Match Report 2000/2001

Linnets are better by Miles over 'Old Boys'

Tuesday 26th December 2000 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 2, Brockenhurst 0

A Nick Miles goal in each of the first and last quarters of this keenly-awaited Boxing Day local derby, gave Lymington & New Milton the points in an evenly contested match at Fawcetts Field. The home side were looking for a lift after struggling to beat lowly Portsmouth RN three days earlier, while improving Brock were fresh from a 3-1 win at Downton and looking to reverse a trend which has seen the Linnets record 7 straight league and cup victories over their Forest rivals, since moving to New Milton.

What better way then for the visitors to try to achieve this than by having no fewer than eight ex-Linnets available to "put one over" on their former team (it would have been nine but it was a condition of Jimmy Sheppard's recent transfer that he should not figure in this game). Brock also included much sought after Cherries' triallist Ben Thomson, who was later taken off with a slight knock.

The home side made the early running however, with a Leigh Phillips header held just under the bar and a Steve Strong shot finding the side-netting. Brock's best chance came when a diagonal ball by Stone found Thomson but his shot was denied by Jason Stride. Thomson, on the odd occasion, displayed why people are enthusing about his potential. But, on the whole, he and Cort were largely contained by the determination of "veteran" defenders Stride and Morris, in an interesting battle, while Brett Phillips was usually on hand to act as reinforcement.

Indeed, the diminutive Stride, who himself was nearly lured away by Brock during the close season, generally impressed with a display of astute anticipation of opposition moves and a willingness to get forward at every opportunity to join the attack, at one point unleashing a 20-yard volley which visiting 'keeper Frank held at the second attempt.

Lymington & New Milton took the lead on thirteen minutes when a long ball from the middle of the park hit Gardner on the back of the head and fell nicely into the path of Nick Miles who then launched off on a sizzling head-down run through four defenders, before firing home past Frank from 10 yards out. Minutes later, the visitors had a chance to square things when a breakaway move had the home defence outnumbered by three against four until Kemp stopped Thomson in his tracks to avert the danger.

The game developed with some hard tackling in evidence and, perhaps in an effort to stamp his authority on proceedings, the referee felt obliged to issue a number of yellow cards, first to Hillyer for his challenge on Strong and then to Adams for his tackle on the same player. Leigh Phillips also went into the book for an aerial challenge on Frank but, although being keenly contested, this match was not a 'dirty' one.

Towards the interval the visitors pressed for an equaliser and nearly got it when, after a 60 yard run from Thomson, ex-Linnet Phil Stone fired his effort into the side netting. Home skipper Graham Kemp was then forced to head away a dangerous looking cross by Cort as Brock finished the half strongly.

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

The home side pressed to increase their advantage at the start of the second-half and Brock 'keeper Frank had to pull off a fine save when Steve Strong headed goalwards from Mark Smith's cross. Gradually, however, the visitors fought their way back into the match. Just after the hour mark, with Holmes on for the home side in place of Strong, the visitors won a free-kick which ended with Dancer's looping header just clearing the bar. Thus encouraged, they forced two corners in quick succession and from the second of these Adams could have considered himself unfortunate not to have put Brock back on level terms after he bravely headed the ball into the home net, before colliding with the upright. Following treatment, he got up only to find that his effort had been disallowed for offside.

Having weathered the storm, the Linnets strove to put the match beyond the visitors' reach and with a quarter of an hour remaining, Nick Miles again pounced on a loose ball in a seemingly unthreatening position outside the penalty area. He then breezed past three Brock defenders, drew the 'keeper before scoring from a tight angle with Frank beaten. Almost immediately he was replaced by Town, while with ten minutes left, Mottashed came on in place of Leigh Phillips as the home side looked to close out the game. In the final exchanges, Stone briefly raised Brock's hopes with a fierce drive that came back off a defender. At the other end, Stride found Mark Smith who almost made it three but was denied by a fingertip save from Frank who tipped the ball round the post.

Linnets' manager Derek Binns was pleased with the eventual outcome, conceding that it had been a close match and stating that it had been the best performance against the Linnets by a Brock team in several years.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Stride, Gazzard, Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Miles (Town 77), Smith, L. Phillips (Mottashed 80), S. Hussey, Strong (Holmes 60).

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.