Comment by Philip Evans
THREE goals up with half-time rapidly approaching, I turned to Dave Reed on the old man’s bench and said: “We’ll see a hatful of goals in the second half. “ Reeder nodded in agreement.
Fast forward the clock 6I minutes (five minutes of extra time was played), the Lyme first team players trudged off the pitch, having conceded victory against Devon & Exeter Premier strugglers Topsham Town, lucky to retain a point in a 3-3 draw, and we retired to the Davey Fort clubhouse for the post-match drink thinking “how the hell did that happened”.
An hour later the Reserves and Rovers were celebrating two excellent wins whilst the first team squad sat at the end of the clubhouse looking slightly forlorn.
I think this result proved one salient fact, perhaps not appreciated when we were cock-a-hoop over our promising start to Premier football a few short weeks ago, there are no easy games in this league. We were confident then that Gerard Hitchcock’s squad had what it takes to finish in a respectful top five position – but not on this showing.
The Lyme determination and spirit which has delivered so much silverware to the Davey Fort seems to have evaporated in the past fortnight. They have a free Saturday next week and then have to face Exeter side Cronies, who would have been playing in the South West Peninsular League had they had the requisite facilities. A good performance against Cronies is much needed and would put Lyme back on track.
But it wasn’t all bad news; the single point saw Lyme jump two positions in the Premiership table to sixth place. We’d settle for that at the end of the season.
Topsham started the day second from bottom in the table, having not won any of their first five games of the season. But this didn’t look like a relegation-threatened side, especially in the second half when they completely dominated Lyme. Afterwards we learned this was the first time they had been able to field a full squad and the Seasiders won’t be the only scalp they take this season.
The visitors started strongly and the Lyme keeper Will Meech was soon in action. But the Seasiders weathered the storm and were dominant for the rest of the half, taking the lead with two goals in quick succession, in the 16th and 17th minute when Cody Bowditch met a perfect cross of Jake Bearpart to slide the ball home, followed by a Mark Bailey drive which stunned the visitors.
Lyme continued to dominate with Cody, playing as an out-and-out left winger, his favoured position, causing the visiting defence all sorts of problems and it was Cody who put the Seasiders in a stronger position when he fired home a third after good work by Ben Turner.
Topsham gave a glimpse of what to expect in the second half when they pulled one back just a minute later from close range.
Had they taken all their chances Lyme could have turned around with a five-goal lead with a fourth goal going begging in a goalmouth scramble which saw the ball cleared off the line in desperate fashion, leaving the Lyme font men holding the heads in their hands.
Lyme looked a different side after the break with Topsham buoyed by their comeback first-half goal and looking the more dangerous side, especially when experienced central defended Gary Knight was substituted due to injury. They lacked him experience is marshalling the back four and Lyme were far too defensive.
Topsham narrowed the lead with their second goal on 80 minutes and then stole a point in the fourth minute of extra time from the penalty spot after a reckless tackle in the box from Kingsley Wellman.
Lyme’s best second-half chance fell to man-of-the-match Bowditch who just managed to unleash a shot before being tackled after a penetrating run only, to see the ball trickle inches wide.
Ben Turner worked had for Lyme in midfield but a number of players seem way off their best form and struggling for fitness. But in the inquest afterwards we consoled ourselves with the view that’s it a bit early, with just six league games played, to take a too dismal view of our chances in Premier football.
Reserves’ victory over neighbours Millwey
LYME Regis Reserves are sitting comfortably in fourth place in Division Four after an excellent 4-2 victory over near neighbours Millwey Rise. Had Lyme not cancelled at earlier game, they could have been in the runners-up spot.
The first half was tightly contested, with Millwey taking the lead early on but Lyme drawing level before half-time through Spanish singing Jaime Roderiguez who finished off a well–worked move with a neat finish after a one-on-one with the keeper.
Lyme started the second half strongly but squandered a number of chances before Millwey took the lead against the run of play.
The Seasiders switched their formation to three at the back which paid dividends and quickly saw Fred Thompson equalize with two goals to follow from Joe Allen, one of which was a delightful chip from 20 yards out.
Joint manager Luke Clifton commented after the game: “We said at the interval that it was only a matter of time before Millwey tired which proved correct as we went on to secure a well deserved three points.”
The Reserves should be able to improve their league position next week when they entertain Pinhoe 1st who have lost their first two games of the season and sit at the bottom of Division Four.
Rovers riding high
LYME Rovers jumped into joint first place in Perry Street Division Three with a convincing 5-0 win over Chard Rangers Reserves.
Under the inspiring leadership of Rob Larcombe and Niall Davis, this was another confident performance from Lyme’s third X1 with goals from Pete Peacock (3), Robbie Prior (a 25-yard screamer) and Scott Myers.
Club secretary Rob Thom was drafted in to wear the goalkeeper’s gloves and pulled off three excellent saves to help the Rovers keep a clean sheet.
Rob Larcombe picked out Jack Turner as his man-of-the match and also had a word of praise for Ollie Alner who had his best game for the Rovers to date.
Next week the Rovers are away to their joint leaders, Merriot Dynamoes 1st.
Cup win for Uplyme
UPLYME progressed to the second round of the Perry Street Division One Cup with a hard fought 4-3 victory over Combe Nicholas Reserves.
The Swallows fought back from 3-0 down with goal from James Souttar Phillips, James Whetlor, Brandon Bryant and James Hansford.
Uplyme have no league fixture next week.
It was also a successful day for Charmouth who had a 6-2 victory over Donyatt 1st and are sitting in the runners-up spot of Perry Street Division Two.