counter attacking from a defensive position on the edge of their own penalty area. Burridge cleared as far as London Airways' captain, who was thirty yards from goal. One swing of his boot hit the ball low past Burridge goalkeeper Ryan Jones before he'd had a chance to move.

Airways passed the ball quickly. Burridge tried to get it off them. More often than not they swung their boots into Airways' flesh instead of leather. This gave Airways a steady flow of free kicks, one of which they took the lead from.

Burridge responded with a free kick of their own. Hutton left his defensive position to join Newman and Judd in a huddle around the dead ball. “Leave it, Huts,” shouted Burridge manager Pete Lyons through his cupped hands. He waved Hutton into Airways' penalty box. Justin Newman struck the free kick. It travelled towards the goalkeeper's chest. He was unable to keep it there. The ball squirmed out of his grip toward Hutton who bundled the ball past him and over the goal line.

Burridge play Sholing Sports at home on Monday 12th April.

Burridge played in a 3-4-3 formation:

GK:Ryan Jones
DF:Kristian Hewitt (c)
DF:Ben Hutton
DF:Kev Willsher
RM:Sam Hewitt (yellow card)
CM:Mark Sanderson
CM:Justin Newman
LM:Bryn Schwodler
CF:Paul Andrews
CF:Marc Judd
CF:Sam Schwodler


Saturday, 10 April 2010

Burridge 3-2 Warsash Wasps

Wednesday 7th April
Meadowside Leisure Centre, Whiteley

Paul Andrews' tackle on Warsash Wasps' goalkeeper was decisive in Burridge becoming the first team to beat their opponents in the Southampton league this season. He scored Burridge's winning goal five minutes into the second half after chasing down a back pass. Warsash's goalkeeper was slow to release the ball. By the time he caught the scent of Dolce & Gabbana it was too late, Andrews was upon him. Andrews blocked his belated clearance with a polished size 12 Adidas. The ball landed in the back of Warsash's net. Later in the Bugle Inn, Andrews marked the occasion with a packet of pickled onion flavoured Monster Munch. He offered them around while thirstily gulping back from a tall glass of Coca-Cola. It was his second goal of the season.

Pictured above: Justin Newman lines up a free kick.

Those arriving on time at Whiteley would have noticed Rich Allan on his hands and knees reinforcing the faint pitch markings with a paint brush and a small tin of white acrylic from the boot of his van. He cannot play until his suspension runs out on 18 April. The Dolphin asked him to referee their game last week. They'd pay him thirty five quid. The league said they didn't mind a suspended player refereeing a game. They were just pleased of a referee on a Sunday morning, but Rich couldn't make it. Burridge enjoyed a good start. Sam Schwodler doesn't run, he swaggers. He gave Burridge the lead with a unique interpretation of an overhead kick. It caught Warsash's goalkeeper by surprise. It had a similar effect on some of his team mates, who made their way back to the half way line shaking their heads. Marc Judd doubled the lead when he neatly collected Bryn Schwodler's pass and tucked in number two.

Warsash didn't use the three-nil scoreline as an excuse to throw in the towel. They continued to play good passing football. Their midfield became regulars in Burridge's penalty area. It took a toll on Burridge's legs. Justin Newman readdressed the balance. He left an indelible mark on the game, it was an imprint of his studs on a Warsash's player's chest. He'd already been booked for dissent. When he left the field after an hour it was only as a substitute. Warsash made a game of it with a goal of their own. Then they were awarded a penalty. It was taken by their number eleven in a way that was completely at odds with his performance in the game. His shot ended up in a thicket of bushes behind the goal. Warsash nicked a second goal and spent the remaining ten minutes pushing hard for a third. It never came. In the end Warsash's defeat hinged on their missed penalty.

Burridge lined up in 3-5-2:

GK:Ryan Jones
DF:Paul Dyke (James Cook)
DF:Kev Willsher
DF:Sam Hewitt
RM:Sam Schwodler
CM:Justin Newman (Mark Sanderson)
CM:Krsitian Hewitt
CM:Marc Judd
LM:Bryn Schwodler
CF:Paul Andrews
CF:Lee Fielder


Monday, 5 April 2010

From Southampton league to the Football League

I am walking alongside the St James' Road terrace toward the reception at Exeter City on a blustery Thursday afternoon. The red gates are wide open, exposing the full length of lush green turf to a knot of four students, who are stood on the pavement and muttering to themselves behind cupped hands. Without warning, one bolts into the open space of pitch. The flimsy grip beneath his plimsolls are no match for the groundsman's mower, who resists the urge to use his pronged fork as a makeshift bayonet, and instead, gets rid of the student with a few carefully chosen words that are lost to my ears over the sound of the mower's engine.

I am here to meet the club's marketing manager Rob Paddon. Afterwards, he takes me on a tour around the ground. Angry looking clouds congregate above us as we walk along the touchline. I make a joke about tomorrow's game with Colchester United being postponed due to heavy rain, which causes Rob to shake his head and wince. Postponed games can result in a significant loss in revenue to a club that counts on every penny to remain solvent. This is professional football, but not as we know it.

The first thing to notice in Exeter City's away dressing room is the smell of florescent yellow disinfectant pucks from the urinal bowls. That, and a lack of space for a football team to get changed in without getting to grips with exactly what the person next to them ate for lunch. Here in the bowels of the grandstand it is clear that the changing facilities are no different from the kind that Burridge players like to complain about before their games in and around the Southampton area. Exeter City don't have the likes of Hythe & Dibden reserves to worry about. They share Football League One with Norwich City, Southampton and Leeds United, who they beat 2-0 in front of 8,549 people in January.

Stood in the cove doorway that leads to the showers I can imagine Leeds' players after that loss with their stares fixed on the cold stone floor, as their manager Simon Grayson slams the red wooden door behind him, subjecting the room to ten seconds of silence before he goes ape. Once it's over, Australian international Paddy Kisnorbo would win the race to get out of his soiled yellow kit and dredge the last remaining splodges of his shower gel under one of five showers, before the four and a half hour coach journey back to Yorkshire.

What remains beyond my imagination, even when I'm stood close enough to see a stubborn layer of limescale clinging to the base of one of the shower fittings, is any of Leeds United's players using a wet sock to whip their naked bodies with. But, that's exactly what Burridge forwards Ben Rowe and Lee Fielder did after the recent 2-2 draw with Hiltingbury, in a very similarly sized, more modern changing room. Once you step away from the Premier League there are more similarities between the amateur and professional game than many might realise.

Despite that, Burridge's game with Redbridge was postponed on Saturday. Exeter City had a fine 2-0 win over Colchester United on Good Friday.


Looking back (bringing back the blog)

I haven't posted here since 2012 – that’s five years of not blogging. The blog is/was about Burridge AFC, the football team I played f...