A GLORIOUS hat-trick and a brilliant performance by a late-stand-in goalkeeper returned Lyme Regis 1st to winning ways in a 5-3 victory over Upottery in the Premier Division of the Devon & Exeter League.
The hat-trick came from Sam Pollard-Jones, his second in successive home games, and it was Robbie Fowler, usually a Reserves’ or Rovers’ player, who donned the goalkeeping gloves when the Seasiders’ number one keeper, Will Meech, dropped out at the last moment after injuring a hand at work.
Robbie, who has come through the youth set-up in Lyme, is part of the Wellman dynasty synonymous with Lyme Regis Football Club. His grandfather was Brian Wellman, a former Seasiders’s goalkeeper who served the club well as an administrator for many years. His great uncle, Alan Wellman, was a player before his time and one of the club’s most skilful performers in the 1950s.
This victory saw Lyme move into sixth place in the Premier Division on a day when leaders Colyton were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by tenth-placed Feniton.
Lyme started brightly and opened the scoring after just eight minutes when centre-back Kingsley Wellman latched onto a low corner to the near post from Robbie Fellingham and steered the ball home.
Fowler denied the visitors an equaliser with a great diving save and Lyme had the ball in the net again after 18 minutes but the goal was disallowed for a foul in the box.
Although Upottery are lying in the bottom half of the division with nine points from nine games, they are no pushovers, having taken points off last season’s high flyers Cronies, but Lyme’s movement off the ball was giving them a distinct advantage and they moved into a 2-0 lead on 27 minutes when Fellingham netted from the penalty spot after Pollard-Jones was fouled in the box.
The visitors hit back after 37 minutes when Fowler pulled off another brilliant save only to see the re-bound off an Upottery front-runner fly into the roof of the net.
Fred Parsons, looking much more effective in midfield after a slow start to the season, was unlucky not to have increased Lyme’s dominance when a power-drive from outside the box was tipped round the post by the Upottery keeper diving at full-length.
A good first half performance from Lyme was crowned just before half-time and Pollard-Jones opened his account after latching onto a decisive through ball from Ben Turner after rounding the keeper to score to make it 3-1.
Lyme looked a little lethargic at the start of the second half with the visitors pulling the score back to 3-2 with the defence caught flat-footed and soon after were denied an equaliser by the woodwork.
Lyme regained the initiative when Pollard-Jones took full advanced of a great through-ball from Cody Bowditch on 59 minutes and waltzed past the keeper to make it 4-2.
But Upottery were not finished yet and reduced the arrears to 4-3 on 68th when one of their strikers found himself unmarked from a corner and headed home from a corner.
The points were secured for Lyme in the 82nd minute when Pollard-Jones completed his hat-trick when he cut inside to fire the ball home and rightly collect the man-of-the-match award.
This was a much better performance by Lyme with three of last season’s big players, Robbie Fellingham, Ben Vine and Fred Parsons, all looking like they are coming into form. Improving full-back Cam Fowler also impressed and gains in confidence with every first team game he plays and centre-back Kingsley Wellman put in yet another inspiring performance.
Lyme Regis Reserves were on Dorset Intermediate Cup duty and travelled to Merley Cobham Sports for a 1-1 draw. The game ended in some confusion. There was no referee so the home team manager had to officiate but did not know whether the game should go to extra time or penalties. There is a possibility that they will have to return to Merley Common next week just to play the extra-time (more details to follow).
Lyme Regis Rovers, enjoying an excellent start to the season, dropped valuable points when they lost 2-0 to Perry Sreet Division Three mid-tables Ilminster Town B (full report to follow).
Uplyme picked up their first league point of the season in Division One with 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Netherbury.
Charmouth moved into second place in Division two with n excellent 4-3 victory over third placed Forton Rangers Reserves.