Hythe & Dibden manager Lee Burch was forced to take matters into his own hands during their 1-0 win against Andover New Street in their Sydenhams Division One opener.
With eight players unavailable for the clash at Blackfield & Langley’s Gang Warily home – their temporary ground while work is completed at Clayfields – it looked like Watersiders were heading for a draw.
But with 10 minutes to go it was the gaffer to the rescue. Burch (pictured right) brought himself on for centre midfielder Alex Liburd and, amazingly, scored the all-important goal himself to secure the narrow win.
“It’s always good to get three points,” said Burch. “It wasn’t perfect but I made a late call to put myself in the team.
“We changed the system slightly and I came on to stretch the play.
“The lads hate it when I score, there were some cheers at first but they realised it was me there was some groaning,” Burch laughed.
“I don’t think they like that I’m top scorer,” he added with a smile.
The former Andover, Winchester, Bashley and Bemerton utility man popped up to head home Shaun Stone’s saved shot by New Street goalkeeper Dave Tasker on 85 minutes.
Skipper Simon Davison, Dan Pancaldi, Nathan Renyard and Nick Jenkin were all unavailable, Wayne O’Dell and Simon De’Ath are injured, Mark Lilley served one game of a two-match suspension and Jon Brock was at a wedding.