Wednesday 8th May 2013 ko 19.45
Oxon Intermediate Cup Final
NORTH LEIGH RESERVES 1 (Sheppard 69)
BERINSFIELD 2 (C Murphy 29 D Murphy 80)
Att 70 at Meadow View Park, Thame (Thame United FC)
I normally avoid anything “Organised” by the Oxfordshire Football Association, the presentation is usually lousy, but it would be remiss of me not to watch Berinsfield FC at least once this season!
In truth it was an interesting fixture with once of the strongest sides in the North Berkshire League taking on a side, nominally at least, a notch higher in the footballing pyramid, two thirds of the way down the Hellenic League Division One West.
The OFA didn’t let me down, they charged £1 more than the advertised entry cost, and the programme was laughably bad even for 50p. They somehow contrived to lose the Berinsfield pen pics, and like in the Senior Cup Final issue eschewed the idea of putting a history of the competition in. I would have thought that would be the FIRST thing to include, but what would I know?
As ever the NBFL committee was notable by their presence with media officer Phil Annets regaling us with tales of comedian Duncan Norvelle. Meanwhile Berinsfield secretary Jackie Cullen was typically nervous, although for this game she at least decided not to commence her usual long-distance power-walking stint around the pitch! Later on she did pick me up on one of my little quirks, and I do feel it may have helped Berinsfield along the way.
This game had been postponed due to a fixture backlog, and it was obvious that the Thame United pitch was not ideal for the passing game. There was also a contrast in ages too, Berinsfield were far the more experienced, only Josh Dutton-Black for North Leigh having any significant first team experience. And early on it told, before Berinsfield made the pressure tell as Chris Murphy’s lob opened the scoring from Mason Curtis cross.
The second half was North Leigh take a much stronger hold on the game. They equalised when Declan Sheppard managed to wriggle free to fire past Toby Coffey in the Berinsfield goal. It was at that point that Jackie spotted my quirk. As a photographer I always seem to be stood behind the wrong goal when a side scores so I was despatched forthwith!
So there I stood, in splendid isolation, behind Toby Coffey’s goal, and the ruse worked, as David Murphy intercepted a poor pass, and blasted a stunning 25 yard shot past Kane Lewis in the North Leigh goal. It was a goal to grace any of the world’s great stadia, and one I will never forget.
My new vantage point was handy for the last few minutes as North Leigh pushed forward, and with just seconds left came the second piece of sublime skill, this time linked with total commitment. The ball fell kindly to North Leigh’s Jacob Hughes, and his scuffed shot was enough to beat Toby Coffey, but as the ball trickled towards the line, about 6 inches out, there was Mark Ingram chasing back. He slid in desperately, but despite his momentum being towards the goal, he managed to get a toe underneath the ball and hook it clear. It was an amazing moment, in many ways as exceptional as David Murphy’s goal, and afterwards his manager Stephen Masterson summed it up.
“That’s what these lads have been like for the last 3 years, commitment mate….. They’d die for me and the shirt.”
The final whistle saw the celebrations that are very much Berinsfield’s forte, I took a few more photos then headed for home. I know the kind of club they are, and the groundhopping fraternity will get to know them too, come September.