Match reports 1998/99 Season


19 May Dorset Saturday Division League Cup Final

Bere Regis 1: Poole Labour 0 (Friendly)

The first Sunday game of the year saw Bere Sunday side pitted against some good quality opposition. After losing a midweek friendly 3:0 in a lacklustre fashion and with the whole team hungover from Earl Dacre’s wedding do, not much was expected from the home team. There was also the amazing sight of Rob White filling (although not quite in the same way! ) the goalkeeper’s shirt in the absence of Dean. It was comforting to see the manager’s two new signings displaying their skills for the first time. Wayne Cope was soon displaying his whole range of ball skills, whilst Sean Bartlett ( slumming it from the giddy heights of the Combination ) used his vast experience to shore up the often leaky defence. Apart from one moment of madness from Rob White, allowing the ball to bounce over his head and almost into the goal ( although he still maintains it was to trick the opposition into thinking he was an incompetent idiot ), Bere looked a solid unit in the first half. It was left to ‘Bungy’ Brown to provide the cutting edge up front, with an exquisite finish from the edge of the area with his trusty right foot.

The second half was almost constant pressure on the Bere goal as the previous night’s lager began to take its toll. Luckily, Rob White was seemingly invincible in goal , one tip over the bar still lingers in the memory but mainly because Rob flopped around in the net like a dying salmon afterwards. Bere could not add to their lead, despite a couple of breakaway efforts and the last word was left to Rob White, saving bravely from a misguided throw-in from his normally trusty left back. An encouraging start to the season !

Devomet 4 : Bere Regis 4

The first league game of the season saw Bere travel to the wilds of West Moors and a pitch the size of a postage stamp. Add to that the constant noise from the local gun club and it is no wonder that the team were a little rattled for the first game. Suspensions for two key players ( Gary Jeff and Sean Bartlett ) also caused selection problems for the beleaguered manager, but the return of Steve Ives from injury was a welcome bonus. The game itself started badly for Bere and then got even worse. A speculative shot from the halfway line, or the edge of the box as it would be known on any normal pitch, caught Dean in ‘Laa-Laa’ land and all he could do was push the ball into the corner of the net Seaman-style. Bere were rattled by this, but continued to try and play football and were just getting on top when the same thing happened again, this time Dean could only watch as it sailed into the net. Normally a great lover of chips, Dean was well and truly sick of them by now. Meanwhile, Bere continued to plug away and had several great chances, with one memorable volley from Ian Macklin tipped away in spectacular style by their goalkeeper. Finally, Bere got the break they deserved. A well flighted corner set off a goalmouth scramble and Mark Gale toe-poked the ball in to make it 2-1 at half-time.

The second half started just as badly for Bere. Devomet sprang the offside trap and the forward rounded Dean before tapping into the net to make it 3-1. Bere soon came back in superb style. Stung into action the tackling became more fierce and the chances came thick and fast. Ian Macklin went round the last defender like he wasn’t there then went down in the area like a dying Argentinian. Penalty, surely. Unfortunately, Ian had forgotten the golden rule of diving. At the very least have somebody near you, otherwise you just look uncoordinated. Ian soon redeemed himself, however, when a cross from the left was headed powerfully home to make it 3-2. Soon after, Andy Curtis decided to go on one of his mazy runs, rounded 3 players before slotting the ball home from the edge of the area. The manager was delighted, but there was more to come! A corner in the final minutes of the game was headed in at the far post by Kevin Cox, followed by wild goal celebrations and what should have been certain victory. This was not to be. A long throw-in in the dying seconds of the game bounced through a crowded six-yard box to fall to the feet of a Devomet player, who made the final score 4-4. If there had been a spare gun lying around I’m sure the manager would have used it!

Bere Regis 5 : Fox & Hounds 2

After letting in 4 goals last week, the manager saw the welcome return of Gary Jeff and the ‘star’ signing Sean Bartlett to the defence for the first home match of the season. Playing an attacking 3-5-2 formation Bere were looking for goals and were soon rewarded. A long throw from Paul Ebsworth was met sweetly on the volley by Wayne Cope and Bere were 1-0 up. Bere were soon under pressure themselves and with the wind against them found it difficult to establish any superiority. A neat one-two from ‘The Fox’ and it was 1-1. It then became 2-1 as the defence became more ragged under pressure, although there was a hint of offside to the goal. The crowd became restless although the sight of Darren Spivey diving theatrically to the ground brought a smile to the faces of some. It was left to Andy Curtis to drag Bere back into the game with a pinpoint finish to bring the scores level at half-time.

The second half was a different story. With the wind at their backs Bere took command almost immediately as a thundering 30 yard effort from Steve Ives was just tipped over. Constant Bere pressure was finally rewarded by a well worked goal. The tactical talks which follow training on a Wednesday night ( and which sometimes go on all night ) were acted out on the pitch. As all the ‘Fox’ players followed big Sean Bartlett on a corner, Rob White curled the ball imperiously with the outside of his foot into the danger zone and Andy Curtis was there once more to power the ball in with his head. At 3-2 it then became a question of just how many goals Bere were going to score. A powerful header at the back post by Sean Bartlett was disallowed for a questionable offside decision. It did not take long for Bere to score again though, and once again it was that man Andy Curtis. A superb through ball from Paul Ebsworth found Andy peeling off the last man and he finished in style for his hat-trick. It was then left to Kevin Cox to finish the scoring with a wonderful finish from the edge of the area, having clipped the post from the same position minutes earlier. The’Fox’ tried two substitutions, but could not break Bere’s stranglehold on the game. Not even a fiercesome 6-foot ‘Ketsbaia’ lookalike could make any impression on a solid defence, although he did make some impressions on player’s shins for which those same players duly apologised, him being a 6 foot 5, bald headed psychopath. For once, Nick Macklin went home a happy man!

Damory Oak 1 : Bere Regis 3

A scorchingly hot day saw Bere travel to Blandford to take on the mighty Oak. Again, the beleaguered manager was scratching around for a side but he needn’t have worried. Despite the absence of Dean Rogerson (hungover), Bungy Brown (well-hungover), Paul Ebsworth (doting father) and Sean Bartlett (out of his league), Bere still managed to triumph against poor opposition. They say the sign of a good side is to still win even when you are playing badly. On this performance Bere should be in the Premier League. Again, the opposition had no referee and so their manager took up the whistle, although he was so confident that he dispensed with the linesmen as well ( and all this with a broken arm!). Bere looked as patchy as a hairless dog with fleas, but despite their shortcomings scored first. A speculative cross from Chris Oram looked to be going safely into the goalkeeper’s hands until Andy Curtis unnerved the keeper by jumping into him and he dropped the ball into his own goal. After a moment’s hesitation the goal was given. The game became even more scrappy after this and it was not long before Bere conceded a scrappy goal. A cross came over and Rob ‘Perez’ White (in goal in the absence of Laa-Laa) tried a Punch that was more like a Judy. The ball found a Damory head and Bere went in at half-time tied at 1-1.

