Match Report 2000/2001

Brett at the double not enough for Linnets

Tuesday 27th February 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 2, Wimborne Town 2

Having managed to avoid each other for the whole of this season, through weather induced postponements and cup competition cancellations, last season's top two finishers finally met in earnest at Fawcett's Field; in a much anticipated encounter. With both sides still nurturing title ambitions but having to make up ground on leaders Andover, a winning result was paramount for both teams; although recent form suggested this would be a close match.

In a side-issue, Lymington & New Milton were hoping to exact some revenge for the three defeats last season at the hands of their visitors which cost them both the league title and league cup. As club captain and manager-elect Graham Kemp said before the game, "I cannot foresee the lads not being up for this one because if we can't motivate ourselves against Wimborne we never will." The Linnets went into the game without leading scorer Leigh Phillips who was serving a suspension, although defender Paul Morris and midfielder Matt Hussey had both overcome bouts of the 'flu, having missed the previous match at Swanage.

With both sides eager to take an early hold on the match, it was the Magpies who started marginally the better and they had the lead on thirteen minutes when Sturgess aimed a right foot volley at the home goal from 25 yards out and the ball looped over the outstretched dive of Linnets' 'keeper Kearn. Immediately, the home side pressed for an equaliser but found their opponents matching them in all departments in what was developing into a fascinatingly open and flowing contest.

It was not until the half-hour mark that Lymington & New Milton were able to find a crack in the Wimborne defence. This came when Jason Stride latched onto a loose ball just outside the visitor's area and aimed a powerful low drive at goal. With Staples in the Magpies goal committed to saving the shot, Brett Phillips managed to intercept the ball and divert it past the wrong-footed 'keeper. Having achieved this breakthrough, the home side continued to press and within a few minutes took the lead when, after working a neat one-two with Stuart Hussey on the left of the Wimborne penalty area, Brett Phillips chipped the ball over Staples' head and into the net to double his tally.

This lead barely lasted beyond the half-time interval however, as the visitors set about restoring parity right from the kick-off. Only three minutes had elapsed when Gill made good progress on the right and from the resulting cross Kearn fumbled his save and Barnes was on hand to put the ball into the net and bring the scores level. With all still to play for, the game swung from end to end although clear-cut scoring chances were few and far between. Most notable were a 30 yard shot by Linnets' skipper Kemp which was tipped over the bar and, in the dying moments, another fumble by Kearn which Lovell was close to converting into a last-gasp winner.

Unfortunately, the real winners of this encounter were Andover since the result did little to improve the title-chances of either team, although on the balance of play the result was probably about right. Afterwards, Linnets' manager Derek Binns suggested that his team had been fortunate to gain even point when he said, "We defended far too deeply in the second half so the damage could have been a lot worse." Ironically this was the first time that Lymington & New Milton had drawn a league game this season, having managed to match Andover's record of only two defeats to date. Next up, Wimborne travel to Andover in two days time where a win would do their own, and the Linnets', chances a power of good.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Stride, Gazzard, Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Mottashed, Smith, Town, S. Hussey, Strong (M. Hussey 72), Unused subs : Keeping, 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.