Saturday 24th April
The Shed, Burridge
Half-time came as a relief to Burridge. They'd spent most of the first half making Wellow look dangerous. They sat on the grass and awaited instruction from their manager Pete Lyons. Bryn Schwodler swigged from a water bottle. He'd been picked to play alongside Mark Reeves in the centre of midfield. “You might as well pull me off now,” he could be heard muttering. The second half didn't get much better. Wellow scored. Had it not been for Burridge goalkeeper Ryan Jones they would have done so much earlier.
(Pics by Roz Hutton) click on pics to enlarge, top: Ben Hutton and Kristian Hewitt line up a free kick. Bottom: Ben Hutton scores from the free kick.
Things didn't go as well for Wellow's goalkeeper. Law 12 of the game states that the opposition will be awarded an indirect free kick if a goalkeeper, inside his own penalty area, touches the ball again with his hands after he has released it from his possession and before it has touched another player.
Although technically, that law was broken, the ball had been out of the goalkeeper's grasp for no more than a second, having slightly fumbled it in mid air. Much of the referee's decision to award the free kick seemed to stem from Rich Allan's strong appeal for it. When Rich shouted he can't do that ref, the sound of the whistle quickly followed. Kristian Hewitt and Ben Hutton lined up the free kick. They spoke to each other in gestures while Wellow continued to moan at the referee. Hewitt moved the ball a few blades of grass to his right to Ben Hutton, who hammered it into the net.
The referee, perhaps knowing he'd made a mistake in giving Burridge a free kick, seemed keen to make another, in order to even things out between the two sides. Paul Dyke managed to prevent Sam Hewitt from chinning the referee by dragging him away by the scruff of the neck. Hewitt, along with everybody else wearing Burridge colours, hotly contested the referee's decision to penalise his tackle in the penalty area.
Wellow's number seven quickly appointed himself penalty taker. His white sleeves were pulled up above his elbows to reveal many hours spent in tattoo parlours. He placed the ball gently on the penalty spot. He'd not been as careful with his language during the course of the afternoon, having had much to say about Burridge, and none of it good. Now Burridge's Paul Dyke wanted the last word. Dyke said that the ball wasn't on the spot. He walked towards the ball and checked for himself. He did a thorough job. Wellow number seven's penalty kick wasn't worth the wait. It went straight. Ryan Jones slim legs stopped Wellow taking a 2-1 lead.
With his team's momentum lost, a Wellow midfielder decided that this was the right time to try a different tact. With the halfway-line being his chosen destination he tried to chop Ben Hutton, a sixteen stone man, in two. He had a good go, wrapping his studs somewhere around Hutton's knee. The referee pulled out his red card and sent him off. The Wellow midfielder ripped off his shirt and walked off the field in a tantrum. He began moaning about the referee to his manager. Hutton didn't retaliate. He said hitting a man with highlights in his hair is no better than hitting a girl.
Wellow were vulnerable. They'd cast themselves as the bad guys. Sam Schwodler burst through the middle late on in the game. He couldn't reach the ball, but managed to leave the goalkeeper in a heap on the floor. The ball fell kindly to Rich Allan. The Wellow defenders on the goal line didn't seem to distract him from scoring the winner.