IT has been a good few weeks for Fordingbridge Town under-11s in the Testway Youth League.

We went into last weekend’s home game against Worthys XI as the most in-form youth team in Hampshire.

I mean, had any other team scored 34 goals in their previous three games and conceded none?

Probably not.

In our own division, Tidworth Tigers had scored 37 goals in their last three games, but their defensive record – they had let in seven – ensured we had the better goal difference of the two teams.

Anyway, I knew two things before we took on Worthys, who had lost their previous four games.

One, I knew we wouldn’t win 21-0 again, as we had done the previous week at Andover New Street.

I’ve never known any side win 21-0 two weeks running.

Two, I knew if we didn’t win I couldn’t blame the referee.

That was because I was the referee.

Ideally, I wouldn’t have been. I didn’t get involved in my son’s footballing career just to follow him around the pitch blowing a whistle at irregular intervals.

But qualified referees are in short supply in the grass-roots game.

Last season, not long after Ben had started going along to training at Fordingbridge, I mentioned in passing to the manager, John Mullins, that I had passed my ref’s exams.

A long time ago, in 1987 to be exact, but I had passed them nonetheless.

He looked so pleased I thought he was going to kiss me.

As it turned out, I ended up reffing most of the team’s under-10 home games last season.

Happy to help out, and all that.

And if I didn’t do it, who else would?

Whenever our group of parents are asked at a game who fancies running the line, no one ever enthusiastically volunteers.

In fact, very few actually volunteer at all, enthusiastically or otherwise.

When told they HAVE to do it, their faces are etched with the same pain that I no doubt show when I’m told by my darling wife that she has booked me in to go camping in north Devon.

I guess it’s the same with many other clubs, in youth and adult leagues.

As a result of having passed my referee’s exams, I find it easier to sympathise with officials when they get grief – as they inevitably do.

Not that Testway Youth League grounds are a cauldron of hate towards refs and linesmen (or women).

At this level of kids’ football, you generally do not hear many criticisms aimed towards the refs (apart from at Wallop!) Certainly not from the players, and neither from the touchlines.

Like me, most of the refs we get are just helping out, doing their bit to ensure a kids’ game goes ahead with a semblance of control.

More parents should try it.

You don’t have to buy the correct ref’s kit. I wore a Papa Smurf t-shirt.

I’m sure I’ve made mistakes as a referee, not giving fouls where I should have, that sort of thing.

No referee is infallible, just as no player has ever scored with every shot they’ve had at goal and no keeper has ever saved every shot struck at him.

Refs are no different in that respect, even the blind ones* This season is different from 2012/13 in one vital way, however.

At under-11 level, we now have the offside rule to contend with.

There were no offsides last season in the under-10 league, and that made it easy for the linesmen (or women). All they had to do was flag for throw ins and corners. Most could manage that ok.

Now they have to keep up with play, in order to flag for offsides.

This has been a lot easier - a LOT easier - for some I’ve seen this season than others.

You would have thought it would be fairly simple to find one parent/helper per club to run the line adequately and know what they are doing.

On the evidence of what I have seen this season, you would have thought wrong.

Anyway, there were no problems last Saturday.

I awarded my own son’s team an early penalty, which in kids football can be controversial to say the least - especially here as Worthys had kindly lent me their whistle and the second time I used it, after blowing to start the game, was to give a penalty against them.

‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ is a regular chant aimed towards referees in the professional game.

But no-one in the crowd – more a gathering, really, but ‘crowd’ sounds better – could direct the same words to me.

There was a blatant handball on the goalline, which allowed us to go 1-0 up.

Even Mr Magoo would have spotted it. Blindfolded.

We later stretched the lead to 3-0, with the third goal an absolute cracker.

A pass out to the wing from central midfield, a great Ollie Bayliss cross from the right and Sam Penton, unmarked in the middle, volleyed it in first time.

Our manager, Mike – Sam’s dad – said the Worthys boss had told him it was the best goal he had ever seen in youth football.

At times like that, all the training in the wet and the cold, all the travelling to places in the middle of nowhere, all the getting lost en route ... it’s all worthwhile.

Worthys certainly weren’t a bad side at all, and probably deserved their consolation goal when it came.

Still, we ended up 3-1 winners, and a fourth successive win taking us up to second in second division table.

All managers, from Sir Alex Ferguson down to the Testway Youth League, will tell you that if their side is on a good winning run they can’t wait to play the next game.

They will also tell you that, if their side has suffered a bad result, they can’t wait to play the next game to try and get it out of their system.

There’s a theme here – for everyone involved in football, we can’t wait for the next game.

However, Fordingbridge Town under-11s now have a three-week break before our next game at Upper Clatford on November 10.

At the moment, when all is well and the goals are flying in, that seems an eternity.

* Joke!!!!! I don’t mean it!!!!!!