The second half was a different story though. Bere dominated throughout and never looked in trouble. A pinpoint through pass from ‘Jonesy’, making his debut for the Sunday side, and a perfectly timed run from Wayne Cope gave him the time to slot coolly past the keeper to make it 2-1. Some hard tackling from the midfield and defence kept Bere well on top, whilst Wayne Cope was in his element, showing off his full range of skills to the eager crowd. A moment of pure farce occurred midway through when Gary Jeff got a bit angry with their centre forward. The referee had a quiet word with Gary, then tried to have a quiet word with his own player, who was 5 feet away and refused to come to talk to him. Given the option of being booked or sent off by his own manager, the player tactfully replied ‘It’s up to you’, and was never seen again. Down to ten men, the game was well beyond the mighty ‘Oak’ and Bere merely piled on more pressure. Bere could only manage one more goal though, a close range volley from Andy Curtis in a goalmouth scramble from a corner. A job well done the team set off to the ‘Oak’ for some pub grub, this is when we really miss Earl and Laa-Laa!

Bere Regis 3: Haydon 4

Coming into this match, Bere were one of only 2 teams to still be unbeaten in the league and lying in a respectable second place in the league. The manager made the mistake of telling the team this fact before the match and a severe attack of vertigo set in. Bere managed to field one of their strongest teams, with the subs bench also packed with talent. Whilst the movement and passing did not really flow, Bere still took the lead from one of those solo goals that only Roberto White can score. The next two goals came from Haydon, both via Bere’s Achilles heel, the missed offside trap. The first missed offside set up the corner, from which Kev Cox gave away a penalty from a tackle so late he would have missed the following bus as well. Haydon’s second allowed their forward a one-2-one with Laa-Laa, an opportunity not to be missed. Bere kept at it and were soon rewarded with a scrappy goal from the head of Andy Curtis, making the scores level at half-time.

Bere came out for the second half with a lot more purpose and started to string a few passes together. Shots and headers flew in from all angles, but their keeper was having a blinder. The turning point occurred with a speculative 25-yard effort from a Haydon player which caught a wicked deflection and left Dean stranded. More pressure from Bere could produce nothing, whilst with their second attack of the half Haydon managed to score again as a wonderful save from Dean went straight to a Haydon player for an easy tap-in. 4-2 down and Bere looked dead and buried until Earle ‘thunderbolt’ Dacre hauled his weary body out of the defence to unleash an unstoppable 25-yard shot that almost burst the net. A valiant last 5 minutes of effort kept the crowd on their toes, but in the end it was too little-too late. Bere’s unbeaten record was finally smashed, but not without a fight.

Summers’ Electrical 1: Bere Regis 5 (Cup)

Another Sunday and, hopefully, the start of another magical run in the cup. The campaign started against a team a league higher than Bere Regis on a stony pitch at Whitecliff Rec. Once again the manager had to make hasty pre-match changes to his starting line-up, his team sheet having more crosses than a vampire hunter’s convention. The decision to move Darren Spivey into the back three, whilst packing the midfield with playmakers, such as Earle, Rob, Hristo and Cox ( with Bungy playing the ‘Batty’ role ), proved to be inspired. Bere started to play fantasy football, with flowing, passing movements from one side of the field to the other. With the defence playing tighter than a Scottish banker, it was only a matter of time before the opposition cracked. One of several corners found the head of big, bad, Bungy Brown and Bere were one up. Another soon followed, with Ian Macklin sliding the ball under an advancing goalkeeper from a slide rule pass by Roberto. Bere continued to attack from all directions, even an unexpected 30-yard effort from Spivey had to be tipped around the post, but at half-time the score remained 2-0.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first. Bere continued to play neat, attacking football and soon piled on the goals. First, Kevin Cox slammed one in the top corner from the edge of the area with a precision slice that Nick Faldo would have been proud of. Then, route one football from Dean in goal found Rob White running through and he slotted coolly home to make it 4-0. An extended goal celebration from Rob found him still running round the pitch accepting the plaudits when the game was restarted. Finally, Andy Curtis finished off the scoring with a precise shot to make it 5-0. A mazy run from Spivey from his own half, reminiscent of Sol Campbell in the World Cup, should have added another goal but Spivey passed when he should have shot and the move ended with Bungy blasting the ball against the bar from 5 yards out. Bere then got over-confident and left themselves badly exposed at the back. A misunderstanding between Dean and Spivey caused an almighty collision and the ball bounced kindly to the opposition’s centre-forward, who tapped in for a consolation goal. The final score remained 5-1 and Bere were on their way once more!

Stokeford Challengers 7: Bere Regis 1

The team were really buzzing after their wonderful performance the previous week. They were about to be stung, though. The team remained almost unchanged, with ‘Iron man’ Bungy not available due to his inability to leave the bar after the game. Things looked ominous even before the kick-off as Stokeford showed-off their warm-up routines and ball skills. Surely, the way to warm-up is to blast the ball as hard as you can at the goalkeeper a few hundred times. Some of our players even stopped smoking to watch! Playing into a strong headwind things started badly for Bere as they weathered the Stokeford storm. On a small pitch, there is little room for error and some slack marking allowed space on the edge of the area. The chance was gratefully accepted and Bere were 1-0 down. Things then went from bad to worse. A hard challenge from Spivey saved a certain goal, but also tore his knee ligaments and Bere were down to 10 men. As the manager was weighing up his options, a lucky header span into the top corner and Bere were 2-0 down. Nick moved Rob White back into the sweeper role and Bere tried to hold on till half-time. They almost managed it, but seconds before the whistle a twisting, turning run from a Stokeford midfielder took him through 3 challenges and he finished in style to make it 3-0 at half-time.

In the second half, with the wind behind them, Bere started to make some headway. Some neat attacking football gave Bere the upper hand, but two good goalscoring chances were spurned and that was the end of Bere’s 10 minutes of dominance. A sloppy goal knocked the stuffing out of them and a further sloppy goal finished them off. Chris Oram was fired up enough to give away a penalty, living up to the nickname Wan’chop’, and at 6-0 the game seemed over. But no-one had allowed for the silken skills of one Steve McEleney. Finding himself unmarked on the edge of the area, ‘Macca’ controlled the ball on his ample chest, then with surgical precision flighted the ball into the top corner with the most delicate of chips. It was, however, too late for a comeback and a goal in the last seconds rubbed salt in the wounds. Back to the drawing board!!

Bere Regis 4: R & D Construction 2

After such a severe hammering the previous week, the manager needed a good result at home to pick heads up again. Key injuries and non-arrivals meant that Sean Bartlett was hastily drafted in again, despite his obvious lack of talent, whilst Rob White was forced to don those keeper’s gloves again. R & D were, thankfully, not up to Stokeford’s standard and Bere dominated proceedings from the off. A cool finish under the advancing goalkeeper by young Macklin started Bere on their way and a rout looked on the cards. But R & D Construction had different ideas. A free kick on the edge of Bere’s box should not have presented a problem to our trusty stand-in as he lined his wall up perfectly. Rob then decided to stand behind his wall in a kind of hide-and-seek approach to dealing with free-kicks. A quick chip into the acres of empty goal made the score 1-1 at half-time.

