LYMINGTON & NEW MILTON FC Match Report 2001/2002

Linnets victorious in narrow derby contest

Monday 1st April 2002 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 1, Brockenhurst 0

Lymington & New Milton maintained their unblemished record against New Forest rivals Brockenhurst with a narrow victory at Fawcett's Field on Easter Monday, although the Badgers came as close as they ever have to breaking the spell seemingly cast over them by the Linnets. In recent times this encounter has been more in the vein of a reunion with so many players making the short move from New Milton to Brockenhurst and the Badgers once again fielded a number of ex-Linnets in their line-up.

Perhaps more notable, however, was the inclusion in the Brock side of John Bailey - the ex-AFC Bournemouth pro player - who had left Grigg Lane only a few days before after having reportedly been signed by Southern League side Dorchester Town. Bailey had apparently been unable to agree terms with the Dorset side and the transfer deadline had brought an end to any further discussion, thus freeing Bailey to return to Wessex League duty.

He nearly made an early impact in this match as it was the visitors who made the initial running. After Gareth Barnes had curled his shot the wrong side of a post, Bailey stepped forward to execute a free-kick which was only repelled by a goal-line clearance from Linnets' player-manager Graham Kemp. After this somewhat shaky start however, the home side started to impose themselves on the contest. Steve Tate hit a powerful shot just wide of a Brock post before the visiting defence were caught out by a pass "over the top" from Brett Phillips in the 14th minute. The ball was quickly brought under control by Richie Glenister who then coolly lobbed it over the oncoming 'keeper.

There were some lively exchanges after this set-back for the visitors and Linnets' defender Paul Gazzard was perhaps fortunate to escape with a just a severe talking-to by the referee after a rather rash two-footed tackle. A curious kind of "justice" was then meted out when Leigh Phillips found that he had incurred the referee's displeasure and earnt himself a yellow card for what had seemed a very innocuous challenge, which will add yet more substance to the notion that Phillips has become a 'marked' man these days.

Despite this, the home side were in no mood to surrender the intiative and the visitors' goalmouth became the target of a barrage of scoring attempts during which Glenister found the net again only to be ruled out for offside. Moments later, a long throw from Nigel Mottashed led to a shot from Leigh Phillips which was blocked by the Brock 'keeper, Staples, before Bailey effected a goal-line clearance of Phillips' toe-poked effort from the rebound. Chances came and went although it took a well timed tackle by Brock defender Carlo Tate to deny namesake Steve Tate when the Linnets' player looked poised to score. Just before the interval the Badgers managed to relieve the pressure briefly and got their first shot at the home goal on target but it was a weak effort from Dipper and easily claimed by Stewart Kearn.

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

After the restart, the balance of play shifted and although Gazzard narrowly missed with a far-post header it was the Badgers who created most of the action in the second-half. A quick break following Gazzard's miss found Linnets' 'keeper Stewart Kearn having to make a smart save to deny Andy Jones. Brock went even closer when an effort from Paul Sims rebounded off the crossbar and they continued to press with Powell's arcing header just clearing the bar. Try as they might however, the visitors generally found the Linnets' defensive trio of Kemp, Morris and Mottashed equal to the challenge - especially in the air.

The home side brought on Gareth Keeping in place of Ross Drew while Brock chose to bring on Chris Marwood, a recent departee from Fawcett's Field, in place of Jones. The pattern remained largely unaltered nevertheless with the visitors pressing for an equaliser while the home defence used all their cumulative experience to keep them at bay. With the contest thus on a knife-edge, one passage of play saw Kearn make a point-blank save to deny Barnes before the ball was cleared to the other end of the field and Leigh Phillips' powerful 25-yard strike had to be palmed away unconvincingly by Staples.

Still pressing for an equaliser, Brock were nearly made to pay when, after a long upfield clearance, Staples was enticed out of his goal to clear the ball downfield again only to see his effort ricochet off a colleague straight to Gareth Keeping whose first-time strike from 20 yards came back off a post. Still the home side hung on to their slender lead and in the last ten minutes brought on Matt Town and Paul Liddon in place of Richie Glenister and Brett Phillips, probably as much to disrupt the rhythm of the game as for any tactical purpose. Try as they might, the Badgers could not conjure the opening they wanted and the Linnets held out to record yet another bank holiday win.

Both managers took some satisfaction from the game. Brock's Paul Arnold was philosophical : "We had our chances, as they did, but it was one of those games and they defended very well." Linnets' boss Graham Kemp in the meantime was putting it into a practical perspective : "The important thing for us right now is to grind out the wins rather than play pretty football and we are doing that although we were forced to defend well against them."

Lymington & New Milton: Kearn, Drew [Keeping 60], B. Phillips [Liddon 85], Kemp, Morris, Gazzard, Sheppard, Mottashed, L. Phillips, Glenister [Town 80], Tate.

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