Match Report 2000/2001

Three in a row as fixture backlog bites

Tuesday 3rd March 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 1, AFC Totton 1

Facing their fourth fixture in eight days and having drawn the previous two matches, Lymington & New Milton really needed to take three points from this game against the side immediately below them in the table to keep their Wessex League title hopes alive. They faced a Totton side working their way through an equally demanding schedule but fresh from two consecutive victories and a narrow defeat by league leaders Andover.

It was the visitors who started the brighter, building an attack which culminated in a neat back-heel by Sherrington to Cunningham, whose shot was tipped round the post by Kearn diving low to his right. The resulting corner was cleared and the home side countered but Smith's eventual shot lacked power and did not trouble ex-Linnet Shaw in the Totton goal. The visitors replied through Curtis who, starting from deep in his own half, embarked on a penetrating run that outwitted the Linnets defence; only for Morris to save at the last by diverting the shot on goal for a corner.

Lymington & New Milton's game gradually gathered momentum and Brett Phillips figured in providing some inviting crosses, one of which came back out to Kemp, whose long range shot went just wide of a post. Phillips was again involved in a promising move with Stuart Hussey which created a chance for Gazzard but unfortunately his effort was a bigger threat to the adjacent car park than the visitors' goal. The growing pressure did eventually pay off on 25 minutes when, following concerted pressure on the Totton goal, Shaw could only parry Town's point-blank shot into the path of Stuart Hussey; who slotted the ball home through a crowd of players.

Undeterred, the visitors hit back and Kemp was forced to make a goal-line clearance to deny Reacord. Play became end-to-end as each side tried hard to establish control although another period of concerted home pressure just before half-time resulted in a melee in front of Shaw's goal which ended with Hussey's shot being deflected over the crossbar for a corner. From the ensuing kick, Mottashed headed down to Hussey whose first-time shot went the wrong side of the Totton post.

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

As at the beginning of the match, the visitors were first to show in the second half as Bundy burst through the Linnets' defence only for Kemp to step in as last line of defence and avert the danger. Perhaps stung into action by this, Lymington & New Milton seized the initiative during which first Hussey and then Smith went close with efforts on the Totton goal. Further pressure yielded a free-kick which was played in to Mottashed and his shot was tipped over the bar by Shaw. From the corner, Mottashed used all his height to direct a powerful header goalwards only to be denied once again by Shaw.

Despite the home side's pressure, Totton looked dangerous on the break and the home defence was nearly caught out when Curtis once more broke through but Kearn made a good reaction save to foil him. Within a minute, Kearn was again called on to make a save and did well to parry a goalbound shot. Unfortunately for the Linnets, his block was picked up by the visitors and when the ball was chipped back into the danger zone, Cornwell was well placed to direct an equalising header into the unguarded net.

With the home side now on the back foot, Totton pressed for the lead and were unlucky not to get it as Bundy fired over the bar when well positioned. The Linnets replaced Holmes with Strong and Keeping for Town and this gave some added energy and momentum to midfield. Still the game could have gone either way as in the final minutes, first Brett Phillips saw his thumping shot deflected wide of goal by an unsuspecting defender before Strong's misplaced pass let in Reacord for a run on goal but his shot was pushed over the bar by Kearn to earn his side a point.

On the balance of play, as with the Wimborne game four days earlier, a draw was probably a fair result but coming as the third one in a row when victories were needed to keep pace with the league leaders was disappointing. Undoubtedly the Linnets have missed the formidable presence of their leading scorer Leigh Phillips during this time while he was serving a seven day suspension handed down by the Hampshire F.A. for bookings collected prior to last October! Manager Derek Binns had already gone on record to question the delay of Wessex League disciplinary procedures when compared to other leagues. But with Phillips apparently Bashley-bound at the end of the season, Lymington and New Milton will have to make continued plans for life without Leigh.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Stride, Gazzard, Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Mottashed, Holmes (Strong), Smith, Town (Keeping), S. Hussey, Unused sub : Grace.

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.