New Milton Town Reserves played their first competitive footballing fixture for the first time since the 9th of December 2020 as the Hampshire Combination League got back underway this past week.
The Reserves faced a tricky first fixture away from home against promotion pushing Lyndhurst FC without even having a training session. The Government along with the FA lifted the suspension on organised football on Monday 29th March as the light at the end of the tunnel becomes closer and closer as the country looks to stand strong in defeating the Coronavirus.
It took something special and probably the Reserves best performance of the season so far to put Five goals past Lyndhurst who are always an attacking threat whenever any team comes up against them.
The Linnets went 1-0 down early into the game but maybe that was down to not kicking a ball as a team or having a training session for the best part of almost 4 months. They started to grow into the game becoming more fluent and stringing together nice phases of play with good amounts of possession with the ball.
Harry Morgan certainly didn't show any signs of having a rusty foot as he bagged himself a Hat Trick on the night, Jai Crowther and Tyler Rudd also got on the scoresheet to join him in brining all 3 points back to the JMC Stadium.
Lyndhurst found themselves battling not only a young talented Linnets team but also the Referee as well, at one point during the game Lyndhurst found themselves with only 9 men on the pitch after the referee sent two of their players to the sin bin for decent.
After the game we spoke the Reserve team manager Danny Thomas who, still new to the role after last night saw only his 3rd game in charge since joining the club.
Q: Danny, How did it feel to get back out there tonight with the squad?
A: It felt amazing to be back out there, really excited to play competitive league football after our league (Hampshire Combination) said we would be able to carry on our season. Despite the team not seeing each other for four months the banter was flowing and the lads were in really really good sprits.
Q: As the Reserves competitive league season has continued, do you have any goals to finish the season strong?
A: We still want to play really good and attractive football the right way, we have a very young squad and probably the youngest in the league with the average age being around 17/18, these lads have the right attitude and hunger as well as the talent and effort they put in to get even better than they are already performing.
We have two goals which is still to win the west division and we are still in with a great shout of winning the John Stimpson Memorial Shield as well.
Q: With a chance of still winning two pieces of silverware, have you reminded the players that there is still a lot of business on the pitch to take care of and still a lot to play for?
A: The Philosophy moving forward after the restart is to enjoy the football we play and to keep pushing forward, we are thankful that we are still aloud to resume our competitive league where other leagues around our area have been cancelled.
Q: How have the squad responded in training since being allowed to resume after the government lifted the restrictions for outdoor sport?
A: We have not had a single training session yet, we went straight into this game without anything team related for 4 months and we managed to come away with a very important win and most importantly we found our striking boots putting 5 past a team that is in the mix with us fighting for promotion, you could tell watching from the side-line that we lacked a lot of fitness and we looked tired at times so it was even more important that we made a few changes at half time and gave 3 players off the bench 45 minutes and made the task in the second half to keep possession and try not to give unwanted passes away which would mean we would have to chase the game, I am very happy with the performance from the lads and its another big 3 points in our bid for promotion.
Post Match comments from Reserve team manager Danny Thomas. 06/04/2021