Match Report 2001/2002

Two lots of Cherries too much for Linnets

Thursday 12th July 2001 : Pre-season Friendly

Lymington & New Milton 1, AFC Bournemouth 4

Photo courtesy Mick Cunningham/Sporting Media

The Linnets can thank assistant manager Paul Morrell for a choice opening match against the Cherries as part of their pre-season agenda. Morrell, who appeared over 400 times in AFC Bournemouth colours and regularly with AFCB's current manager Sean O'Driscoll, was apparently influential in persuading the Dean Court side to visit Fawcetts Field as part of their own warm-up for the forthcoming league campaign.

The Cherries had already loosened up for this match with a 7-0 win over Dorset Combination side, Hamworthy Recreation, whereas for the Linnets this was the first outing of the season. Consequently it was always going to be an uphill task to contain the Nationwide League side, even though manager O'Driscoll had made it clear that he was going to experiment with his team and include a number of triallists.

To coin a phrase, it was a game of two halves, with Bournemouth putting out an almost completely different team in the second half - the spectators therefore got two lots of Cherries for the price of one! Almost inevitably, it was one-way traffic for most of the game with the Linnets' goal under pressure throughout. Initially, Lymington & New Milton put up some stiff resistance, so much so that AFCB's Scottish Under-21 international Richard Hughes was pulled off after half an hour as a precautionary measure after suffering an injury. Ex-Bashley midfielder Wade Elliott replaced him for the remainder of the match.

Stewart Kearn was in good form in the Linnets' goal and he needed to be, beating away a snap-shot from Gareth O'Connor within two minutes. He then denied Cherries' new signing Amos Foyewa by tipping the striker's fierce shot onto the bar. Foyewa was not to be denied however and just before the half-hour he received the ball on the edge of the Linnets' penalty area, beat three defenders and drilled his shot just inside Kearn's left-hand post. Foyewa then turn goal-provider eight minutes later, squaring the ball into the path of defender Danny Smith who found the net with another low shot.

A couple of minutes later, only the thickness of a post denied Cherries' captain Steve Fletcher from scoring a goal on his comeback from injury when he headed a cross from Elliott against the woodwork. Shortly after, Gareth O'Connor made it three with a thunderous strike from outside the area. There was no let-up for the Linnets as Kearn was forced to block Foyewa while another cross was headed over the bar by one of the Cherries' triallists.

Half-Time : L.&N.M. 0, Cherries 3

As already mentioned, Bournemouth fielded an almost completely changed side after the restart with Wade Elliott being the only survivor from the first period. Almost immediately James Ford had a good strike on goal which Kearn did well to to push over. The Linnets re-grouped and worked hard to deny their opponents time and space to use the ball and this seemed to work for a while.

They held out for over twenty minutes and were perhaps slightly unfortunate when, during a goalmouth scramble the ball fell kindly to Chukki Eribenne who smashed his shot into the roof of the net. Kearn still pulled off two first-class saves to deny Brian Stock, while Warren Feeney was guilty of a bad miss near the end when he headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Finally there was some reward for the Linnets' efforts when Leigh Phillips latched onto a cross that the Bournemouth defence had failed to clear and headed home a consolation goal with two minutes remaining.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Gazzard, Walker, Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Miles, Keeping, Town, Glenister, Bailey-Pearce,  used subs : Metcalf, Merritt, Grace, Lavis, Rogers, L. Phillips, Woods.

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.