Match Report 2000/2001

Old boys unable to counter derby superiority

Monday 16th April 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Brockenhurst 0, Lymington & New Milton 2

This was a local derby bristling with the sub-plot of a home side employing so many players who had, until relatively recently, worn the colours of the visiting team. In fact Jimmy Sheppard was lining up against a former team that had made it a condition of his transfer that he should not play against them in the reverse of this fixture last Boxing Day. These former Linnets were striving to overturn a record of seven straight victories by the visitors over their Forest rivals since the Lymington and New Milton clubs amalgamated. Fresh from a convincing 5-1 win over reigning champions Wimborne and suitably "pumped up" by their manager beforehand, the Badgers were facing an L. & N.M. team with four straight wins in the previous ten days under their belts and still harbouring hopes of a second Wessex League title in three years.

With the stage thus set beforehand and a bank holiday crowd of around 200 spectators to play to, both teams were keen to establish an early edge over their rivals. It was the home side who showed first with Cort's hanging cross forcing Kearn to save under considerable pressure. This was followed by a header by Stone from Cort's centre that flew just wide of goal. Lymington & New Milton countered and Leigh Phillips wriggled his way through the Brock defence only to see his eventual shot rebound from the crossbar. Then build-up play between Smith and Town contrived to put Leigh Phillips in with another chance on goal but he shot wide when it seemed easier to score.

Play was now switching from end to end as both teams strove to fashion a breakthrough. A free-kick from Linnets' player-manager Kemp was fisted away from Leigh Phillips' forehead by Frank in the Brock goal before Kearn had to make a similar save at the other end, beating the ball away from Steer. An attack by L. & N.M. saw Brett Phillips let fly with a powerful strike from 25 yards which produced a flying full-length save from Frank who just managed to tip the ball round the post with an outstretched hand. With Kemp exhorting his players to be patient, the Linnets were gradually gaining the initiative over the home side. This paid off on 37 minutes when a ball was played up Leigh Phillips who, with a slight glancing flick, headed the ball between two defenders into the path of Matt Town whose low shot beat Frank. Not content to rest on their lead, the Linnets then contrived to set up Smith who shot wide with only Frank to beat.

Half-Time : Brockenhurst 0, L. & N.M. 1

It was almost inevitable that the home team would press for an equaliser from the restart and with Dancer on in place of Steer that was exactly what they did. An early cross from the left ended with both Kearn and the ball being bundled into the net but the cheers of the Brock supporters were stilled by the referee who had spotted an infringement. The Badgers continued to press and won a free-kick on the edge of the Linnets' area. This was played diagonally to Dancer standing almost on the goal-line and just wide of the visitors' goal but his shot flashed across the goal-mouth without anyone on hand to give it a final touch. Another home attack set up a chance for Sims, whose shot got the slightest of touches by Kearn to deflect it wide of the far post as L. & N.M. battled to keep a hold on their lead.

Having weathered this early pressure, the Linnets countered as first, Leigh Phillips shot wide with the Brock 'keeper stranded and then moments later the same player contrived to shoot wide of the other post after having been put through by Holmes. Back came Brock and Stone had a shot from point-blank range parried by Kearn, who smothered the follow-up right on the goal-line while the ex-Linnet could only look on in disbelief. This episode seemed to give L. & N.M. the necessary spur to regain the initiative and as Strong came on in place of Stride, they pressed forward. The result was a succession of corners with both the two Phillipses, Brett then Leigh, putting in crosses which could not find a finishing touch. From another corner, Stuart Hussey got in a header which was cleared off the line and from yet another corner, Town could only watch with incredulity as his attempted lob actually ran along the Badgers' crossbar before going out of play.

With only a one goal advantage and needing to make sure of the points, there was palpable relief from the Linnets when, with five minutes remaining, an astute pass by Brett Phillips found Stuart Hussey unmarked and with time to shoot past Frank to secure the victory. Both players were then immediately substituted by Keeping and Miles in preparation for a final push by the home side. To their credit, Brock battled on and Kearn was forced to race out of goal to clear off the foot of the onrushing Stone, however Lymington & New Milton held out to maintain the jinx they have over their rivals and former team-mates.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Stride, Morrell, Kemp, Morris, Holmes, B. Phillips, Smith, S. Hussey, L. Phillips, Town, subs. Miles, Keeping, Strong.

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.