NO one knows how many teams will be promoted to the Devon & Exeter League’s top tier next season – but Lyme Regis 1st team continue to beat the odds and stay in the mix after another hard fought victory at the Davey Fort tonight (Friday).
Back in early December the Seasiders were trounced 4-0 at Perry Street, a result which may well have prompted the demise of their three-man management team led by Robin Townsend.
Then came the rains and the Lyme players were left kicking their heals for the best part of 20 weeks.
Mark Bailey took over as caretaker manager and set about improving the team spirit which was at a pretty low ebb after that Perry Street defeat.
So tonight’s 2-1 victory over the Somerset team will be all the more satisfying, particular as some of the Perry Street supporters were talking about “turning Lyme over again”.
If promotion is a possibility, it was imperative that the Seasiders took all three points to move ahead of Perry Street in Division Five.
A sharp shower of rain just before kick-off made for difficult conditions early on and the Lyme keeper Will Meech was lucky to escape serious injury when a marauding Perry Street attacker skidded into him, an incident ignored by the referee
But Lyme got off to the best of starts when Julien Simier, looking dangerous down the left flank, slotted the ball home after four minutes to give Lyme the advantage.
Lyme looked full of energy, chasing every ball, and Simier and Chris Herbst, on the right, were causing all sorts of problems for the visiting defenders. Simier went close again after 19 minutes when the keeper parried his shot from close range.
Perry Street looked lively enough up front but they found the Lyme defence, marshalled by the experienced Gary Knight, who never missed a tackle or header all night to win the man-of-the-match award. He’s just the sort of player you need in a clash like this.
Lyme strengthened their position before half-time when Fred Parsons steered a low volley past the Perry Street keeper to send Lyme in with a 2-0 lead.
Street came out determined to reduce the arrears but the Lyme defence weathered the storm and they were unlucky not to have increased their lead with headers from Simier and Ben Turner testing the keeper.
The victory saw Lyme edge in front of Perry Street to regain third place in the table. Leaders Colyton lost ground to second place University on Thursday evening when they lost 3-1 to the students. Lyme are four points behind Uni but have a game in hand and the two sides meet next Tuesday at the Davey Fort.
Lyme’s last league game will be against Wellington on Saturday, May 19th.
I had a chat with the league’s PRO Colin Goodwin at half-time and he explained that the question of who goes up is still fairly fluid because of the pending reorganisation of the league.
On this form, Lyme deserve to be in the frame but if they do get a chance the club will have to meet the league criteria for Premier Division football.