Match Report -

Match Report - , by Ian Craig

Fleet Spurs v New Milton Town

Fleet Spurs 3 New Milton Town 3 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter

This was a match that was generally poor in quality, though exciting enough at times.  Spurs again had a much-changed team with several first-choice players missing, and New Milton fielded only four of the side that had entertained Fleet in November.  A draw was a fair result, though the Linnets may feel that they should have won, as indeed they nearly did with the loyal Kennels Lane crossbar preventing a winner in the last few minutes.

New Milton started very promisingly, but soon the game deteriorated with neither side impressing and both giving the ball away far too easily.  Town continued to look the more promising side without troubling Spurs’ defence to any great degree, though the home defenders had to make a number of courageous blocks to avert danger.  Then after 16 minutes, and against the general run of the play, Spurs took the lead.  The ball came to Dan Bone just outside the visitors’ box and he sent a powerful left-foot – yes, left-foot – drive high into the far top corner.  Nine minutes before half-time, Bone collected the ball after dozy defending by New Milton, rounded keeper James Isaac, who had come several yards outside his penalty area in a vain attempt to clear the ball, and placed the ball accurately between the covering defenders into the corner of the net. Fleet’s two-goal lead lasted only a minute, as Ollie Peckham then found the unmarked Steve Flynn near the penalty spot and he dinked the ball over Mark Appleby to reduce the arrears.  As the game moved into stoppage time, it was Peckham’s turn to score as he hammered the ball high and unstoppable just inside the far post to equalise the score at 2-2.

After the break, neither side was able to create much, though the Linnets looked the side more likely to take the lead.  In the context of this game where apparent superiority was no guarantee of success, it was therefore no surprise when in the 62nd minute Fleet scored.  Bone received the ball on the edge of the visitors’ box and unselfishly passed to skipper Jamil Olweny, who slotted the ball neatly into the bottom far corner.  Town now began to apply pressure as the fresh legs of their substitutes gave them a second wind (can legs give wind?), which made a marked contrast to the tiring Spurs defence.  Ten minutes from the end, one of those subs, Ethan Maddocks, scored with a well-placed shot from the edge of the box after Spurs had spurned a number of opportunities to clear the ball.  There was still time for the Linnets to hit the underside of the crossbar with Appleby beaten, but Fleet managed to hold out until the final whistle.

Spurs remain in 16th position in the league, where they will remain until the end of the month at least.  On Saturday, they visit Christchurch (kick-off 3.00) and next Tuesday they will attempt to fulfil their much-postponed fixture against Romsey Town (Kennels Lane, kick-off 7.45).

Spurs team: Mark Appleby; Adam Bond; Chris Harris; Chris Barnes; Victor Mudonhi; Rob Colfer; Dan Bone; Mike Bertoux; Jamil Olweny(capt); Jan Verhoeven (sub Kieran Martinez 76); Pete Lines