WATCHING Lyme Regis 1st team play this season is not for the faint hearted. The Seasiders are prone to giving away soft goals before staging a late comeback to rescue points. This was the pattern of their home game against Elmore 2nds on Saturday, following similar performances in three other matches this season.
True, like so many other clubs this season, Lyme have struggled to field a full-strength side due to injuries, Covid and unavailabilities, but their frailty in defence will be an area in which manager Julien Simier will want to see a big improvement, essential to stay in touch with the leaders in the Devon and Exeter Premier division.
Scoring chances were few and far between in the first half. Lyme keeper Rob Harp saw early action in the fifth minute when he parried and gathered a fierce shot from outside the box but had little to do for the rest of the half.
Lyme thought they should have taken the lead in the 17th minute after some good work down the flank from Rikki Sargent. The resultant shot looked as though it had billowed the net before bouncing out. The referee consulted with the visiting lineman but ruled that the ball had not crossed the goal line.
The score remained at 0-0 at the break but Lyme started the second half strongly and took the lead in the 47th minute when a 40-yard cross-cum-shot from Rikki Sargent ended up in the top corner of the net.
But Elmore were back on terms within minutes before Lyme regained the lead when Brad Rowe, coming in from the right wing, slotted the ball home from 25 yards.
Then, in the course of one disastrous minute for the Seasiders’ defence, Elmore scored two similar goals in which keeper was lobbed, giving the visitors a 3-2 lead.
Lyme’s top striker, Joe Bond, came on as a sub in the 65th minute, his first outing this season after breaking an ankle. Brad Rowe switched to the wing with Bond in his usual centre forward position, making the Seasiders a much more potent attacking force as they pressed for the equaliser.
Ben Turner headed wide from a dangerous cross from Bond who minutes later kneed a cross from Rowe over the bar.
Turner got sinbinned for ten minutes for arguing with the ref.
A Brad Rowe overhead kick went close as did a Gary Knight header from a Rowe free-kick.
Lyme’s pressure paid off in the 84th minute with a glorious low shot from outside the box from Callum Garrett after a Rowe header was cleared off the line.
Lyme sniffed that a late winner could well be on the cards and it came in the 90th minute when Bond side-footed the ball home to make it 4-3 and a dream return to the game for the Seasiders’ top scorer.
Rikki Sargent’s penetrative runs out of defence was a real plus in this game and Garrett was his masterful self in midfield.
Simier will not have been pleased about the lack of concentration in defence which could have cost Lyme dearly, but he was delighted with the spirit shown as the Seasiders fought back to win the game, a victory which sees them move into fourth position in the Premier division but with a gap of five points with the sides above them.
Squad:Rob Harp; Rikki Sargent, Jake Sargent, Gary Knight, Alex Rowe; Ben Turner, Callum Garrett, Harvey Brimicombe, Tom Kilcoyne; Brad Rowe, Matt Bradley. Sub: Joe Bond, Kingsley Wellman.
Lyme 1sts have no fixture this weekend. Lyme Reserves, who were beaten 8-0 last Saturday by St Martin’s, are at home to Pinhoe (kick-off 3 pm).