In the second half, Bere were once again dominant but continued to miss easy chances. Whilst Sean Bartlett rose like a salmon to most corners it was unfortunate that he was heading like one as well. In a stroke of managerial genius, Nick put Steve Ives on in goal, allowing Rob White free rein against a tired R & D team. It was not long before Rob started to create havoc, tempting a clumsy challenge in the box which left the referee, a completely unbiased Linden White, no option but to award a penalty. Despite fierce protestations from R & D, Earl Dacre calmly slotted it home to make it 2-1. R & D were not beaten yet and some neat one touch football gave their forward a one-on-one with Steve Ives, no contest, 2-2. It was left to that deadly duo, Dacre and White, to break the deadlock again. An inch perfect corner from Dacre allowed Rob to power in a header at the near post to make it 3-2. The best was yet to come though. Ever the crowd pleaser, Andy Curtis picked the ball up on the halfway line, twisted, turned, teased and tormented 4 defenders before breaking through to score one of the goals of the season. A 4-2 victory and heads are held high once more.

Bere Regis 0: The Angel Inn 7 (CUP)

After a week’s rest the cup raised its head again, but the players did not. Injuries, cup-tied players and an ill-timed christening meant that Bere were scratching around for players once again. With a pacy front line and little else ‘The Angel’ tore Bere apart and were leading 4-0 at half-time, not helped by a penalty miss from Mark Gale. The manager even had to resort to playing himself as more injuries ravaged the team and in the end ‘ The Angel’ ran out easy winners. The game was summed up by one of our most loyal, and vociferous, supporters ‘ I wouldn’t mind so much, but they were crap’. A game best forgotten quickly!

Bere Regis 1: AC Sports 1

After another hammering the manager was not confident against a team which had beaten us 7-1 in the first game of last season on their way to winning the title. Injuries, parties and even birthdays had managed to deplete the squad this week. This was overcome by the clever use of Steve Ives in defence, drafting in someone who had come training that week and Nick bringing along a very useful player who had been working with that week, Arsene Wenger eat your heart out! However, from the off it was Bere who looked the better side, with Andy Curtis and Kevin Cox continually probing up front. The defence looked solid against a very tricky AC front line, helped by AC’s best player calling Gary a donkey in the first two minutes, firing him up to rocket level. Bere topped off their first half performance with a strike from Andy Curtis, a real poacher’s goal, to lead 1-0 at half-time.

Things did not look good coming out in the second half though. Steve Ives was walking like he had been in the saddle for a week, whilst Rob White was giving a creditable impersonation of Quasimodo with a neck injury. Bere continued to give as good as they got, but continuous pressure eventually told and AC equalised, albeit quite fortuitously as a deflected strike fell kindly to an AC player who finished in style. An end to end game then ensued, with Dean quite outstanding in goal, whilst at the other end a fully fit Rob White would have had a hat trick. As it was, the only hat-trick came from the referee, who would not tolerate being called a ****ing **** and booked three AC players. The draw left Bere in 6th position, but only 2 points off the lead.

Sturminster Marshall 0: Bere Regis 2 (15/11)

Having seen off the league champions, Bere faced a tricky game against the early league leaders. The manager’s job was quite easy in that the team picked itself, mainly because there were only 12 people available. With Rob White still feeling his neck injury, Nick Macklin found a more than adequate replacement in the form of….. Nick Macklin. With the return of Bungy Brown and the Brummie Beastie boy in tow, the midfield bristled with fire and passion. This showed in the first five minutes, although it was the unlikely Stuart who gave away the penalty, pushing 2 burly Stur Marshall players out of his way at a corner. Dean soon spared the poor boy’s blushes as he flew like a rocket powered banana to knock the ball aside. This proved to be the turning point as Bere went from strength to strength. An inch perfect cross from Kev Cox was met with power by Andy Curtis and Bere were 1-0 up. Ten minutes later, a corner was flicked on at the near post and Stuart was there to apply the finishing touch. Two-nil and Bere were looking good. This even prompted some fancy footwork from Nick Macklin on the edge of their area. ‘You can’t let him do that, he looks about 50’, cried one Stur Marshall player. Nick looked quite chuffed as people normally think he’s much older than that!

The second half proved to be much more difficult as Bere clung on to their lead. It was real ‘backs to the wall’ stuff, even more so when Earle had to come off with a dead leg midway through the half. Adam slotted in the hole quite nicely, not for the first time, and Bere hung on for a famous victory that pushed them into third place in the league, behind AC and Stokeford.

Bere Regis 7: Swanage 3 (22/11)

Bere Regis Sunday footballers have long memories. Bungy’s and Macca’s are longer than most, but that’s another story. So the long-awaited home match against Swanage butchers, after the farce at Swanage last year, had finally come. Bere did not need winding up for this game, even Rob ‘Scrapper’ White hopped off his sick bed to join in, as the team bristled with talent and aggression. The good news for Bere was that two of the Swans’ best players, their goalkeeper and Carlos the jackal, were not playing, but watched from a camper van nearby. The bad news was that the side still managed to play fluent, attacking football, as they showed in the first half. It was Swanage who took the lead, thanks to a woeful clearance from our normally reliable Teletubby, straight to a Swanage player, who took full advantage. It was lucky that Andy Curtis was continuing his rich vein of form, as he equalised soon after. But in an end to end half, gaps continued to appear at both ends and once again Swanage scored to make it 2-1. Bere’s ‘never say die’ attitude was rewarded once more, however, as they continued to press, with Bungy quite outstanding, sticking his foot in everywhere (as usual). A questionable penalty decision gave Mark Gale the chance and he does not miss from there. 2-2 at half-time.

The second half was a different story. Bere kept up their frantic pace and before long found themselves ahead for the first time, thanks to that man Andy Curtis again. The pendulum soon swung the other way again, though, as Macca conceded a penalty, which was duly converted. It was then that Bere found another gear. Relentless probing down the right by Kev Cox found Andy Curtis again unmarked who volleyed superbly to gain his hat-trick and put Bere 4-3 up. The manager tactfully ignored Andy Curtis’ signals that he wished to be substituted ( or perhaps he was disco dancing?) and was soon rewarded as Andy got his fourth. A Swan was then sent off for fowl language and Bere never looked back. Ian Macklin tucked away a loose ball to make it 6-3, then Rob White finished the rout off in his customary flamboyant style to make it 7-3 and sweet revenge.

Wimborne RBL 2: Bere Regis 5 (29/11)

The manager had a few more options this week. Whilst Macca was sampling the delights of France ( mostly alcoholic ), Darren ‘Sicknote’ Spivey returned to the fray once more, as did Wayne Cope, now fully recovered from his ankle injury. Nick was also surprised to see Emerson waiting in the car park for his first Sunday game, although some still believe it was Rob White in a wig. The last piece of the jigsaw, quite a big piece though, in the form of our goalkeeper ambled in to the changing room (late as usual) and Bere jogged out brimming with confidence. It did not take long for that confidence to disappear. Like a second hand car, Bere never start well on cold winter’s mornings and some slack marking from a long throw gave Wimborne a one goal headstart. The one thing that Bere have found this season is that goalscoring touch and Bere were soon level thanks to a deft touch from Bungy Brown. Bere continued to blow hot and cold. Sometimes the football flowed like wine, intoxicating the sparse crowd. Sometimes it was as messy as Rob White’s wig. But it was left to Rob White again to unlock the Wimborne defence with a glorious volley over the advancing keeper. Half-time and Bere were 2-1 up.

