Match Report 2001/2002

Strong finish saves point for Linnets

Saturday 29th December 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 3, Gosport Borough 3

Despite a recent run of form, this was always the kind of match that would show just exactly how far Lymington & New Milton have progressed after beginning the season with a period of uncharacteristically poor performance. The record book may show the Linnets to have had an immaculate previous record against their visitors, having only conceded two goals to them in their previous six meetings, but Gosport have been one of the 'surprise' teams of the Wessex League and came into this match two places above their hosts, with notable away wins at league leaders Totton and at Thatcham, another form team.

The home side started well but were knocked out of their stride in the eighth minute when a well struck free-kick by Holland found the net to give Gosport the lead, rather against the run of play. It took L&NM five minutes to level the scores when Mark Smith hit an unstoppable shot from 30 yards after some good work by recent recruit Steve Tate. They then had a number of chances to take the lead as Leigh Phillips first got his head to a corner, but could only direct the ball straight at the Gosport 'keeper, and then glanced a good cross from Tate wide of the post.

After contributing significantly during the first period, Tate was then unfortunate to pick up a knock which was sufficiently serious to require his substituition a few minutes before the interval, Gareth Keeping taking his place. Keeping made an almost immediate impact when he found Leigh Phillips on the right whose squared pass to leading scorer Richie Glenister found him well placed to bury a shot and claim his 20th goal of the season.

This gave the home side a half-time lead which they held for all but five minutes of the second half. Indeed, they had a number of chances to increase it and had they done so, the result would almost certainly have been different. Nevertheless in a frenetic end to the game, Gosport seized an equaliser with only three minutes remaining when Scammell followed up a shot that had rebounded from the Linnets' crossbar. They then took the lead themselves moments later when a quick break allowed Thompson to take advantage of poor positioning by Kearn.

It required a timely strike by Steve Strong, only recently returned to the team, who chipped an equalising shot into the Gosport net two minutes into injury time, to claim his first goal of the season and save a point when his side were on the brink of defeat for the first time in eight games. And there was still time for Gosport's Neil Scammell to get himself sent off after an altercation with L&NM's Paul Gazzard!

Commenting afterwards, Graham Kemp admitted that his side had thrown victory away. "After working hard in the first half to get ourselves 2-1 up, we then had chances to put the result beyond doubt but we took our foot off the pedal a bit towards the end. In the end we were lucky to get a draw. All three of their goals were sloppy from our point of view."

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Strong, Gazzard, Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Drew [Liddon 68], Smith, L. Phillips, Glenister, Tate [Keeping 42], Unused sub. Marwood.

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.

  Online with the Linnets © Paul Johns MMII