Hat-trick hero Palmer helps Burrfields beat Baffins Milton U23s to lift first silverware of the 2021/22 Mid-Solent League season
Brian Kirby’s side were forced to come from behind to beat one of the league’s new clubs, Baffins Milton Rovers U23s, 5-2 at Front Lawn.
New signing Clinton Uzochukwu scored the other two goals against a Baffins side that were reduced to 10 men due to a sending off.
‘Baffins were a decent outfit,’ said Kirby. ‘They have players who will go on to bigger and better things.
‘We tried out a new formation - we normally go 4-4-3 but we went 3-5-2 because I was short of defenders but had lots of midfielders.
‘We packed the midfield, won that battle, and ultimately dominated the game. I felt we dominated possession in the first half but were 2-1 down at half-time.
‘It was one of the best performances since I have been manager. We retained the ball well, we recycled it well, we passed and moved well - we looked a decent outfit.’
Burrfields finished third in last season’s MSL Division 1 table, and Kirby said: ‘We’re looking to consolidate on that, we’re looking for another top three finish.
‘It’s difficult to predict because there’s a lot of new teams. I feel we have improved but it’s hard to calibrate because you don’t know how strong the new teams are.’
Burrfields were invited by MSL officials to compete in the Oscar Owers Cup due to what Kirby said was ‘our outstanding contribution to the league last season and the fact we have introduced a reserve team to help bolster numbers.’
After beating Baffins, Kirby and his squad went ‘en masse’ to watch the reserves draw 1-1 with Horndean United in their opening MSL Division 2 fixture.
Managed by ex-Burrfields player Matt Billett, Anton Dewing put the second team ahead with Horndean levelling from a second half penalty - awarded for a handball that resulted in a red card for Glenn Archer.
‘For us to move forward, it’s important we have a reserve team,’ said Kirby.
‘It will enable us to bed new signings in, give trialists game time, and instead of throwing players coming back from injury into the first team we can get them match-fit in the reserves - that’s the theory anyway.’