Match Report 2000/2001

Poppies beaten by Hussey solo strike

Saturday 28th April 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 1, Bournemouth 0

Following the disappointment of their defeat two days before at the hand of local rivals Christchurch - effectively ending any final Wessex League title ambitions, the Linnets returned to winning ways against Bournemouth Poppies and thereby appeased player-manager Graham Kemp's wrath. Kemp had been nearly incandescent with rage at what he perceived as his team's lack of effort in the Christchurch match, possibly fuelled by his previous ringing declaration that the Linnets intended to make Andover earn every point they needed for the title. However, he was satisfied with this performance : "It was a 100 per cent improvement and we played some good stuff".

Poppies had their chances, particularly in the first half when Taylor had a shot on the Linnets goal from close range but directed it straight at 'keeper Kearn. However, the home side enjoyed the best of the contest without getting the goals that would have written a more decisive score into the record books. Said Kemp, "If we had gone in 3-0 up at half time they [Poppies] couldn't have complained. We had about 80 per cent possession". Ultimately it came down to a single strike half-way through the second half by Stuart Hussey who sped up the right flank before cutting inside, leaving a number of Poppies' defenders in his wake, before curling his shot round the 'keeper and another defender on the goal-line.

The home side had further opportunities to extend their lead when Hussey shot wide and Town squandered two good chances but in the end it was Hussey's solo effort which clinched the result. Poppies manager Brian O'Donnell was disappointed : "They deserved to win. I was disappointed with the way we played especially in the first half." Perhaps his side were saving themselves for Monday night's match against that "other Bournemouth team" from Dean Court, a specially arranged fixture to mark the Poppies' 125th Anniversary as a club.

For Graham Kemp, this result saw the Linnets move onto 102 league points - two more than last season when finishing runners-up on goal difference to Wimborne - and with three matches still to play. Andover however, have already reached 111 points and, if 'Triple Nelson' fails to strike in the Linnets' favour (which would mean Andover losing their remaining three games while L.&N.M. won all theirs by a 42 goal margin), they have therefore won the title. Frustrating for the Linnets since they took 4 out of a possible 6 points from the Lions and the reason his side had failed to keep pace with the champions-elect was, Kemp suggested, because they had "lost to teams we really should have beaten comfortably". Actually that is a bit harsh since L.&N.M. have lost 3 games to date, compared to 2 by Andover. It has also been the failure to 'see off' opponents, resulting in drawn matches, that have contributed to the Linnets' downfall having recorded 6 draws thus far; compared to 3 for the Lions.

All of which statistical analysis is merely of the "if only" variety and by way of an attempt to comprehend the disappointment of finishing runners-up again. More hopeful is Kemp's view of his team's reaction to this week's events : "I was very pleased with the way the players reacted [following the Christchurch defeat] because it is the first time I've had to have a go at them and they responded brilliantly". He went on to say : "I am disappointed we haven't won it [the title] but I am pleased with the attitude of the players since I've been in charge. That bodes well for next season".

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Stride, Mottashed, Kemp, Morris, Keeping (Lavis 75), Holmes, Smith, S. Hussey, Town (Rogers 70), Miles, unused sub., B. Phillips.

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.