In a closely contested game against upper mid-table opposition Maldon & Little Baddow, Burnside proved why he goes on those little wanders up from right back. His first goal came a little after 10 minutes. A poor quality Insall run into the D led to the inevitable tackle. However, the clearance wide was of insufficient force, and Burnside snatched upon it with panther-like pace. After a mazy dribble along the back line, he looked up and saw Insall failing to lose his marker on the top of the D. Contemplating making the pass, he decided instead to score, neatly reverse flicking over the diving keeper from a near post angle tighter than Rob’s grip on his wallet when it comes to jug time.
The second Wapping goal had a similar build around 20 minutes in, but broke with convention, as this time rather than repeat the same move and risk a save, Burnside used his legendary pool playing prowess to calculate the exact angle he needed to play the ball to cause it to rebound off Rob’s stick and into the goal. Goal Insall, but credit really with Burnside.
Shortly before the break, Wapping finally saw their first short corner as to be frank, Jim umpired most of the game like he was sitting in Turners rather than on pitch. A mazy run by Ollie Kean, head constantly searching for the perfect pass to an Insall that was nowhere to be seen, led to a defensive foot and an opportunity for Insall to edge into the goals delivered lead. However, his selfish strike from the top of the D according to Rob took a bobble from the pitch and according to everyone else was just wide. Fortunately, Burnside, leaping forth like a salmon after a pacey run to the far post, connected with this wayward shot on the volley, turning it both goalwards and back down below the backboard.
Half time came and went with the wolves 3 nil up.
5 minutes in, tragedy struck. Burnside, just after crossing the D line, was fouled with an elbow to the face. Rumours abound that Rob bribed the defender to do it, but he had to go off, clutching his nose. Jim leapt (well, not really, he can’t really jump) at the chance to display his intimate knowledge of the rules and declared in the face of opposition protests that as an intentional foul in the D it was a P flick and he didn’t care if they didn’t like it and would eat their first born if they dared oppose him. As the captain was off pitch and unable to prevent him, Rob took the flick and in an uncharacteristic move, scored it. 4-nil the wolves.
However, for the next 20 minutes whilst Burnside received treatment, the wolves whilst being completely dominant, failed to score. Ollie Kean and Rel both came exceedingly close and were denied by some excellent work from the keeper. Rob, sensing that he might need to buy a jug for once, subbed himself off – mainly so he could laugh at Burnside and claim he was going to declare avoidance on the gallant captain.
But 4 nil was not enough. No, goal difference matters in this league. Head now bandaged, like a stalwart of lower league football, the hero of this piece returned to the pitch. Rob saw the risk and returned to the field, attempting to play for time, standing in the oppo’s corner with the ball rather than having a shot. Eventually, Burnside grew tired of this nonsense and tackled his own player, before dribbling into the D, flicking the ball up and striking on the half volley a shot of such searing intensity that the net needed more stiches than his face.
5 nil the wolves. Hat-trick Burnside. Avoidance AGAIN Insall.
MoM Tim James (as no one could quite reconcile themselves to voting for Burnside)
DoD Graham Kershaw (for going off during the game to talk to the M3 warming up on the grounds that he had nothing better to do)