A rousing team talk from the manager at half-time stressed the importance of tight midfield play and playing straight from the whistle, which is why Wimborne scored straight from the kick-off, virtually unchallenged from kick-off to goal. Bere continued to plug away, though, and were soon rewarded with a slice of luck. A misplaced cross from Chris Oram was so misplaced that it looped over the keeper and into the net. It was helped into the top corner of the net by Rob ‘Greedy’ White, who then ran off in jubilant celebration, but the manager knows best ! Not to be outdone, Rob then looped a speculative cross over the keeper from the other side of the pitch. Bere were not just riding their luck, they were winning the National on it. Wimborne had had enough by then and it could easily have turned into a rout. Earle was put clean through with a one-on-one with the keeper, but could only pass it tamely back to him. To rub salt in the wound, Rob showed him how it should be done 5 minutes later. Rounding the keeper, he also turned the last defender inside-out before calmly slotting home for his hat-trick and a 5-2 victory for Bere Regis. Like Peter Beardsley, it was not pretty to watch but got the result.

Bere Regis 9: Devomet 0 (6/12)

Second in the league, Bere knew they had to get a good result against bottom of the league to stand any chance of winning it. Devomet had, however, drawn the first game of the season with Bere, just to prove there are no easy games in this division. Another strong team was fielded on a day when the pitch looked like a winter wonderland and skates were more suitable than football boots. Never ones to shy away from a bit of cold weather, Bere were out warming up well before Devomet and as kick-off approached it was worrying to still see only 5 Devomet players warming up. By the time kick-off came, they had managed to scrape up nine players, but this was obviously not enough against a rampant Bere side and with a cry of ‘Tonight, Matthew, I am Torvill and Dean’, Bere tore them apart. But for wasteful finishing, Bere could have been 10-up at half-time. It was left to the defenders to start the rout, Gary Jeff volleying in from fully 30 yards, followed swiftly by a near post header from Darren Spivey. A penalty from Mark Gale, sheer persistence from Andy Curtis and that man Rob White again, and Bere went in at half-time 5-0 up.

The second half continued in the same vein, with Dean largely ( literally ) a spectator, except for a few dangerous back passes from Wayne Cope. Goals from Wayne Cope, Andy Curtis, Earle Dacre (followed by the only real goal celebration) and Chris Oram (from a selfless pass from Rob White) wrapped it up for Bere. Doctor Dacre found it all too easy and decided to keep his team mates on the hop by laying on more hospital balls than a horny nurse, but still Bere ran out easy winners. A 9-0 victory, but a tinge of disappointment for those players who wanted a real game!

Haydon 2: Bere Regis 6 (10/1)

A lengthy layoff for all the teams in the division has meant that Bere have enjoyed the top spot in Division 4 over the Christmas period. Traditionally, Bere have always been like the Christmas decorations, coming down again soon after Christmas, but the manager was determined that this should not happen again. After such a long layoff a practice was arranged between ‘Whiter’s Fighters’ and ‘Earle’s Girls’ in a small 7-a-side game the previous week. The wind was a major factor, understandable after all that lager on New Years’ Eve, but Earle’s team won the day, with 4 goals from the man himself, despite some heroics from Peter ‘Schmeichel’ Larder.

The manager was able to field his strongest side against one of only 2 teams who have beaten Bere before Christmas. With the knowledge that a win would keep us in top slot, Bere went out full of grit and determination, the grit being especially useful in the frosty conditions. Once again, the players took a while to get back into the swing of things, except for Bungy who got his first booking of the year in exceptionally quick time. It was from this free- kick that Haydon got their first goal, a glancing header that clipped the inside of the post before hitting the back of the net. Bere slowly started to move through the gears, though, and it was not long before they started to create chances. Several misses later, a hopeful through ball against the run of play from Haydon saw them go two-nil up, with a shot that had just too much power for Dean. Bere’s heads never dropped and chance after chance went begging, Spivey hitting the crossbar, whilst Chris Oram missed from a yard out with immaculate precision.

Despite going in two-nil down at half-time, the manager was not too displeased, well no more than usual, with the message being ‘keep playing like that and you are bound to score in the end’. The first few minutes of the second half continued as the first half ended, with shots only a whisker away. But it was left to that man Andy Curtis to make the breakthrough once again. Bungy controlled the ball effortlessly on the edge of the area and Andy hit the ball hard and true past the despairing keeper. Soon afterwards, Bungy launched one of his famous Exocets from around 30 yards out, which could have either taken out one of the planes at nearby Hurn Airport, or burst the net. Fortunately, this one hit the top corner of the net, with the keeper rooted to the spot, and Bere were back on level terms. It was only a matter of time before Bere took the lead, although it was left to the defence to do it. Spivey was unceremoniously bundled over in the box from a header and Mark Gale made no mistake with the penalty. 3-2 up and Bere started to put on a show. With Earle constantly probing, not for the first time; Bungy winning everything in the air (although absolutely no idea where it was going ); Whiter turning defenders inside out; Coxy, Oram, Curt and Macklin working the channels beautifully; and a defence that Bill Clinton would be proud of; Bere went from strength to strength. A well worked corner between Whiter and Oram found Bungy in acres of space at the back post and he headed powerfully in to make it 4-2, although this corner was then well worked to death (and still Haydon did not catch on). A fortunate ricochet landed at Andy Curtis’ feet and Bere went 5-2 up. Finally, Earle and Oram sprang the offside trap beautifully, Chris found Rob White, who unselfishly let the birthday boy, Andy Curtis, get a hat-trick and make the score 6-2. Still top of the league, next stop the only other team to have beaten us, Stokeford Challengers.

AC Sports 0: Bere Regis 4 (7/2/99)

Once again, another month has passed without Bere playing a game. In that time, Bere have fallen from top to third, with daylight starting to open up. It was important for Bere to get a win to keep up their momentum and also stop the challenge for the lead from AC Sports, a team that Bere had never beaten before. Despite the ravages of a particularly nasty flu virus throughout the village, the only absentee from Bere’s normal Sunday line-up was Earle Dacre. An ankle injury sustained from standing too close to Rob White’s platform shoes during the Seventies disco the previous night prevented him from taking his normal midfield role. Such is Bere’s fame on Sundays now that Kelvin, who currently works with our manager, begged to play and travelled many miles to step into Earle’s shoes. In damp and windy conditions, Bere almost let AC Sports in straight from the kick-off. Only some nifty footwork from Greg in goal prevented AC scoring, but the scare knocked Bere out of their lethargy and they soon began to take control. Neat passing and approach play on both flanks allowed Bere to make inroads into AC territory and the chances soon began to appear. Some vicious tackles were made by AC to prevent this flowing football, one particularly nasty challenge took Andy Curtis out when he was not even on the pitch! It was from one of the many free-kicks that Bere took a deserved lead. A teasing, tempting cross from Chris Oram left the keeper in no-man’s land and an AC defender looped the ball into the net for a welcome own-goal. Bere, heartened by this, kept their shape and continued to play football around the lunging AC players. The second goal soon followed, and what a goal it was! Rob White encourages more stupid jumpers than a Val Doonican concert and this goal was no exception. As Rob faked to shoot on the edge of the area, two AC players jumped up to block the shot. Whiter calmly strolled past them, picked his spot and smashed the ball past the hapless keeper. Bere weathered the expected storm before half-time and went in with a deserved two-nil lead.

