A well taken Joe Petty double was enough to help New Milton Town Reserves earn a win against Hythe and Dibden Reserves on Saturday in the Wyvern Combination League.

It was Petty’s second goal of the game that set up the win for the home side in the 38th minute. Petty charged to meet the ball just before the half way line, winning a slide tackle in the process, to leave him bearing down on goal. Petty then showed patience and vision to skip past two defenders and round the keeper before slotting the ball home.

New Milton did not have it all their own way though. Hythe substitute Jordan Smith set up a frantic finish to the game with 10 minutes left to play, when his well taken shot cannoned into the roof of the net leaving Miles Badock, who until that point didn’t have his goal threatened, stranded.

Kieran Francis could have made sure of all three points for his side in the 73rd minute when his deflected shot was expertly saved by Hythe Keeper Sam Day, diving low to his left.

New Milton were ahead inside ten minutes in what were torrential conditions at Fawcetts Field. Forward Petty found himself with space in the box and calmly slipped the ball under the onrushing keeper for the home side to take a deserved 1-0 lead.

The Linnets could have doubled their lead five minutes later when Lee Baxter won the ball outside the box with a strong tackle and squared to captain Francis, who could have taken the shot himself, but instead showed good vision to square the ball again to Petty who’s curling shot hit the post with the keeper well beaten.

Conor Lopez looked to reply for Hythe on the half hour mark when a scramble in the box meant the ball eventually fell to the forward, however Lopez slipped on the sodden ground at the vital moment to sky his shot over the bar.

The win moves 3rd place New Milton reserves four points clear of their opponents Hythe and Dibden and just two points off league leaders Laverstock and Ford.

11th September 2017 - Josh Sims