10-man New Milton Town battle back to seal thrilling win against Verwood Town
Wessex Division One
Verwood Town FC 2
New Milton Town FC 3
NEW Milton signed off for the year in style, battling back twice before taking the lead to defeat Verwood Town 3-2.
Trailing 2-1 and playing with 10 men after a straight red for Ollie Jenkins, it appeared as if New Milton would slip to a ninth league loss. However, goals from Ben Cooper and a second for Chris Long secured all three points.
The win brings New Milton to within a point of Verwood in the league.
After a reasonably even opening 20 minutes in which New Milton carved out the better opportunities, the first goal went to the hosts when keeper Luke Dennison’s clearance struck striker Diop Evans before entering the net.
The goal spurred New Milton to life, and attacker Chris Long won his side a penalty when stopper Callum Mayor brought him down in the area. Top-scorer Long dusted himself off and dispatched the spot-kick coolly into the bottom left corner.
Jenkins flew into a tackle in the 67th minute, earning a straight red from referee Declan Skehan. The decision sparked a few heated discussions, with New Milton centre-back Joe Kimber keen to get hold of Verwood’s Harvey Elsom.
Verwood retook the lead when Joe Freak headed across Dennison almost straight from the restart.
Paul Turner’s men refused to give up, and they continued to play their football, and Cooper won and converted his side’s second penalty to level the match at 2–2.
With 10 minutes left, Cooper’s cross found Long, controlled and weaved his way through the mêlée before rifling into the corner to the delight of his teammates.
There was further drama when Verwood keeper Mayor received his marching orders for a poor challenge, and the final whistle came to complete a stunning New Milton showing.
New Milton: L. Dennison, E. Eavis, A. Booker, J. Kimber, E. Lines, A. Scott, O. Jenkins, J. Mahoney, C. Turner, T. Rudd, C. Long. Subs: O. Bull, B. Cooper, G. Deem, J. Dacombe, J. Monk.