Match Report 2001/2002

Phillips signs off with with Hat-trick

Saturday 1st September 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

AFC Newbury 2, Lymington & New Milton 4

This fixture was brought forward from it's original date to fill a void in both clubs' schedules caused by early (and in the Linnets' case traumatic) exits from the F.A. Cup. It was also a "last-chance" for L&NM's striker Leigh Phillips to show his worth before being sidelined by the unexpectedly extended suspension handed out by the Hampshire F.A. based, seemingly, on what they considered to be too much "previous".

Following the welcome return to form in their previous game - last Monday's Bank Holiday fixture against Fleet - Graham Kemp stuck with an almost unchanged side despite looming suspensions for the aforementioned Phillips, as well as his namesake Brett. The only changes were the replacement on the bench of also to be suspended defender Jason Stride by James Woods and the introduction of new signing, striker Chris Marwood, in place of the still recuperating Matt Town.

Newbury started the game brightly and were rewarded when an early defensive mix-up by the Linnets allowed them to take a 6th minute lead, the first league goal to be conceded by L&NM in the current campaign. Although shaken by this early set-back, the Linnets started to take control of the match by pressing their opponents and giving them little time to develop any moves. This gradually tilted the game in L&NM's favour but it was not until about half an hour's play had elapsed before they fashioned an equaliser.

With the home side holding a steady line to try to contain strikers Leigh Phillips and Richie Glenister, a clever through ball was played into the path of Brett Phillips who, having beaten the "offside trap" found himself one-on-one with the Newbury 'keeper. Phillips' effort was blocked but the ball broke kindly to the supporting James Bailey-Pearce who scored with ease to register his first goal since joining from Bournemouth in the close season. Within five minutes, Lymington & New Milton had taken a deserved lead when Leigh Phillips headed home an accurate cross by Drew. Having taken command of the game, the Linnets were able to play out the remaining ten minutes well on top, with the home side seemingly stunned by their double-strike.

Half-Time : Newbury 1, L.&N.M. 2

The second period started with play being fairly even between the two sides. A number of chances were created at both ends without anyone being able to take advantage. Lymington & New Milton gradually began take control of the match again with industrious work in midfield once more denying their hosts the time to create any sort of initiative. On the hour, it was this midfield pressure that created L&NM's third goal, with possession having been seized the ball was played up to Richie Glenister. His headed pass fell nicely into the path of Leigh Phillips, who was able to lob the onrushing 'keeper to give the visiting side a clear lead.

The Linnets took this opportunity to bring on debutant Chris Marwood in place of Glenister and Mark Boulton for Gary Grace, thus giving fresh impetus to their game. It paid off when Marwood took the opportunity presented by a loose ball to beat his marker and thus put himself through on goal. As with the first goal, the initial effort was blocked but again the ball fell kindly for L&NM, rebounding into the path of Leigh Phillips whose instant strike found the net with the home defence in complete disarray and thus completed his first hat-trick of the season. Despite the arrears, the home side did not give up although by now the Linnets were effectively coasting. Their reward was to grab a last-minute consolation goal which gave the score a slightly more respectable look without seriously denting a thoroughly competent performance by Lymington & New Milton.

Just how much Leigh Phillips will be missed will show over the next few weeks. Comparisons have been made between his ban and those usually handed out to players in Premiership or Football League sides, while there has been some talk of a challenge to the ruling. Bearing in mind that the result of the previous appeal was to have the ban extended however, will mean that a thoroughly clear-headed analysis of the situation will be needed before any action is taken.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Gazzard, Bailey-Pearce, Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Keeping, G. Grace [Boulton], L. Phillips, Glenister [Marwood], Drew, unused sub: Wood.

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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