LOOKING for their second Devon & Exeter League Premier East victory of the season, Lyme Regis Reserves soon found themselves on the back foot at home to Exmouth Rovers this afternoon (Saturday).
It took the visitors only 77 seconds to open up a lead which they clung on to all afternoon despite the Seasiders enjoying periods when they were well on top.
The early goal came when the Lyme’s no-nonsense keeper, Rob Harp, dashed out to block a one-on-one with an Exmouth attacker but failed to do so cleanly. The ball bobbled towards the corner flag and the striker slotted the ball home from an acute angle with Harp left stranded. It was a rare error of judgement by Lyme ‘s “Mr Reliability” in clearing his lines.
Lyme suffered another disappointment when central defender Dom Rowe limped off the field in the second minute with a leg injury, to be replaced by Harvey Brimicombe. Manager Nick Tregale reorganised his defence to accommodate Brimicombe’s natural attacking instincts and his clever runs proved to be a thorn in Rovers’s side for the rest of the afternoon.
The Seasiders’ second string has the chance to level the matters in the fourth minute when the lively Rikki Sargent found himself with just the keeper to beat but fluffed his shot.
A better chance fell to Cam Fowler after some clever work by Shane Featherstone and Harvey Brimicombe but his shot went wide. Then a rasping shot from the in-form Jonny Davies was punched away by the visiting keeper.
Lyme were now creating chance after chance with Wally Blackmore heading just wide from a Matt Preece corner and the a Rikki Sargent free-kick ricocheted off the bar.
After Cam Fowler headed wide from a good position, Lyme went in at half-time wondering why they were trailing.
Within two minutes of the re-start The Seasiders thought they had got that elusive equaliser when Alex Rowe poked the ball home but the referee ruled there had been an infringement in the build-up play.
As the game progressed the Exmouth side’s determination to hold on to their lead was more than evident in their work rate, especially in defence, but Lyme continued to create scoring chances.
Harp more than made up for his earlier misjudgement when he pulled off a brilliant one-handed side to prevent Exmouth extending their fragile lead.
In the closing minutes it was all Lyme and in the final seconds Toby Fowler shot looked goal-bound but went wide following a corner.
Lyme have always appreciated that life in the new Division One East was never going to be easy and this match provided proof of that. But all credit to Exmouth Rovers who took their early chance and refused to surrender it through 90 incident-filled minutes. Their reward was a place at the top of Division One East.
With skipper Alex Rowe leading by example, the Lyme midfield never stopped running. They need to find a little more composure in front of goal but they lacked nothing in commitment.
Brimicombe’s positivity of always looking for route one to goal was a major factor in creating so many chances.
Squad: Rob Hart, Rokki Sargeant, Matt Preece, Dom Rowe, Wallace Blackmore, Toby Fowler, Alex Rowe, Cameron Fowler,Robbie Fowler, Jon Davies, Shane featherstone. Subs: Harvey Primicombe, Brin Seward.
After the game, manager Nick Tregale told LymeOnline sport: “We were 1-0 down in the first minute through a defensive error but after that we grew into the game and he lads battled hard, playing some good football which frustrated Exmouth.
“We are just not getting any luck at the moment but it will come. It was a great team effort.”
With one win out of three, Lyme sit just below mid-table to the Division One East second-placed side and next Saturday (October 24th) they are way to Exmouth Rovers where the battle will resume.