Match Report 2001/2002

Linnets rebound in style

Monday 27th August 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 4, Fleet Town 0

Following their weekend trouncing in the F.A.Cup, player-manager Graham Kemp shuffled his pack and gave first of the season starts to Gareth Keeping, James Bailey-Pearce and Gary Grace and was rewarded by an immediate return to form of his team. If the visitors, unbeaten in their three opening league fixtures, thought that there would be any hang-over from Saturday's shock result, then those thoughts were soon dispelled.

The home side exerted their authority over the team from North Hampshire right from the start of this match and within moments the visitor's 'keeper was in action trying to keep his goal intact. He did not succeed for very long, although a controversial decision by the officials had a large hand in the opening goal. With only seven minutes gone, Leigh Phillips latched onto a long through ball from Graham Kemp while the visitors appealed vigourously for offside. Waved on, Phillips found himself one against one with the Fleet 'keeper who managed to block the striker's effort. However, the ball fell kindly to Gareth Keeping on the Linnets' right. Keeping floated the ball back to Phillips who flicked it across the face of the visitors' goal where it was met by the incoming Richie Glenister who headed it across the line.

Two minutes later they were two up, with Leigh Phillips chipping the ball over the onrushing Fleet 'keeper following a cross from Linnets' summer signing Ross Drew. Kemp's tactical changes appeared to be working very well, with Gareth Keeping in particular working hard in midfield to prevent any response from the visiting team and the result of this was that Stewart Kearn was hardly troubled in the home goal. Indeed, both Phillips and Glenister had further chances to put the result beyond doubt by half-time but these were squandered.

Half-Time : L.&N.M. 2, Fleet 0

No doubt mindful of the previous Saturday's lesson in "killing off your opponents", Lymington & New Milton sought to press their advantage in the second half but for a time did not look like succeeding and the game became something of a stalemate. Often, in such circumstances, making a change can pay dividends and Kemp made two in quick succession just before the half-way mark, bringing on Mark Boulton for Gary Grace and Matt Town in place of Richie Glenister.

Whether this tipped the balance is difficult to say but within a few minutes of these changes, the home side won a free-kick which was teed up for Leigh Phillips to score with an unstoppable header to claim his second of the match. Five minutes later the ball broke to Gareth Keeping whose shot from 25 yards was equally unstoppable. In the final quarter of an hour, the Linnets were able to indulge in a touch of keep-ball, with the visitors unable to pose any real threat and the home side seeming to be satisfied with the work they had done.

After the match Graham Kemp expressed relief that the team had bounced straight back from the Cup defeat. "I changed the tactics quite a lot against Fleet and the result was everything. We got two goals at the right time, so I was pleased with the response". He went on to say "It's a bit of a cliché, but the league is the most important thing". Having said very much the same thing only a short time ago on this website - I can only concur!

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Gazzard, Bailey-Pearce, Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Keeping, G. Grace [Boulton 63], L. Phillips, Glenister [Town 66], 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.

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