Money down the drain for Pat

Daily Echo: Brockenhurst’s Matt Barker netted penalty opener Brockenhurst’s Matt Barker netted penalty opener

BROCKENHURST boss Pat McManus was left out of pocket by Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Lymington Town in the Sydenhams Premier Division.

McManus was so convinced the game wouldn’t be on, that he had already booked and paid for two hours’ worth of training on Team Solent’s 3G surface.

But, against the odds, Lymington’s Sports Ground surface stood up well to last week’s heavy rain and was the only pitch in the entire Wessex League to be passed playable.

“I was very surprised how well it held up,” McManus admitted.

“There was probably only one overly soft area and the rest of it was okay with no standing water. The only leveller was a gale-force wind.”

For Brock, it was their first taste of action since December 28 and McManus was pleasantly surprised too by the sharpness of his team, who twice led before succumbing to a stoppage-time equaliser.

“We didn’t look like a side that hadn’t played for six weeks and that’s testament to the way the lads have trained and looked after themselves,” he said.

“We’ve been doing pre-season type training to keep everyone as fit and sharp as possible. We’ve put on some really hard sessions to make sure there’s no slipping back and there was nothing sluggish about us at all.”

Brock went in 1-0 up at half-time courtesy of a Mark Barker penalty rather harshly awarded for handball against Darren Ritchie.

Ex-Sholing defender Mitch Fear headed Lymington on terms before Harry Jeffries restored the Badgers’ advantage, also with a header, from Brad Magookin’s corner.

The unfortunate Ritchie then picked up a second yellow, but ten-man Lymington stubbornly refused to be beaten, pegging the visitors back with a last-gasp James Davis leveller.

Both managers felt key oversights by the officials went against them – McManus convinced Davis’s late equaliser was well offside and his Lymington counterpart Stuart Doling claiming Jeffries had climbed all over his marker to head in Brock’s second.

McManus, though, agreed that the handball against Ritchie was “harsh” and said the game didn’t merit the high number of yellow cards issued.

“All this assessing is taking the common sense out of the game,” he said. “There were six players booked in 25 minutes and no-one had made a tackle!”

Lymington boss Doling was reasonably happy with the performance, but felt his side should have won.

“In the first half we looked very rusty indeed, but I couldn’t believe it when Brock scored again after we’d equalised. We had two cleared off the line and I could only ever see us winning it,” he said. “It was good to get the game played though. Unlike some clubs we’re not miles behind with our fixtures.

“Our pitch was fine. It was windy and it drains well, but the wind was definitely a factor in the game.”

Former Romsey Town striker Matt Austin made his debut off the Lymington bench after signing from Downton. Doling also confirmed lodging notice of approach for Blackfield & Langley frontman Craig Feeney.

Brock, meanwhile, are tying up a deal for Sholing’s attacking midfielder Tom Ashton.

Lymington are tonight due to visit a Fareham Town side who have copped the worst of the wet-weather postponements, having played just 18 league games to date.

Brock are scheduled to host Bemerton Heath Harlequins tomorrow (Wednesday) but that too will be in doubt if there is any further rain.

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