This match had been keenly awaited by both clubs. Early on the morning of the game, it looked as if the match would have to be postponed, but the pitch survived an early morning inspection and we kicked-off at 2pm with Moors Academy's largest crowd of the season so far.
Although the playing surface was playable, it was also difficult, and both sides found it hard going. However, the visitors settled into the game and for most of the first-half, the home side were second best.
Ben Nitiri in the Moors goal had a superb game. This was his best performance in goal for The Moors. Time and again, he prevented Burbage from scoring. Eight times in the first-half the 'keeper was called into action to save a shot on target. Only with nine minutes to go to the break was Nitiri beaten. A good move along Burbage’s left, two quick passes and the ball came to Jess Adcock who slotted home with ease. Truth to tell, it was no more than the visitors deserved. They had coped with the difficult conditions better than the Moors, were more disciplined and had a stringer midfield.
There were five extra minutes at the end of the first-half, caused by injuries. One of which, in the eleventh minute to Rhys Mason resulted in an early substitution for The Moors.
With the Referee thinking about blowing his whistle for the break, Martin on the Moors left made a forty yard run, produced the perfect cross for Callum Coyle to smash the ball into the net. For the only time in the opening period, the visitors defence was opened up like the proverbial can of beans!
The second-half was only seven minutes old when Whitehurst headed home a Burbage free-kick to restore their lead. However, within two minutes the visitors were down to ten men. Having been booked in the first-half, goal-scorer Whitehurst foolishly handled the ball deliberately and, to great cheers for the home supporters, was shown the dreaded red card and left the field.
One thought the Moors would now go on and take all three points from Burbage, something no other side had managed to do so far this term. But, instead of stepping up their game and running the visitors ragged, the Moors played cautiously, oh so cautiously, and with little urgency.
Burbage withdrew players into an already well drilled defence and forgot about attacking. Indeed their second goal was their only attempt on target in the whole of the second 45 minutes. Yet the Moors seemed sluggish when going forward. Eventually, with five minutes to go, Captain Liam Taylor pushed himself into mid-field. It had an immediate effect. He slotted home a really good through ball to even the score.
The crowd now urged the Moors on to get the winner, but the equaliser had come too late and both teams had to settle for a draw. Strangely perhaps, listening to the players as they left the field, the visitors were more satisfied with the draw than were the home side.
It had been a wonderful match to watch and the bumper holiday crowd went home happy.
On Saturday 7th January 2017, Moors Academy travel to Enville Athletic for an MFL Division Three game (2pm kick-off)..
Moors Academy: Ben Nitiri; Reiss McNally; Mikkel Hirst; Marshall Willock; Liam Taylor (c) ; Dylon Bennett (Jerome Clarke); Josh Parsons; Kyle Mullally; Romario Martin; Callum Coyle ; Rhys Mason (Tyrese Shade).
Subs not used: James Medford and James Geobey.