THERE was little between Lyme Regis Reserves and Merley Cobham Sports after 210 minutes of football in the first round of the Dorset Intermediate Cup, a trophy on which the name of Lyme Regis Football Club is indelibly inscribed, having won it on no fewer than nine occasions.
The first game at Merley Cobham finished after 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw. The game was refereed by the home side manager in the absence of an appointed official and no extra-time was played as no one was quite sure of the rules.
So the replay was staged at the Davey Fort – the first county cup game held in Lyme for several years – on Saturday – and once again it was all square at 2-2 but this time extra time was played in which Lyme sneaked the winner in a well deserved 3-2 victory.
Lyme started strongly, dominating the opening exchanges, and opened the scoring after 26 minutes when Mark Batey fired home a bullet-like header from a Sam Bevis corner.
The visitors nearly got back on equal terms shortly before the break when keeper Robbie Fowler pulled off a brilliant save from a Merley free kick.
Merley came out of the traps quickly in the second half and equalised within two minutes of the restart when the ball was driven home from close range.
At times the Reserves were forced into some desperate defending and once again Fowler saved the day when he scrambled the ball off the line before the visitors took the lead on 78 minutes with a free header from a corner.
But as the final whistle beckoned Lyme regained the initiative and Batey, having another colossal game in the middle of the back four, came close with a blockbuster that skimmed the bar before Daley Holmes forced the tie into extra time with a neat header from a corner.
Lyme looked the much stronger side in extra time with a second round place being secured by an impressive piece of individual skill from Jack Farrant, a new signing from Millwey Rise, who rounded two defenders before slotting the ball past the Merley keeper to make it 3-2.
Lyme came close to extending their lead shortly before then final whistle when Callum Taylor blazed the ball over the bar after good work from Farrant and Holmes.
Taylor worked hard in midfield and Farrant looked to have a few tricks up his his sleeve and will be a useful acquisition for the Seasiders.
Mark Batey was outstanding in defence before being replaced due to injury and full marks also to Ryan Turner at full-back. He may not be the player with the most finesse in the team but he always puts in a full shift and was responsible for a number of do-or-die tackles.
This coming Saturday Lyme Reserves are at home to Halwill 2nds in Division Four of the Exeter & District league (kick-off 3 pm).