LYMINGTON & NEW MILTON FC Match Report 2001/2002

Cards galore but Tate does the trick

Saturday 23rd March 2002 : Jewson Wessex League

Lymington & New Milton 2, AFC Totton 0  [Attendance :90]

As a consequence of fixture postponements, these two sides had not faced each other for twelve months before this encounter. Back in early March last year, Totton came to Fawcett's Field to play a side harbouring (albeit fading) championship hopes which were dented still further by the draw that the team from Testwood Park earned that day. Fast forward, and we find the situation almost reversed, with the visitors having occupied top spot in the league for a considerable period of time, while the Linnets have been battling to stay in the 'chasing pack' for this season's title.

With both sides keen to get the maximum out of this game it was always going to be a tense affair and likely to need firm control from the officials. What it got was a referee who found it necessary to send off two players in the first twenty-five minutes and to book six others, much to the frustration of all concerned. Quite whether the game warranted such a 'heavy-handed' approach is an extremely moot point.

Nevertheless, Totton full-back Stuart Salter received his marching orders on 20 minutes when he picked up a second yellow card for kicking out at Paul Gazzard. Linnets' striker Richie Glenister then made it two dismissals in two minutes after questioning referee Fortescue's decision not to award L&NM a penalty after Nigel Mottashed had fallen in the box. The Linnets' player-manager, Graham Kemp, also found himself in the book when he confronted the Broadstone-based official after a foul on Mark Smith which led to the midfielder being substituted after only twenty-five minutes.

All of which threatened to overshadow an excellent, if committed, performance by the home side who took the points at the end of the day. It was Steve Tate who opened the scoring just before half-time as he let Gazzard's long-ball drop over his shoulder before unleashing an unstoppable volley past ex-Linnet Wayne Shaw in the Totton goal. It was Steve Tate again who wrapped up the points after the break with another fine volley.

Despite the vistory, Linnets' boss Graham Kemp was clearly upset at the way the game had been handled. Concerning his own booking, Kemp said: "I asked him why kicking someone in the back didn't warrant a booking when he had already sent two men off. He said that I'd just talked myself into the book and when I asked whether it was for dissent he replied, `Yes, and you can put that in the Echo.' It was outrageous." The referee declined to comment. On the positive side, Kemp was enthusiastic about his team's performance : "It was a brilliant, professional team display and everyone deserves credit."

With all the other leading sides winning, this result did nothing to clarify the title-race except perhaps to make Andover's task a little easier with all the games they have in hand. Totton cling on to top spot by virtue of goal-difference but now face two more away games against other contenders when they meet Gosport on Tuesday and Moneyfields next Saturday. The Linnets meanwhile have to gird themselves for another encounter with Andover in the Russell Cotes Cup, next Wednesday before another home league match (against Cowes) next Saturday.

Lymington & New Milton: Kearn, Gazzard, B. Phillips [Mottashed, 65], Morris, Drew, Kemp, Sheppard, Smith [Keeping, 25], Tate, L. Phillips [Town, 70], Glenister.

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