Match Report 2001/2002

Linnets back to winning ways

Saturday 9th March 2002 : Jewson Wessex League

Swanage Town & Herston 0, Lymington & New Milton 3

Report based on that by the Daily Echo

After the somewhat unexpected hiatus of two consecutive home defeats, Lymington & New Milton returned to winning ways at Day's Park in executing a comfortable victory that never seemed in doubt. Playing a Swanage side that has struggled all season to find any meaningful form, it was the least that player-manager Graham Kemp could have expected although it had the added bonus of a return to goal-scoring ways by long-term injury victim Matt Town.

Still recovering from knee-ligament damage but pressed into action because of the Linnets' shortage of strikers, Town played for 45 minutes in the recent League Cup defeat by Andover. He then started the match in the midweek defeat by Fareham but was substituted just after half-time. This time he made his appearance at the start of the second-half replacing leading-scorer Richie Glenister who himself had to sit out the previous two games because of an injury from which he has not yet fully recovered.

Town's performance, capped by a goal (L&NM's third), might well have been enough to persuade Graham Kemp that the striker is worthy of a new contract when his existing one expires at the end of the season. Said Kemp : "Matty is one of those gutsy players who is loved by everyone at the club and he got the loudest cheer of the afternoon when he scored his goal. He's one of those players who is respected by everyone and I know all the other lads were delighted to see him score. He had been out for a while and he is still not fully fit but with so many other injuries we needed him to play and he gave everything."

"We weren't expecting him to be back until the end of the season and he is still about a month away from full fitness, so to come back in and do so well shows the type of person he is" Kemp added. "He's not going to be a regular again until next season really and once we have got a couple of players back we will demote him to the reserves and give him a chance to work on his fitness. His contract is up at the end of the season so we will assess his fitness but I am sure we will offer him a new deal - he is a great lad."

Town, who has been sidelined with a ligaments injury since December, was drafted into the Linnets' squad in the absence of the injured Steve Strong and 'star' striker Leigh Phillips; who is still suspended. Nigel Mottashed retained his place, having impressed on his return to meaningful action in the Fareham defeat, but Graham Kemp omitted himself from the team for only the third time in 44 matches so far this season. On paper at least, the Linnets had a distinctly 4-4-2 look about them, rather than the 3-5-2 formation much favoured by Kemp in the past.

Whatever the reality of the line-up, Lymington & New Milton were rarely troubled by their hosts and it was Liam Green who opened the scoring on 20 minutes, seizing on a defensive mix-up before firing into an unguarded net to make it 1-0. Fifteen minutes later and they had doubled their lead when Paul Gazzard added the second, planting a bullet header beyond the Swans' goalkeeper Stewart James, after Nigel Mottashed's corner had been flicked on by Mark Smith. Fifteen minutes into the second-half L&NM made it three as they cruised to victory. Midfielder Brett Phillips broke down the right before playing in the perfect centre for Matt Town to tuck the ball home from close range.

In truth, the Linnets' 100% record against Swanage never looked like being significantly challenged and the result should be seen in that context. Nevertheless it will have been a welcome boost after the recent hiccup in form and with Leigh Phillips due to make an imminent return to the side, thus easing the selection problems, Lymington & New Milton will be looking to make progress up the league table once more.

Lymington and New Milton: Kearn, Mottashed, B. Phillips, Gazzard [Mooney 60], Morris, Drew, Sheppard, Smith, Tate, Glenister [Town 45], Green. Unused sub: Morrell.

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