These days there is no guarantee of a hot shower at Clayfield Sports Centre. The lack of hot water, or any water at all last Saturday afternoon, may well have been because the game on the adjacent pitch, between Cadnam and Thornhill Health Kicks, finished a good ten minutes before us, giving both teams ample time to make good use of the communal showers before we had chance to There was a disparaging water to shower gel ratio as we stood in a row beneath the shower fittings. Mark Reeves then told me we would do well to remember that football is supposed to be fun. Given that I was stark naked and temporarily blinded by the shower gel seeping into my eyes, this might not have been the ideal time to share such wisdom.
The first-half against Hythe Aztecs was anything but fun. We were three goals down after half an hour. Each goal was followed by heated arguments amongst ourselves. Much of the loudest abuse was directed at Paul Andrews, and he wasn't even playing – an unnecessary reminder that being linesman is a thankless task. We were without one or two players: Kristian Hewitt has hung up his boots. By the sounds of it so has Ben Rowe. While centre-half, Ryan Hurst, had taken his girlfriend for a day out at Madame Tussauds. Manager, Paul Dyke, would later reflect, on what he assumed to be, the poor mobile reception in London - what other reason for the club vice-captain not texting him to see how we had got on.
We did offer something of a comeback in the second-half. Sam Schwodler tucked away a penalty, Paul Andrews followed in on a goalkeeping fumble to score with his first touch, with Martyn Barnett scoring our third; but by then it was already 4-3 to Hythe, whose number eight then scored from another free-kick to make it five. Club sponsors West-End Brewery did what they could to soften the blow with a double platter of chips and chicken nuggets. This didn't provide Sam Schwodler with a suitable distraction. It's doubtful that a Queen of the South goal has been met with such enthusiasm in the Brewery, but further results went against Sam, so once again his accumulator bet came to nothing.
Burridge line-up: 4-4-2: GK:Ryan Jones, LB:Sam Hewitt, CB:Kev Willsher, CB:Dave Williams, RB:Mark Reeves, LM:Marc Judd, CM:Mark Sanderson, CM:Martyn Barnett, RM:Dan Allen (Paul Andrews), CF:Sam Schwodler, CF:Lee Fielder