Monday, 12 March 2012

Burridge 2-1 Southampton BTC Reserves

Saturday 10 March

Not only do BTC have an away kit, it also features their club crest. Their crest may only be the three letters that make up their name, but that in itself is an extra three or four pounds to the cost of a shirt. Such costs are something that most clubs in the Southampton League could do without, regardless of the fact that most don’t have a club crest anyway.

Mark Reeves congratulates Chris Pye for the second goal.
BTC normally play in blue and white stripes. However, this clashes with our blue and black kit, so today they wear a red number with yellow trim. It has more than a whiff of Melchester Rovers about it. Although any further association with Roy of the Rovers is quashed by BTC’s insistence on swearing at the referee whenever they feel a foul has been awarded against them unfairly. It is unlikely that Roy’s moral compass would have allowed that kind of behaviour on his watch, even if it did seem that BTC were later denied what seemed to be a certain penalty.

It is BTC who start the brighter. Buoyed on by several men gruff men, all following the Barry Fry method of encouragement, they take the lead from a goal I can claim partial assistance to. It seemed reasonable to play the way I was facing and lay back to Marc Judd, but my pass lacked pace and accuracy. Although the danger was momentarily cleared, BTC scored from a volley from the resulting cross. With neither of us wanting to be held accountable for the goal, Judd and I exchanged insults for a moment or two.

Chris Pye was a useful outlet on the right, as was Sam Hewitt on the left. Sam Schwodler was adamant that he had been tripped in the box, as were BTC moments later, when the referee seemed to make that silent pact that referees are inclined to, in that two mistakes that neither side benefit from are in fact better than one.

Our equaliser comes from Sam Schwodler, having been put through by Martyn Barnett. Schwodler seemed second favourite to get to the ball, but a combination of goalkeeping hesitancy and BTC’s defence insistence on shepherding the ball back to the ‘keeper, gave Sam the time to get to the ball and poke it in. What turned out to be the winning goal came when Sam Hewitt received a short corner and cut in on the bye line, outing in a cross over the goalkeeper that Chris Pye met with his head. 2-1 and still a god hour left to play, but we had done enough to win this one.

GK: Ryan Jones, RB: Mark Reeves: CB:Kev Willsher, CB:Marc Judd, LB:Dan Allen, LM:Chris Pye (Paul Andrews), CM:John Rix, CM:Mark Sanderson (Ryan Hurst), CM:Martyn Barnett, RM:Sam Hewitt, CF:Sam Schwodler

Netley Central 2-1 Burridge AFC

Saturday 3 March 2012

Netley are unbeaten at the top of the Senior Division, and just one game away from the Southampton Senior Cup Final. The final is the showpiece game in local grassroots football, mainly because it is played at the thirty-two thousand seat St.Mary’s stadium, a world away from any club’s facilities  in the competition. Netley is along the shore of Southampton water that flows into the Solent.

They play at their local recreation ground – albeit one with a floodlit pitch. Sat around the half-way line are two old men dressed almost exclusively in beige, drinking from Thermos flasks. If they have come expecting something approaching finesse that Netley’s status as defending champions may suggest then they will both leave disappointed.

If today’s performance is anything to go by, the foundations of Netley’s season were not built on dilly dallying - especially at the back. They have no qualms booting off for a throw-in in the opening exchanges, ands appear to be in a hurry to get this game over with in time for Wednesday’s semi final. Our squad has been reduced to thirteen players.

This includes manager Paul Dyke, who names himself as substitute. The most significant absence is goalkeeper, Ryan Jones, who declared himself unwell on the morning of the game. Paul Andrews steps in to replace him. He has played in goal for us several times before. He does little to reassure us by saying that he is shitting it.

As we settle into the opening minutes of the game we go and do the worst thing possible by taking the lead. Chris Pye’s centre is laid back by Martyn Barnett toward Sam Schwodler, who thumps in from eighteen yards. This rattles Netley’s cage. They strike the underside of Paul Andrews’ crossbar twice in as many minutes.

 It is a taster for things to come. Netley score twice before half-time, both goals coming via corner kicks. This is something that our centre backs, Kev Willsher and Marc Judd, are furious about. The second-half is a spirited affair with little memorable goal mouth action, other than a comical goal line clearance from Marc Judd.

Having already rounded Paul Andrews, a Netley attacker strode casually toward the six yard box to side foot past Marc Judd, whose plans to block the ball seemed hopeful at best since he’d lost his footing. Judd then managed to raise his backside to the ball, deflecting it wide of the post by the narrowest of margins. We lost, as did Netley on Wednesday night.

