TWO goals up in 17 minutes, Lyme Regis 1st team looked well on the road to their tenth Premier division victory of the season against University of Exeter 2nds – but then conceded three set-piece goals to leave manager Gerard Hitchcock the most frustrated man in the Devon & Exeter League.
It’s never easy against the young and fit Uni team but this was a game Lyme needed to win to maintain their second place in the Premier Division.
The Seasiders were all over the shop in the opening exchanges but they soon settled down and stormed into a two-goal lead within 17 minutes courtesy of strikes from Joe Bond and Ben Vine.
In fact, Lyme should have increased their lead to 3-0 when Ben Turner failed to convert a good chance and had that happened the three points would have been sewn up.
But five minutes before the break University pulled one back with a free header from a corner and within ten minutes of the restart they found themselves trailing 3-2 after two more headers from set play.
Lyme fought hard to get back on terms and dominated the last 20 minutes of the game when a number of chances went begging, the best falling late in the game to substitute Brad Rowe who failed to put the ball away from just three yards out.
Hitchcock was not disappointed with his side’s overall performance but added: “Three goals from set play should just not happen. We played quite well, created a number of chances but came away with a loss.”
The Lyme manager picked out Joe Bond, who was sin-binned for part of the game, and Fred Parsons as his two star men.
The defeat saw the Seasiders drop to third place in the Premier division, behind Feniton and leaders Okehampton Argyle, points they could ill afford to lose with a number of sides behind them with games in hand.
Squad: Brett Garner, Alex Rockett, Kingsey Wellman, Cam Fowler, Mike Knight, Gary night, Craig Every, Fred Parsons, Ben Turner, Rob Fellingham, Cody Bowditch, Ben Vine, Joe Bond, Brad Rowe.
This Saturday Lyme are due to play Premiership contenders Cronies at the Davey Fort but with more heavy rain forecasted it is doubtful the game will be on. This might well be a blessing for Lyme as Cronies have played only nine games but could catch the leaders. But they still have 22 games to play and are still in three cup competitions with just 17 weeks of the season left. They are sure to be embroiled in an end-of-season fixture backlog which could impact on closing the gap with the top sides.