Match Report 2000/2001

Smith double as Linnets hit top form

Saturday 18th November 2000 : Jewson Wessex League

Fleet Town 0, Lymington & New Milton 3

If the Linnets approached this game with any trepidation, given their injury list and the home side's good form, then it would have soon been dispelled by the way they performed in this match. The home side, relegated last season from the Doc Marten's League and only one place below Lymington & New Milton in the table, would have hoped to take something from this game and so strengthen their chance of an early return to the higher echelon.

Indeed, from the kick-off they pressured the Linnets' defence and the visitors had an early escape when a shot shaved the outside of their goalpost. This sparked an immediate response and a period of pressure was eventually rewarded when Strong was pulled down in the Fleet penalty area and a spot-kick was awarded. However, Leigh Phillips' shot was not well-struck, allowing the home 'keeper to make a save.

Although the visitors enjoyed better possession, the contest became more even with solid defending by the home side affording the Linnets few goalscoring opportunities. Good work by Stride and Smith created an opening for Strong whose effort brought a excellent save from the home 'keeper but gradually the game developed into a midfield tussle with both defences performing well. With time running out and both sides apparently content to get to half-time without conceding, Lymington & New Milton enjoyed a moment of good fortune when a clearance by the home defence found Mark Smith unmarked on the edge of the penalty-area and his rasping, rising shot found the top right hand corner of the net, with the 'keeper stranded.

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

With the home side now forced to chase the game, this offered the opportunity for the Linnets to play on the break and so it proved. Early pressure from Fleet found Kearn in fine form in the visitor's goal and their attacks came to nothing. Meanwhile quick, accurate passing by the Linnets' midfield always threatened a counter-punch and on 65 minutes this paid dividends when Stride played a perfect pass into the run of Mark Smith who rammed his shot home.

This move seemed to inspire Lymington & New Milton and they proceeded to take complete control with a performance that matched any this season so far. Manager Derek Binns took the opportunity to rotate his squad replacing Huxford, only recently returned from injury, with Nick Miles who had recovered from his own injury more quickly than expected, while his side continued to press the Fleet defence.

Further substitutions saw Brett Phillips and Matt Town replacing Gazzard and Strong with little change to the pattern of play as the visitors pressed for more goals. However it took until two minutes from time before they were able to apply the final blow when Matt Town headed home from Smith's cross to complete an excellent all-round display.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Stride, Kemp, Morris, Mottashed, Gazzard, Sheppard, Huxford, Smith, Strong, L. Phillips,  subs : Miles, Town, 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.