Match Report 2001/2002

Gritty Linnets grind out result

Saturday 29th September 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 1, Portland United 0

Needing points to get their Wessex league challenge back on track after the 'Whitchurch debacle', Lymington & New Milton showed for the second time in a week how they have given their backing to player-manager Graham Kemp in a hard-fought and gritty display against newly-promoted Portland.

The Linnets created a number of chances in the first half without any success to show for it ; Gareth Keeping was just wide of the target following a corner by James Bailey-Pearce and Matt Town's shot, having been played in by Richie Glenister, was well saved by the visitor's 'keeper. Following a rare Portland attack, Kearn was forced to save well to prevent the Dorset side taking a - largely undeserved - lead. Although enjoying a large measure of possession, L&NM lacked a 'cutting edge' and this, combined with some uncompromising tackling by the visitors and some 'niggly' refereeing , prevented the game from flowing.

It took until fifteen minutes into the second half before the Linnets were able to achieve the required breakthrough when a left-wing corner by Nick Bunyard was flicked on by Matt Town for Richie Glenister to head home. The result was nevertheless marred to some extent by the dismissal of Scott Metcalf for a two-footed challenge, only moments after coming on as substitute for the Linnets' goalscorer. The home side were consequently forced to play out the remaining fifteen minutes with only ten men, during which time the visitors tried to take advantage of their numerical superiority and Kearn, in the Linnets' goal, had to make four top-class saves to prevent them from snatching an equaliser.

In a fairly uninspiring match, the result was everything for Graham Kemp who, as reported on this site, was quite seriously considering his position after the Whitchurch result. Clearly the team's response has altered his perspective : "The performance out there showed why I never wanted to leave. Everyone gave 110% and the team spirit was good - there was no-one out there who didn't give their all - that's all I can ask for"

I think that, by now, nobody can be in any doubt as to Kemp's commitment and the standard he has set for himself and the team and it is gratifying to see the response that the team has given thus far. That resolve will be fully tested in their next fixture which is away to the reigning Wessex champions Andover. Last season the Linnets took four points out a possible six off the Lions and it would boost confidence immeasurably if they could achieve a similar haul this time round.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Gazzard, Bailey-Pearce, Kemp, Morris, Stride, Keeping, Bunyard (Grace 75), Glenister [Metcalf 70], Town [Marwood 75], 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.

  Online with the Linnets © Paul Johns MMI