In the second half Bungy Brown was once again like the lonely farmer – outstanding in his field. A midfield colossus, he used his two favourite phrases (‘If it moves kick it’ ; ‘ If it don’t move, kick it till it does’) to great effect. Where angels fear to tread, Bungy went in two-footed and ensured that Bere dominated the midfield. Though the football was not as fluent as Bere would have liked, they still kept the upper hand throughout, with the goals arriving at opportune moments. Another hack from an AC player, which finally resulted in a booking, gave Bere a free kick on the edge of the area in ‘Gianfranco’ Galer territory. After blasting his first effort against the wall he was allowed another chance, the wall being about a yard away at the time. This time he made no mistake as the ball sailed into the top corner to put Bere 3-0 up and safe. With the defence as solid as a rock, Bere never looked in danger and Bungy put the icing on a wonderful performance with a sliding goal to make it 4-0. This was followed by a bizarre display from the goalkeeper, who threw down his shirt and stormed off, presumably because of the humiliation of Bungy scoring against him. Despite this, Bere could not add to their tally and settled for the satisfaction of a 4-0 win against their arch rivals. Next stop, the league leaders Sturminster Marshall.

Bere Regis 2: Sturminster Marshall 3 (14/2/99)

The wheels finally came off Bere’s title challenge against what proved to be a very good Stur Marshall side. With Bere’s leading scorer, Andy Curtis, working and Kelvin preferring golf to a game of football, the manager relied on the pace of Steve ‘Forrest’ McEleney to ask some questions of the Stur defence. On a muddy pitch, which cut up very quickly, Bere were on the backfoot from the start. Stur played some pretty football along the flanks and it was ‘backs to the wall’ defending to keep them at bay. Against the run of play, however, Rob White shoulder charged a Stur defender out of the way, rounded the keeper and scored to give Bere the lead. Stur did not take this lying down and through constant probing they eventually found some space on the left. A deep cross allowed Chris Freak to outjump Spivey at the back post and Stur were back on level terms. A thunderous volley from Chris Freak soon after almost broke the Bere Regis crossbar, followed by a brave stop by Chris Oram using the tenderest part of his body (‘Can you take away the pain but leave the swelling’). Bere only had one more chance in the first half, a pacy run from ‘Forrest’ left the defender trailing in his wake, unfortunately the shot was ‘like a box of chocolates’ and the sides went in level at half-time.

Bere started the second half more brightly and started to find gaps and spaces that were not there in the first half. They were undone, however, by a cruel twist of fate. A powerful shot by Chris Freak was well covered by Dean in goal until it took a huge deflection of the head of Gary Jeff and flew into the unguarded net. At 2-1, Bere started to play with some purpose and enjoyed their best spell of the game. The equalising goal was a delight from start to finish. A delicate pass from Earle to Bungy, a slide-rule through ball from Bungy to Kevin Cox and a finish that Michael Owen would have been proud of sparked wild celebrations from the Bere players. The goal was the worst thing that could have happened to Bere, though, as they sunk back into their shell and allowed Stur to dominate once more. A bit of trickery from a Stur midfielder left three Bere players trailing in his wake. His pass found that man Chris Freak again and Bere were behind once more. Despite some huffing and puffing from Bere Regis, the Stur defence would not blow down. The only chance of an equaliser fell to Rob White, whose header just missed the far post. With 5 minutes left, a hard, but fair, challenge from Gary Jeff ended with what every footballer dreads, a broken leg for the Stur forward. After a half hour delay waiting for the ambulance the game restarted, but Bere were resigned to their fate. Even Rob White could only argue half-heartedly when the referee informed us there was one minute left, not the five he had stated previously. Bere could not score in the frantic last minute and Stur remain top, with Stokeford second and Bere third. A disappointing day, when even the manager’s accidental humour ( ‘They just had one more break than us’ ) could only raise a smile.

Bere Regis 3 : Damory Oak 1 (21/2)

After the disappointment of last week, Bere needed to get back on the winning trail again to have any chance of winning the league. Damory were one of two teams to have beaten Stokeford this season, so this promised to be no walkover. The manager was, therefore, pleased to welcome back his leading scorer, Andy Curtis, to pick up where he left off. Damory were keen and were out warming up on the pitch before Gary Jeff had even arrived, the excuse this time was that the car had no petrol in it! The pitch was still rough and, after the recent rain, started to cut up even on the warm-up. The first half was as scrappy as the pitch, with Bere unable to find their normal shape and rhythm and Damory tackling and elbowing for all they were worth. Despite a flag-happy linesman, Bere carved out the best chances, but it was a day when few people had their shooting boots on. Rob White missed on two occasions when clean through, whilst a superb 40-yard crossfield pass from Chris Oram, a’ la David Beckham, gave Kevin Cox the opportunity to show us that he has the pace of Michael Owen and the shooting ability of Michael Mouse. With the score standing at 0-0 at half-time, Bere still had a lot to do.

The second half started in much the same way as the first, with very little football being played. Disaster struck quite early in the half, when Damory took the lead. A floated free-kick over the top of Bere’s defence was touched past Dean by Mark Gale, for the second own goal in as many weeks. This galvanised Bere into playing the only period of football in the whole game. The reward was an exquisite goal from Andy Curtis, as he weaved in and out of several defenders before carefully slotting the ball home to bring the scores level. Soon after, a disastrous back-pass by a Damory defender allowed Rob White a clear run on goal, with only the goalkeeper to beat. This time Rob made no mistake, rounding the keeper and tucking the ball away to give Bere the lead. This was followed by one of the strangest goal celebrations, as Rob danced around like a man in the latter stages of CJD. The referee then seemed to catch the bug, first lecturing Dean on the back pass rule, then giving a free-kick 5-yards out from the Bere Regis goal line when Dean picked the ball up. Despite fierce protestations from the Bere players, the free-kick stood. Thankfully, Damory missed the target from 5 yards out and Bere retained their lead. The game was then killed off by another goal from the irrepressible Andy Curtis and Bere then put up the shutters to finish as 3-1 winners. There was just time for Mark Gale to pick up a nasty ankle injury, although after the previous week’s broken leg incident it was a relief to see Mark hobble off the pitch instead of being carried off on a stretcher. He did writhe around like a fish out of water for a while, though, obviously trying to get in the Spurs team when Ginola retires.

Bere Regis 11: Wimborne RBL 2 (28/2/99)

The chase for the title was hotting up, as the leading contenders, Bere, Stur Marshall and Stokeford, started to pull away from the pack. With points so close, this was a chance for Bere to pile on the goals against a team bottom of the league, which had already conceded 66 goals this season. Bere were keen to make an impression, with Gary Jeff turning up on time and Kelvin forsaking golf for a chance to rack up some goals. The wind was always going to be a factor, as it blasted in from the Larder end, and with the wind behind them in the first half Bere started at a gallop. The ball must have only left the Wimborne half three times in all as Bere piled on the pressure and racked up the goals. Bungy Brown started the rout with a tap-in , after Spivey had thundered a header against the post from a corner. Goals came in thick and fast from all angles as Bere played Wimborne off the park. By half-time, Rob White had already got a hat-trick, Kelvin had managed his inaugural goal and contributions from Ian Macklin, Earle and another from Bungy gave Bere an 8-0 lead. The most tiring thing Bere had to do was run back to the halfway line after scoring!

