Match Report 2000/2001

Quick-fire quartet keeps Linnets on song

Saturday 13th January 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 4, Blackfield & Langley 0

Having spoilt the party on the opening day of the season by beating Blackfield in their inaugural Wessex League match, the Linnets turned party-poopers again when four goals in a manic 15 minute spell proved enough for title-chasing Lymington & New Milton to overcome a Blackfield side now led by ex-AFC Lymington player Tim Packer.

There was no room for any nostalgia however, as the Linnets pushed forward from the start and spent the first five minutes encamped in the visitor's half although without tangible reward. Having finally managed to cross the half-way line, Blackfield then created two good scoring opportunities when Hopper was twice put clear by clever diagonal passes but was unable to finish convincingly. Having survived this brief scare the home side moved back on the attack and looked to have scored when a free-kick by Kemp found Stuart Hussey, who beat the Blackfield 'keeper only to see a defender make a last-ditch goal-line clearance.

Again, the home defence was nearly caught napping as, this time, Connor found himself unmarked but his shot on goal was punched away by Linnets' 'keeper Kearn. Back came the home side as a powerful volley by Miles was blocked by an unwitting defender, while a goal-bound lob from Strong was saved right on the line. The deadlock was finally broken just after the half-way point when, having made an astute interception, Morris played the ball forward to Nick Miles who demonstrated neat ball control and a clinical finish to put the Linnets in front.

Within two minutes it was 2-0 as Gazzard played a through ball to Miles whose run drew the visiting defence and allowed him to set up Stuart Hussey for a low shot into the Blackfield net. Five minutes later Stuart Hussey turned provider as his cross found Steve Strong who beat the advancing 'keeper with a delicate lob. With the home side now in complete control, it was no surprise when the lead was further increased eight minutes later. Starting from a position by the right-hand corner flag, Matt Hussey wriggled and jinked his way along the goal-line before shooting low past the visiting 'keeper from a seemingly impossible angle to record his first goal for the Linnets.

Half-Time : L. & N.M., 4 Blackfield 0

Starting the second-half four goals to the good and under no pressure, the second-half surely presented Lymington & New Milton with a golden opportunity to add to their tally and thereby improve the goal difference which had been their undoing last season. This seemed even more likely as Strong fired in a forceful shot which was tipped round the post and then slid the ball inches wide of the same post a minute later following a cross by Matt Hussey. Then Stuart Hussey's goalwards progress was interrupted by defender Lee, who received a yellow card for his trouble.

To their credit Blackfield continued to contest the game and, as the home side indulged in some over-elaboration in their moves, started to gain a greater share of possession. From this, the visitors were able to put together some good passing moves, one of which culminated with Renyard hitting a a shot from just outside the penalty area which brought a flying save from Kearn. Moments later the same player had a penalty claim turned down by the referee as, almost out of nothing, Blackfield managed to put some pressure on a Lymington & New Milton side that seemed to be losing it's shape.

Perhaps sensing the need to freshen things up, manager Derek Binns introduced all three substitutes with twenty minutes to go, with Leigh Phillips, Brett Phillips and Mottashed replacing Stuart Hussey, Miles and Kemp. This move almost had an immediate impact with Brett Phillips putting in a testing centre which was met by Leigh Phillips and his looping shot just cleared the visitor's crossbar. Moments later, in an almost identical move from the opposite flank, Leigh Phillips this time put a diving header just wide of the far post.

With order thus restored, the home side set about protecting their lead, making relatively little effort to increase the score apart from two efforts from Leigh Phillips. The first of these saw the Blackfield 'keeper bravely saving at the striker's feet and moments later when the ball broke loose in the visitors' area, he and Phillips raced to achieve possession. The Linnets' striker won the ball, leaving the 'keeper prone on the ground but was deemed to have done so illegally by the referee who booked him, much to the annoyance of the home side.

On the face of it then an emphatic scoreline, but it was a win which could and probably should have been by a greater margin, a factor which frustrated Linnets' manager Derek Binns. "When you score four goals before half-time, you're always going to be disappointed if you don't add to that," said Binns. "We missed out on the title last year on goal difference, so it's not something we want to do again. We came close four or five times, where we missed the target in the second half, and a few other occasions their 'keeper made some good saves. We are creating a lot of chances though, so I am happy about that."

Linnets' main rivals this season for the title are Andover, and both sides have yet to meet this season with the first of the two games coming at the start of next month, a prospect which Binns is relishing. "The two games against Andover are vital," he stressed. "I actually believe that whoever takes the points from those two matches will win the league. We've got the best defensive record in the league, and Andover have the best scoring record, so it's going to be very interesting."

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Stride, Gazzard, Kemp (Mottashed 70), Morris, Holmes, M. Hussey, Smith, S. Hussey (B. Phillips 70), Strong, N. Miles (L. Phillips 70).

Match reports on this site are based on those appearing in the New Milton Advertiser & Lymington Times (except where separately credited) with additional material from my own resources where relevant.