Match Report 2001/2002

Linnets reach fifth dimension over BAT

Saturday 12th January 2002 : Jewson Wessex League

B. A. T. 0, Lymington & New Milton 3

I am sure that B.A.T. would be quite happy if they never had to play the Linnets ever again. I am equally sure that, from Graham Kemp's point of view, he would happily play them every week. The reason for this certainty rests in the fact that this was the fifth time these sides have met this season and on this occasion there seemed even less likelihood in time, space or any other dimension that quantum physicists may care to speculate on, that the home side was going to reverse the trend of four previous straight victories by the visitors.

To rub further salt into the Totton club's wounds, it must be said that those previous four victories came at a time which (sticking with the quantum physics metaphor), can best be described as the Linnets' "Uncertainty" period. Indeed, one of these previous encounters [in the Russell Cotes Cup] had been made into a "make or break" match by Graham Kemp, wounded as he was by the team's inadequate performance in losing at Whitchurch in the previous match - needless to say it was "make" rather than "break"!

There was at least one novelty factor to the match and that was provided by the return to colours of Jimmy Sheppard, the latest recruit to Graham Kemp's blending of youth and experience that has reshaped the Linnets' form over the last couple of months. It is a measure of just how much has changed since those dark days in Autumn that Kemp is now talking in terms of wanting to gain maximum points from the next six matches to launch a concerted attack on the league title, a prospect few could have envisaged when these two sides last met each other.

This result means that the New Forest side kept pace with leaders Fleet Town after goals from Green, Glenister and Keeping helped them to a comfortable 3-0 win and ensured that they stay within seven points of the top, with a couple of games in hand. Liam Green opened his Wessex League account 15 minutes before half-time, curling the ball home direct from a corner to make it 1-0. Leading scorer Richie Glenister then headed in a pinpoint Paul Gazzard cross to notch up his 21st goal of the season to double the Linnets' lead in the 70th minute. Gazzard turned provider again just ten minutes later, outpacing the BAT full-back before providing a perfect cross for substitute Gareth Keeping to make it 3-0 from close range.

The Linnets now face a month of fixtures against sides in the bottom half of the table and Kemp insists only victories will do. He added: "We have got a good month coming up now because all of our games are against the so called lesser sides. "I am targeting maximum points from them and we will be going all out to win. We have had a tough few weeks and came through it so we have got to make that hard work count." Ironically, one of those fixtures [at home to Whitchurch] is the reverse of the encounter that lead to the "now or never" ultimatum referred to earlier. It is to be sincerely hoped that no such motivation will required for that match!

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Strong, Green, Kemp, Morris, Gazzard, Sheppard, Drew, L. Phillips, Glenister [Keeping 71], Tate. Unused subs: Liddon, Mooney.

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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.

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