The second half was a different matter, though. With the wind against them, Bere could not keep Wimborne penned in their half. For the first 10 minutes, Bere carried on where they left off, playing neat football and creating chances. With chances being missed, however, Wimborne began to gain in confidence and creating chances of their own. Midway through the half, Wimborne got a breakthrough as a cross cum shot drifted into the net. Soon after, they pulled another one back with a bizarre goal. Greg the goalie kicked the ball against the back of the Wimborne centre forward in his haste to clear. The ball looped over his head and into the net and, despite protestations, the referee let the goal stand. Bere were thankful for their lead as Wimborne continued to attack and only a last ditch tackle from Spivey, which earned him a dubious booking, saved another certain goal. It was left to Rob White to steady the ship once more, earning a penalty which Mark Gale converted with ease. Bere found their rhythm once more and with two more goals, from Bungy for his hat-trick and another from Mr White, Bere finished with an 11-2 win. Even with such an emphatic win, there was still some disappointment in the changing rooms, from the manager that more goals had not been scored and from most of the team that Spivey had not been sent off! With Stur Marshall and Stokeford both winning, there was still little change at the top of the table. Next stop, Stokeford!!

Bere Regis 2: Stokeford Challengers 3 (7/3/99)

The big one had finally arrived, and I don’t just mean Macca! The top of the table clash that would make the difference between first and second. The manager was able to field a full strength side, although Andy Curtis was late on parade after spending too long with his head stuck in the pillow ( or something like that). Before the game there was a minute’s silence in memory of Dapper Hall, which was respectfully observed by all. As Glenn Hoddle once, famously, said ‘ I’ve never heard a minute’s silence like that’. The match then started at a cracking pace, with both teams showing more passion than Mick Jagger on Viagra. After weathering an early storm from Stokeford, Bere started playing to their strengths with some delightful one touch football on both flanks. Cracks were showing in the Stokeford defence, as they relied more and more on their flag-happy linesman, who appeared to be following orders from his Sergeant Major at centre back. The midfield and forwards soon grew wise to this ploy and several chances went begging. Kelvin must have been praying that he had brought along his golf clubs, with his shooting being about as straight as Graeme Le Saux. There was a slight scare for the manager as Rob White limped gingerly to the sidelines holding his chest. We discovered later that in a pretty severe challenge Rob had lost a couple of chest hairs and he was just putting them on the sidelines to stick back on at the end of the match. Back in the fray again, Rob wielded the baton as Bere continued to play sweet music. Occasionally, he would hand the baton to Earle, Chris or Kev, whilst Bungy just wielded a big stick as he picked up his second booking of the year, inflicting more damage on the British Army than the Iraqis ever could. Against the run of play, though, Stokeford took the lead, a 25-yard effort that left Dean grasping at thin air. This only made Bere more determined and not long after they gained a deserved equaliser. Earle Dacre, employing vision worthy of Mohammed himself, pinged a 30-yard crossfield ball into the path of Rob White, who finished in style. One-all at half-time and all to play for.

The tea at half-time never seems to do Bere any favours and as the second half wore on, the superior fitness of the army team started to show. A resolute defence kept Stokeford at bay for most of the half, but it was only a matter of time before it was breached. Bere then lost Mark Gale as the ‘heaviest player on the pitch’ ( although Earle said he was nowhere near at the time ) landed on his ankle, leaving Macca to step into the firing line. A disastrous back pass from Gary Jeff gave Stokeford the chance to take the lead, but luckily the 11:30 from Spiveyville thundered in with a crashing challenge in the nick of time. Stokeford did take the lead soon after, though, as a long throw evaded all but a Stokeford forward, who tucked it away neatly. Bere’s never say die attitude almost saved the day as Earle Dacre lined up another of his famous thunderbolts, which the keeper could only palm into the net. Bere then almost took the lead, as a goalmouth scramble eventually ended in Stokeford’s favour. Bere’s luck finally ran out in the dying minutes. A bit of ‘Andy’ball on the edge of the penalty area gave Stokeford a free kick in a very dangerous position. They then took full advantage, as the kick was floated over the wall with just too much power for Dean to handle. Despite a late rush from Bere, it was too little too late and Stokeford ran out 3-2 winners. Whilst better than the 7-1 earlier in the season, a disheartened Bere side finally conceded that the league was beyond them!

Fox & Hounds 1: Bere Regis 5 (14/3)

(We would like to warn readers of a sensitive nature that this report contains strong language which some may find offensive)

With league ambitions cruelly dashed last Sunday, this was a chance for Bere to go out and enjoy themselves, playing the ‘beautiful game’ as it is meant to be played. Unfortunately, some players had gone out and enjoyed themselves too much the night before (two of which shall remain nameless, but they are two of our most ‘colourful’ characters), and the game was about as beautiful as Louie’s girlfriends. With Ian Macklin still injured, the manager had to tinker with the team slightly, shifting Kev Cox over to the left of midfield, giving Macca his head on the right (not literally) and pushing Rob White up front. Despite playing against 10 men, Bere could not find their feet and when they did it appeared to be two left ones. They even the suffered the embarrassment of going behind in the first five minutes. A fairly innocuous shot from outside the area was going well wide of the goal. A call of ‘SAFE’ from Mark Gale was translated into ‘Knock it into the path of their forward who will tap it into the net’ by Dean and Bere were 1-0 down. They swiftly rallied and were level within minutes, as some incisive football gave Rob White a run at the keeper and he picked his spot precisely. Bere then woke up a little and started to play the football we know they are capable of. First, an inswinging cross from the right gave Kev Cox the simplest of chances to give Bere the lead. Then, an inswinging cross from the left saw Rob White nudge the ball inside the far post with a sublime touch. At 3-1 Bere were poised to take them apart, but they went to pieces once again. Bere were playing one-touch football, but this was one-touch before they gave it back to the opposition. The whole team was moaning more than a prostitute on overtime and if they passed the ball as well as they were passing the buck, they would have been into double figures by half-time. As it was, they went in 3-1 up with a lot of room for improvement.

Despite Nick giving the team more of a dressing-down than the cast of ‘The Full Monty’, things did not improve in the second half. Bere were only playing in fits and starts and although they were never in trouble it was not pretty to watch. They had switched to the famous 3-1-6 formation, used by primary school teams throughout the land. Earle Dacre was shooting more than an excited rabbit, with just as much accuracy, and then committed the cardinal sin of swearing at the ref (Those of a nervous disposition, look away now!). When pulled up for a blatant handball, Earle shocked many of the seasoned footballers around him by shouting ‘That’s PANTS, that is!!’. Although this would be an instant dismissal in the Premiership, the referee was fairly lenient with him, as he had been with Gary Jeff all game, and Earle escaped with a booking. Now and again Bere did give their long-suffering supporter a glimpse of what they are capable of. A wonderful flowing move saw Bere turn defence into attack in six short passes and gave Andy Curtis the chance to finish in style. Soon after, Bungy made the score 5-1, squeezing the ball between the keeper and the near post after another beautiful display of pass and move football. Safe in the knowledge that the manager would be happy with five, as detailed in the pre-match talk, Bere contrived to miss a hatful of chances to keep Nick happy. They were rewarded with a smile, and a chuckle, in the changing rooms at the end!

