Match Report 2001/2002

Linnets battle through to earn point

Saturday 8th September 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Bournemouth 1, Lymington & New Milton 1

Report based on that appearing in the Daily Echo

In the run-up this fixture was given a certain amount of 'hype' (at least locally!) in characterising it as a clash between "Wessex League Giants" [The Linnets - in case you didn't know!] and "Surprise early leaders" [Poppies]. Truth to tell, as anyone noting my pre-match comments will have noted, this was potentially a real test of Graham Kemp's depth of playing squad as well as being (to some degree) a test of management skills after L&NM's somewhat erratic start to the season.

For Poppies, the new management team of ex-Cherries Shaun Brooks and Keith Williams had effectively started with a clean slate in rebuilding a team almost from scratch. A key factor in these situations is confidence and there is no doubt that the revamped Poppies side is building theirs after getting some early wins under their belts.

It was Bournemouth who made the early running and within six minutes had put the ball in the Linnets' net when Clark headed home, only for the 'goal' to be disallowed for an earlier infringement. However the Poppies player did find the mark a short time later when he challenged Linnets' 'keeper Stewart Kearn for a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area. Kearn's attempted clearance was blocked by Clark and as the ball spun off his feet Clark was quickest to react, beating Kearn to the rebound and side-footing the ball into the net.

This signalled a spell of pressure from the home side and they might have considered themselves unlucky when Lucas, taking advantage of a defensive mix-up, was allowed to shoot narrowly wide from the edge of the area. Both defences then tightened up and as a consequence there were few further chances to enliven the first-half, the closest being for Poppies when Kearn was beaten to West's long through-ball by Clark, who headed just over the the Linnets' bar.

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

Poppies introduced Brooks for Clark at the start of the second-half and within seconds had nearly extended their lead but Till's effort ended up in the side-netting. This forced the Linnets' to dig in and once again the game became something of a stalemate. That is not to say it was uncompetitive however and this was illustrated fifteen minutes in when, in going for the same ball L&NM's Gary Grace and Bournemouth's Jimmy Edwards accidentally clashed head with a crack that reportedly could be heard in the main stand. Grace was stretchered off and although he tried to continue, Edwards soon had to leave the field, being replaced by Alsopp.

Ironically, this may have worked to the Linnets' advantage because, with the match ebbing away, Grace's replacement Nick Bunyard produced a fine run down the left and his pinpoint centre was met sweetly by Matt Town who headed the ball decisively past Rayner in the Bournemouth goal. This set up a frantic finale and the game became end-to-end as both sides fought to claim all three points but, despite over ten minutes of added 'injury-time' and a number of close shaves at both ends neither side was able conjure up a decisive strike.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Gazzard, Bailey-Pearce, Kemp, Morris, Boulton, Keeping [Metcalfe 57], G. Grace [Bunyard 64], Marwood [Walker 89], Town, Drew.

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.

  Online with the Linnets © Paul Johns MMI