LYMINGTON & NEW MILTON FC Match Report 2001/2002

Glenister makes the difference for Linnets

Saturday 30th March 2002 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 1, Cowes Sports 0

Linnets' leading-scorer, Richard Glenister, was effectively the difference between these two sides with his first-half strike giving the home side the points in a surprisingly even contest. As well as settling the immediate issue, the goal will have come as a welcome boost to the Linnets' striker, whose last goal for the club had been nearly six weeks earlier. Thus was ended a frustrating period in which Glenister has spent a considerable time on the sidelines through injury, depriving the club of yet another striker during Leigh Phillips' suspension and Matt Town's recovery from serious knee damage sustained months earlier.

Despite having lost the reverse fixture, a midweek trip to the Island back in mid-January, this was a match which L&NM should - on form and past history - have expected to be a relatively comfortable one for them. Nothing could have been further from the truth however, as Cowes started in lively fashion and looked to grab the initiative in the opening exchanges. It required all the collective experience of home defenders Graham Kemp and Paul Morris as well as some alert goalkeeping by Stewart Kearn to ensure that the visitors gained no advantage from this early spell of pressure.

On a dry pitch, good ball-control was required but neither side distinguished themselves in that department. Gradually, however, the home side started to exert some pressure of their own and midfielder Mark Smith was unlucky when his effort faded just wide of the Cowes goal. Steve Tate nearly created a breakthrough when his well struck free-kick wasn't held by the visiting 'keeper but the Linnets were unable to capitalise as the ball was cleared. The home side continued to press and although chances were created, the Cowes defence generally held firm.

The deadlock was finally broken when, after some good work in midfield, Jimmy Sheppard played the ball through the visitor's back line into the path of Richie Glenister, who made no mistake with a well-drilled shot. Although Cowes tried to respond to this setback, by this time the Linnets' defence and midfield generally had the upper hand and while not creating any significant chances of their own, were able to deny their opponents any opportunity to get back into the match, whilst seeing out the remainder of the half.

Half-time : L&NM 1, Cowes 0

The match restarted with play much as it had been during the latter part of the first-half, with the Linnets generally on top. They created a lot more scoring chances as well with Glenister hitting a post, Keeping unable to get a clean strike when well positioned and Tate shooting over the bar. It was not all one-way traffic however, and the Islanders looked dangerous on the break, forcing the Linnets' defence to concentrate hard in order to not give up their slender advantage.

With only a single goal in it, Lymington & New Milton made a tactical change with a quarter of the match remaining, taking off Ross Drew and bringing on Paul Liddon. This allowed Mark Smith to switch to midfield - a position he is more accustomed to playing - and this seemed to give the team a better shape. Liddon also played his part with one particular run down the flank producing a cross which Glenister only just failed to connect with.

Attempting to put the game beyond their opponents' reach, the home side continued to press. Leigh Phillips produced a low cross which just eluded Tate and the visitors conceded a whole series of corners under pressure, without a decisive strike being applied. So it continued to the final whistle and although the Linnets undoubtedly took the match "on points", the end result was rather too close for comfort considering the amount of possession the home team had enjoyed.

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

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