LYMINGTON & NEW MILTON FC Match Report 2001/2002

Three for Leigh gets Linnets flying again

Tuesday 9th April 2002 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 5, Downton 0

Leigh Phillips rediscovered his goal-scoring form with a vengeance in this match, managing to notch a hat-trick inside the opening twenty minutes as Lymington & New Milton comprehensively beat Downton at Fawcett's Field. Phillips thus ended a goal 'drought' which had seen him fail to register on the scoresheet since returning from suspension nearly four weeks and eight games ago. Whether the controversy surrounding his return (with L&NM and Phillips "accused" of ending the suspension period too early) has affected his form only he can say but that would seem to be academic now.

Of course, Phillips is no stranger to scoring against Downton, since he notched a hat-trick (as well as missing a penalty) on the Wiltshire club's last visit to New Milton, which the Linnets won 8-1. In that game however, most of the goals came late on when the visitors' stubborn resistance had been broken down. In this match the home side seemed intent on establishing their credentials with all possible speed - the legacy, perhaps, of a long "post-mortem" following their disappointing defeat last Saturday at Totton.

Perhaps some personnel changes made a difference as well, with Jason Stride returning to the side to make a rare appearance for the team and with Matt Town starting in place of Richie Glenister. Whatever the cause it took only three minutes before Stride provided a cross which Leigh Phillips headed comfortably home. Only two minutes later, Gareth Keeping was on hand to score with a well-executed finish. Downton managed to survive without conceding for nearly a quarter of an hour but then were hit with "double-whammy" as Leigh Phillips powered home a left-foot drive and it took only another sixty seconds before the ball was in the net again, Leigh Phillips this time converting a centre from Keeping to score with his head. For a time it looked as though the floodgates might open as the Linnets managed to hit the woodwork on three separate occasions before half-time but they clearly eased up after the break and the only addition to the score came from Matt Town with the game drifting to its conclusion.

With champions-elect - Andover - shortly due at Fawcett's Field, player-manager Graham Kemp must hope that this result has put his side back on the winning track, particularly since they have lost four times to the North Hampshire side already this season. "If we lose to Andover, finishing third is the best we can hope for. But if we win, there's no reason why we can't finish second or even try to push for top spot," concluded Kemp.

Lymington & New Milton: Kearn, Stride, Gazzard, Kemp, Morris, Keeping, Smith [Drew 30], Strong, Green, Town, L. Phillips. Unused subs: Tate, B. Phillips.

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