Coxy’s fascinating pub fact of the day:’ Norman Whiteside was paid 350 a week when he was playing for Man Utd.’ – Fox & Hounds - 14/3/99

More, hopefully, from Coxy the clown next week.

R & D Con 0: Bere Regis 7 (21/3)

The last league game of the season for Bere and they were sitting proudly at the top of the league. Bere were clear favourites to win, their opponents being bottom of the league in a position even shakier than Rod Hull fixing an aerial. The conditions were a great leveller, though, as Branksome Rec was buffeted by gale-force conditions and the pitch was covered in more bottles and rubbish than the San Siro after United’s European triumph. The wind was horrific, Rob White’s wind that is as he cleared the changing rooms in 10-seconds flat with a smell that would leave skunks holding their noses. Bere were forced to switch changing rooms, which left Bungy wandering from room to room half-naked with his clothes in his hand, something he has not done since he last stayed at Rob’s house. The manager had almost a full-strength team once again, the only absence being Coxy through work pressures, although this did give him the opportunity to inform all his workmates what a cress-bed worker was earning in the late 1800’s. Bere started the game brightly enough, Bungy having a free header at the far post within the first minutes and just missing the angle ( of his head, that is!). It was left to Rob White to open the scoring, with a far post header from a deep corner. The players then had a little surprise for the manager. To the utter amazement of the opposing team and the ref, Bere players took their shirts off to reveal the message ‘ Cheer up, Ole Scuffer’ and a big smiley face written on the T-shirts beneath (an idea concocted at the St Patrick’s celebrations, the night before). The last time Nick had seen this many half-naked men running towards was on that night out he’d had with Graeme Le Saux. It was worth the effort, though, to see that wry smile come out once more. Despite the weather, Bere still tried to play football and were rewarded when Adam scored a delightful goal. Having rounded two players near the by-line he whipped in a cross-cum-shot, which dipped into the net over the goalie. This is, presumably, why he is known as ‘Benny the dip’! The defence was hardly troubled, although a push in the back forced Spivey into a blatant handball which was missed by the rather overweight referee, who was occupying his normal position near the centre circle. This caused a case of mistaken identity by the opposition. Shouts of ‘Tosser’ should have been directed at Macca, not Spivey, as we all know Macca’s prowess at tossing the caber! Bere continued to plug away at R & D, scoring every now and again to keep the game interesting. Bungy was next, clean through one-on-one with the keeper and slotting the ball neatly through his legs. Chrissy also got in on the action, with a fierce shot that Charlton would have been proud of (Suzanne, that is, not Bobby!), which came crashing back off the crossbar with the goalie left for dead. Rob White then made it 4-0 at half-time, taking his time to pick his way through the defence and rounding the same defenders several times for fun, before picking his spot.

Not so much a roasting, but a gentle simmer on a low heat from the manager at half-time, as even he recognised that the conditions were playing a major factor in the way the game was being played. Coming out for the second half, Bere could still not find their rhythm. Although they were creating chances it was one of those days where Andy Curt couldn’t hit a cow’s ass with a banjo. Earle was obviously becoming bored and frustrated and tried his luck with a 35-yard effort that almost hit the top corner. The fact that this was our own goal did not seem to worry him in the slightest. As the game wore on, R & D became more frustrated by Bere’s solid defending and began to adopt a more cavalier attitude. You cannot afford to give Bere’s talented midfield an inch of space and they were soon running the show. Chris was showing skills silkier than Dean’s underwear. Earle was proving more slippery than an eel in a tub of vaseline, whilst Macca was winning the ball time again, showing everyone how big he is in the tackle. This frenzy of activity from the midfield finally stirred Curt from his slumber, as he produced the quickest hat-trick of the season, beating Rob White by a matter of seconds. The first was a smart finish from a one-on one; the second was a near post scrap which Andy narrowly won; and the third was handed on a plate by ‘head chef’ Rob White. When the final whistle went, Bere were satisfied with their 7-0 victory and headed back to the clubhouse to celebrate the end of a glorious season. Top of the league, though not for long, and the cup yet to come!

Haydon 1: Bere Regis 3 (Cup – 11/4)

With the league finished Bere only have the cup to play for now. A very respectable third could have been higher if it had not been for some dubious tactics by the teams that finished above us. Stokeford drafted in more of the British army than Tony Blair has managed to get into Kosovo, whilst AC Sports have done so much signing on in recent weeks that Rob White will be carrying out a full investigation soon. Bere managed to field a full strength side for a potentially tricky away game against one of the few sides to have beaten us this year. The comedy began before the kick-off this week as Dean, in trying to take up his usual position leaning against the post, found that the goal moved from side to side. The teams then had to move to a pitch the size of a postage stamp, although this proved quite beneficial to Bere in the end as the fitness levels of some players were questionable. Bere started at a canter with the wind at their backs and took the lead within the first five minutes. As the ball bounced around the penalty area Bungy tried a shot more loopy than Pete Larder on cider. All the keeper could do was stand and watch as it looped into the top corner and Bungy ran away, hand in the air, as though he meant that to happen all along. The pressure was relentless on poor old Haydon and only the hard surface saved them from greater embarrassment as the ball bounced around like Skippy on drugs. As a result this saw more kicks in the head in one game than this commentator has seen all season. Spivey received a black eye from one, Mark Gale got one on the chin from one of his own players (who shall remain nameless), whilst Bungy finished it all off in spectacular fashion with a flying overhead kick straight into the face of the Haydon centre-back. In amongst all this Bere did actually play some quite tidy football. Rob White glided past several Haydon players with consummate ease before slotting the ball away to make it 2-0. Bungy then soared like an eagle to power a header into the top corner from a precision cross by Kev Cox. Three-nil up at half-time, but would it be enough against the wind in the second half?

The words of wisdom from the manager at half-time stressed the importance of not conceding an early goal and keeping things tight. It, therefore, came as no surprise that Haydon pulled a goal back within minutes of the restart. A speculative shot from outside the area was too hot for Dean to handle and he conceded a corner from the rebound. When the corner came across Dean could not get a hand to it and the ball went straight in to make it 3-1. The reason why Dean could not get a hand to it soon became evident when he took his gloves off, his thumb was more swollen than a certain part of Macca’s anatomy. Time for Earle ‘Goodands’ Dacre to step into the breach and show us how versatile he really is. Despite his obvious pain, Dean insisted on playing in the middle of the park and was soon running rings around the opposition. In fact, despite conceding that early goal Bere were never really troubled again in the half and as time were on looked far more likely to score the next goal. Andy Curtis beat the last defender and the keeper, but unfortunately his shot beat the far post as well. Meanwhile, with Rob White and Dean protecting a solid back three, Bungy was off in search of that elusive hat-trick. With his pace, power and ball control it was no surprise that it never came! The real surprise came after the game, as most of the players found that the changing rooms had been broken into and their money had been stolen. This must be one of the few games where Bere had won the game and yet still came home empty-handed.

