Thursday, 3 November 2011

Drawing lots

Paul Dyke curses the lottery of decision making as Burridge draw their third game of the season, succumbing to a late goal in a 4-4 draw against ten-man Hythe Aztecs.

I probably deserved to be kicked; after all, I had hit him first – in the face, too. It was purely accidental. We were losing 3-2 after an hour, which I had spent demonstrating exactly why I am thinking about calling an end to my playing days at the end of the season. Only noticeable when I gave the ball away to the opposition - which happened on numerous occasions - I saw an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the game. One that didn't involve being substituted. It came in a tangle of bodies on the halfway-line. Chris Pye and their number three had fallen over the ball. The two of them scurried after the ball on all fours. The scene was ripe for a firm tackle to show my commitment to the cause. I got the ball, but must have followed through with either my boot or knee. Number three got to his feet and kicked me in the legs. He had a good head of thinned out chin length hair and fury in his eyes; “You just fucking kicked me in the head.” He wasn't ready for my explanation. The referee sent him off.

My actions were not premeditated, but number three's absence gave us more than simply a numerical advantage. He had been dropping into the middle from the right all game. It had caused us problems. Without him we'd have extra space to exploit. Ali Ingram equalised with his second of the game, smashing in Lee Fielder's cross. Ben Rowe then gave us the lead, expertly weaving past the goalkeeper. But Hythe weren't done. At times it felt like they, not us, had the numerical advantage. There was perhaps a sense of karma that it was me who conceded the free kick in which they scored. It was another another late and fairly cynical tackle, around twenty-five yards from goal. There was some delay in taking it. Once the referee was satisfied our wall had retreated the sufficient distance, Hythe scored. 

Only Paul Dyke was left in the changing rooms when the referee walked in after the game. His hair was still wet from the shower. He toweled it dry, dabbing his temples, then looked down at the match card. “You're only giving me 51?” He sounded surprised, perhaps even a little upset. Dyke, who was sat down, explained the reasons behind his score. He felt Hythe should have had a man sent-off for denying us a clear goalscoring opportunity. “You're questioning one decision in the entire game?” asked the referee. “I gave you a penalty, which you scored.” The two continued to disagree with one another. The conversation was amiable enough, but both left the gravel car-park at Burridge dissatisfied.

Burridge scorers:

Kristian Hewitt (p)
Ali Ingram 2
Ben Rowe


Lee Fielder - hand bags.
Kev Willsher - dissent. Tut-tut.
Marc Judd - possesion of a firearm. No, just joking - foul with a good slug of dissent thrown in.

Burridge lined up in a 4-4-2 formation: GK: Ryan Jones, RB: Sam Hewitt, CB: Ryan Hurst (c), CB: Kev Willsher, LB: Kristian Hewitt (Dan Allen), CM: Marc Judd, CM: Mark Sanderson, RM: Daniel Esfandiari (Sam Schwodler), CF: Lee Fielder (Ben Rowe), CF: Ali Ingram

Are you unable to distinguish between a miscarriage of justice and the referee's decision to give a throw-in to the opposition on the half-way line? Then help is at hand. I've written for the current issue of Late Tackle Magazine, assessing the task facing the FA's Respect programme in conquering our inner beast. It is available to buy in WH Smith.  

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