Match Report 2001/2002

Twice in one week is fine for Linnets

Saturday 15th December 2001 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 1, Thatcham Town 0

Lymington & New Milton wouldn't mind if they had to play Thatcham Town every week at the current rate as they beat them for the second time within seven days by a solitary goal to nil at Fawcett's Field. The New Forest side had previously knocked Thatcham out of the Wessex League Cup in midweek, winning 2-1 at New Milton to take a 3-2 aggregate victory.

They didn't have this league encounter all their own way however, with Linnets' player-manager Graham Kemp giving particular praise to his defence. "It always seems to be the forwards who get the glory and acknowledgement if the team are doing well, but I have to say the defence was rock-solid in this game, said Kemp. "Stewart Kearn made some brilliant saves towards the end of the match to stop them from equalising and we had to defend deep. We could have won by a much bigger margin but still with just one goal in it we were a bit anxious in the last 15 minutes."

In fact it would have been no surprise if the Linnets had bagged five or six goals rather than the solitary one they did. Chances came and went before the only goal of the game which came on the half-hour mark as Gareth Keeping flicked on a Mark Smith corner and Richie Glenister stabbed the ball home from close range. Kemp's side had numerous further chances to increase their advantage with Glenister missing two great opportunities and Keeping going close when his lob over the advancing 'keeper just missed the target. Linnets' prolific marksman, Leigh Phillips, couldn't add to his tally and was guilty of a glaring miss when he failed to direct the ball goalwards from six yards out while the Thatcham 'keeper was stranded. He did put the ball in the back of the net ten minutes before time but the effort was ruled out for offside. Seeing all these chances spurned, Thatcham had come into the match in the last quarter with Kearn forced to tip a powerful 25 yard shot over his crossbar before making a point-blank save to deny the visitors. In the end, the home side were happy to just boot the ball out of play, much to the chagrin of the watching spectators, but they held on for the final whistle and another three invaluable league points.

Despite the missed opportunities, Graham Kemp was satisfied with his team's performance. The Linnets have lost only one game in their last nine outings, six of which have been away from home, and Kemp is hopeful that his side can challenge for the Wessex title in what he believes is a very open season. "All we can do is try and keep the pressure on the teams at the top by concentrating on our own game and trying to push ourselves as far up the league as we can. As it stands, I am more than happy with how things are going here. We're not going to set our targets too high because we have quite a young side and they're all doing very well at the moment."

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Liddon, B. Phillips, Kemp, Morris, Mooney, Smith, Keeping, L. Phillips [Metcalf 88], Glenister, Drew. Unused subs : McDonald, 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 MMI