Excel 0: Bere Regis 2 (Cup – 18/4)

A place in the semi-finals beckoned for the winner of what, on paper, looked to be a well-matched game. Excel were 4th in Div 3, but Bere had already put paid to one Div 3 side this season and were in no mood to be intimidated. This was proved in the changing rooms as Bungy set about smashing all the tiles off the wall, obviously misunderstanding the meaning of a wall pass. A bit of raw meat settled him down long enough for Nick to deliver his team talk, before him, and the rest of a very fired-up Bere team took the field. With Dean still injured, Earle carried on where he left off in goal, with Macca coming into the midfield to add his weight to the attack now and again. Bere started brightly enough, forcing Excel onto the back foot from the off. With five in midfield, against three Excel players, Bere picked up most of the loose play and used it to great effect. It was not long before Bere were in front from a most unlikely source. An early corner was not cleared properly and even Macca could not miss from 5 yards out as he gleefully smashed the ball into the back of the net. We were then treated to the wonderful sight of Forrest in full flow, as he raced back to the halfway line, head back, chest out, legs ( all 3 of them) raised high. Excel tried to get back into the match, but could find no way past Bere’s 3 musketeers at the back. On the one occasion they did get a one-on-one with the keeper, ‘Goodands’ Dacre was more than equal to the task. The frustration started to show for Excel as they continually shouted ‘Come on boys, these are only Div 4’, a fact that Andy Curtis enjoyed shouting back at them every time he or Ian breached their defences. Despite the best efforts of both teams, the score remained 1-0 at half-time, with Bere slightly the better side.

At half-time, Nick made some tactical changes to the 3-1-6 formation we occasionally lapsed into and it was left to Rob White, like the obedient dog he is, to ‘sit and stay’ to protect the back three. This worked like a charm in the second half, as Bere dominated, leaving Excel with just a couple of goal attempts, the best being a 25-yard effort from Mark Gale that just went over. With Jaap’s eye dominant at the heart of defence and Spivey easily outstripping Excel’s ‘supposedly’ pacy attack, this allowed Rob ‘terrier’ White the opportunity to exploit the space in midfield. This was where the game was won midway through the second half, as Rob took on and beat most of the Excel midfield, before being crudely upended in the box for a certain penalty. Mark ‘Iceman’ Gale ignored all the pressure and calmly slotted the penalty through the dunes to give Bere an unassailable 2-0 lead. The only surprise for Bere after that was why they did not add to their tally. Andy Curtis was denied a clear penalty; Chris Oram and Kev Cox continually found space but just failed to exploit it; whilst Bungy spotted the keeper off his line and from a similar position to David Beckham produced a shot that Posh Spice would be proud of. Near the end of the game it was good to see Coxy and Adam playing out time in the age-old Italian style, Serie A here we come. Bere finished the game easy winners and confident that the cup was coming home!!

Bere Regis 1: Windgreen 1 (Cup )
Bere Regis lost 4-2 on penalties

The semi-final of the cup and Bere had yet another Div 3 side to dispose of. Again, little was known about the side, apart from Miller’s confused ramblings, but the sort of form Bere were in meant that they feared nobody. Nick Macklin once again had the luxury of fielding a virtually unchanged side, with the exception of Dean returning from injury to take his familiar position between the sticks and allowing Earle to return to his holding role in midfield. Bere needed little motivation with the tasty prospect of a cup final ahead and from the off gave the large (by Bere’s standard) crowd a feast of football. The movement was fantastic, the passing top drawer, the defence impregnable, the tackling ferocious and the finishing…….woeful. Never in the history of football has a team been so comprehensively outplayed and yet they hung on by their fingertips as Bere missed chance after chance after chance.Andy Curtis was clean through twice and missed both times; Kev Cox got into some fabulous positions as he turned his marker inside out, only to cross when he should have shot, or vice versa; Ian Macklin blasted two over the bar; Earle Dacre cocked the trigger on his trusty left foot only to see his shot drift wide; even Mark Gale got in on the act, with a header just above ground level that flew over the crossbar. Despite all this, the approach play was lovely to watch with swift short passes, dummies and tricks to spare. The aggression was also there in spades as Bungy, Gary and Spivey did what they do best, kick people up in the air (fairly!). The Windgreen players went down more times than Monica Lewinsky, and often for a lot longer. I think it was Rudyard Kipling who said’ If you can keep your head, whilst all around are losing theirs…’, or was it Mr Kipling. Either way, they must have been referring to Rob White in the penalty area as, surrounded by players of all shapes and sizes, he picked his spot in the top corner to put Bere in the lead. The players piled on top of Rob in celebration afterwards in a manner that would have had Le Saux positively drooling. Bere never let the pressure drop once in the first half, but despite being by far the better side they went in at half-time only one goal to the good. This would prove costly later.

Windgreen, realising that they had been let off the hook in a big way, came out for the second half in a more confident mood. With the wind at their backs and coming down the hill, they came into the game much more and started to test the Bere defence a bit more. Dean was never really troubled, until the moment they scored. A shot came in from outside the area that Dean could only parry. The ball was then knocked across the area and it was a race between Gary and a Windgreen player to the ball. They both got to the ball at about the same time and, with the luck well and truly on Windgreen’s side, the Windgreen player somehow managed to squeeze the ball inside the post. With the game on a knife-edge it was unfortunate that the referee made the decision that swung the game. Rob White, having not been booked all season, had already been booked for appealing to the referee (although not in any sexual way). The shout of ‘Backpass’ at the referee pushed him over the edge and Rob ‘Mona’ White was off to take an early bath, although in reality he just stayed and moaned even louder at the referee from the sidelines. If anything, this stirred Bere to even greater heights and, with Macca providing fresh legs up front, Bere should have snatched the game at the death. Andy had yet another one-on-one with the last defender and as he knocked it over the defender’s head the defender clearly handballed it. It was left to Mark ‘Iceman’ Gale to win the game for us. Unfortunately, this was the day that the iceman melted. Nerves obviously played a part as Mark ballooned the ball over the bar and the game went into extra time. Adam must have put something in the half-time tea because Bere’s energy and aggression did not waver as they still created chances, the most notable being a goal-line miss from Andy Curtis. But however much they huffed and puffed, they still could not blow the Windgreen house down. It was left to the lottery of penalties!! All went well for Bere as Mark and Earle slotted their penalties away. There was even another slice of luck for Windgreen as one of their penalties hit the post and narrowly crept in. But it was not to be Bere’s day and it was left to Kev and Andy to assume the roles of Batty and Ince. Kev had obviously run out of energy as the keeper was down on the ground waiting for it to arrive, whilst Andy’s was saved superbly by a keeper who had earned his bottle of champagne for the day. It was a bitter end to a fabulous season, which had seen Bere play some thrilling football, achieve some fabulous results, whilst all the time enjoying themselves to the full. Roll on next year!!