Match Report 2001/2002

Linnets say good-'bye' to Vase hopes

Saturday 10th November 2001 : F.A. Carlsberg Vase Round 2

Lymington & New Milton 1, Wimborne Town 2

With so much recent 'history' between these two sides it was perhaps inevitable that there would be some 'oneupmanship' preceding this tie, particularly since the two clubs were scheduled to meet again in the league only three days later! So it was that Wimborne manager Alex Pike made his bid to steal the psychological advantage with his comment about being given a 'bye' in this round. Anyone not already familiar with the joke - see the 'News & Views' section for November 2001. In purely playing terms both sides, who have been 'top three' finishers in the Wessex League for the past two seasons, were in the unusual position of coming to this match having only won one of their last four fixtures.

Previous contests between these two sides have tended to produce fluent, quality football and after a nervous and stuttering opening ten minutes, this became the pattern of the the game. Lymington & New Milton created the first clear opportunity when Paul Morris dropped a 40-yard pass into the Magpies' six-yard area, which found Ross Drew unmarked but his 'free' header was wasted as he put the ball wide of the target.

A short time later however, The Linnets achieved a successful strike on goal. Matt Town chased a ball out wide and crossed to the far post for Richie Glenister to head back towards the Wimborne goal. Frank, the Magpie's 'keeper, could only palm the ball into the path of Linnets' midfielder Mark Smith, who duly dispatched his shot past Frank and into the net.

Unfortunately for the home side, having played his part in setting up the goal, Town was only to participate for another ten miuntes. The Linnets' striker, who had caused the visitor's defence some problems with his mobility, fell awkwardly after a challenge from a Wimborne defender and left the field with his legs strapped; having been replaced by Scott Metcalf. Town was later discovered to have sustained knee ligament damage which is likely to see him sidelined for eight weeks.

There was potentially damage of a different kind five minutes before half-time when Linnets' 'keeper Stewart Kearn clattered into Magpies' Stuart Cannie with a challenge that Cannie took great exception to and for which he attempted to retaliate. The two players were immediately surrounded by a possee of teammates from both sides as tensions briefly boiled over. Cannie received a yellow card for thus expressing his displeasure and he was joined in the referee's notebook by team-mate Jason Lovell and L&NM defender Paul Gazzard, while Kearn somehow avoided any official retribution.

Briefly, the game threatened to turn ugly and only moments later Brett Phillips also found his name being added to the referee's list for a foul on the aggrieved Cannie. However with half-time looming, things calmed down and the visitors finally manage to fashion a clear opening. Deep into time added on, Moore proceeded to dazzle his way down the wing and his cut-back left Cannie with a clear sight of goal from 10 yards out, but he volleyed wide; to the evident relief of the home team.

Half-Time : L.&N.M. 1, Wimborne 0

The shape of the game changed significantly after the break. Whereas the visitors had struggled to create an opening in the first period, this changed dramatically in the second. Making good use of the speed and skill of their wingers, Moore and Gill, the Magpies produced a number of opportunities as Gill, Cannie and Barham all went close to producing an equalising goal. Lovell thought he had succeeded with a far post header but although his effort found the net, it was ruled out because of an earlier foul on Kearn in the home goal.

Minutes later Gill produced a cross which eluded everybody in the home defence and hit a post before going safely out of play. Such pressure was always likely to tell and so it was that Moore embarked on a run into the home penalty area which the Linnets' defence could not counter. His powerful shot was only parried by Kearn and the ball fell to Gill, who blasted his shot into the net for the equalising goal.

Although the home side tried, they found the momentum generated by the visitors to be almost irresistible. Still it was only with about five minutes remaining that Wimborne made the decisive breakthrough when Dancer back-heeled a pass to Barham and caught L&NM's defence napping. Barham sped to the by-line before crossing to Lovell who bundled the ball into the net, apparently off his thigh.

One disappointment for the Linnets (and Graham Kemp in particular) will be in allowing Alex Pike's jibe to "come true", although given that Wimborne have since been drawn to play the current Vase holders Taunton Town, who demolished last season's Wessex League champions Andover in their tie, one can only wonder whether Alex is still laughing! Meanwhile, Linnets' striker Leigh Phillips' suspension finally expired following this game and he was, no doubt, relishing his probable return to action in part two of this contest.

Lymington & New Milton : Kearn, Gazzard, Bailey-Pearce [Grace 65], Kemp, Morris, B. Phillips, Keeping, Smith [Marwood 85], Glenister, Town [Metcalf 30]. Unused sub. Stride.

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