GK: Paul Andrews, RB: Mark Reeves: CB:Kev Willsher, CB:Marc Judd, LB:Dan Allen, LM:Chris Pye, CM:John Rix, CM:Mark Sanderson (Rob Mills), CM:Martyn Barnett, RM:Sam Hewitt, CF:Sam Schwodler

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Burridge 0-2 Hedge-End Town

Saturday 25 February 2012

On arrival at Burridge’s gravel car-park I could see manager, Paul Dyke, and club chairman, Barrie Becheley, talking with one another on the pitch. It was reminiscent of Roman Abramovich’s recent and well publicised visit to Andre Villas Boas, at Chelsea’s training ground. Not that Barrie was not here to question Paul on recent results. Nor was he here to find out why he cannot pry centre-half, Ryan Hurst and midfielder, Daniel Esfandiari away from work on Saturday afternoons. He was here for more practical reasons, to give Paul a black tool bag filled with a new set of steel pegs and Velcro ties for the goal nets.

Our trimmed squad has been well documented on this blog. The loss of players has coincided with a barren spell in terms of wins.. It has also had an effect on training. The number of players at training on Thursday evenings has dropped below the 14 needed to break even with the costs of hiring Hamble College’s artificial pitch. The idea of increasing training fees from £3 per player per session has never been considered. Instead, we rely on the £10 we generate after games at the West-End Brewery from the football scratch card.

In an attempt to unlock the squad’s subconscious I decided to text players, asking them what first springs to mind when thinking about Burridge. Not necessarily the current season, but their overall Burridge experience, which for some players goes back fifteen years. Or to be more specific a Sunday afternoon in September 1997, and a 5-4 win over Inter Northam Reserves in division four of the Meon Valley League.

Replies came in thick and fast. As I began to compare them it became apparent that they followed no discernible pattern. For some, it is memories as opposed to words , and in particularly a smash and grab mid-week 1-0 win over Hedge-End Rangers back in xxx 2007. In truth I was not fully prepared for the broad and contradictory tapestry of responses, which ranged from: Also rans, courage, average, team spirit, loyalty, waterlogged. One opted for Barrie Becheley’s iconic moustache. Others found it too complex to put into words.

The words Burridge and success may not go instantly hand in hand, but in the absence of trophies, what exactly constitutes success at this level of the game? A group of players of a variety of ages taking up the otherwise opportunity to keep fit playing a game they enjoy and socialise together.

Prior to the game there is a genuine anticipation that we would win today and avenge the 2-0 loss to Hedge-End in January. This is not born out of any sense of entitlement or complacency, but from the performance in last week’s narrow defeat to third place Thornhill Health Kicks. The opening fifteen minutes are testament to this. We harry and chase across the pitch, helping Marc Judd finds gaps behind Town’s defence with his trademark left foot cross field ball. Sam Schwodler is on the end of most of them. He goes close to scoring on several occasions, most notably when cutting in from the right and striking powerfully to see his shot tipped over the crossbar
John Rix is adamant he’s given us the lead with a close range header, but the referee penalises Kev Willsher for pushing. An accusation he strongly denies. I then pick up a yellow card. The combination of desperation and necessity force me into a sliding tackle. The referee and I have a difference of opinion. He is not convinced by the circular gesture I make with my hands. He describes it as a bad tackle. The free kick deflects onto Jones’ post.

Town score on the stroke of half-time. Our sense of injustice chooses to ignore the fact that they had already hit the post and bar. Former Burridge striker, Stuart Seaborne, wrestles free of Kev Willsher, and strokes past Ryan Jones, as he did in the previous game.

Dyke understands this is not the time to dish out a bollocking. He emphasises how even a game it is, commending us on our work rate. The game opens up in the second-half. Chris Pye looks closer to full fitness, shooting narrowly wide from distance on two occasions. He then sees a deft headed goal ruled out for offside. Town make it two-nil from a twenty yard free kick, side footed low past Jones’ left. We continue to huff and puff, but an all important goal remains elusive. Sam Schwodler remained philosophic after the final whistle. Equally unhappy with his own performance and the result, he said: “It’s depressing, but you have to forget about it and get on with the next game.” It seems like sound advice.

GK: Ryan Jones, RB: Mark Reeves, CB: Sam Hewitt, CB: Kev Willsher, LB: Dan Allen, RM: John Rix, CM:Martyn Barnett, CM: Mark Sanderson (Rob Mills), LM: Marc Judd, CF: Paul Andrews (Chris Pye), CF: Sam Schwodler
Booked: Mark Sanderson and Sam Hewitt (both foul play)

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...