LYME Regis 1st team kept their promotion hopes alive with a 4-1 victory over Heavitree United in blistering heat at the Davey Fort this afternoon (Monday).
And their position was further strengthened by close rivals Perry Street and Lapford dropping points.
But highlight for the day for the Seasiders was Steve Batey’s two goals in the Reserves’ 6-2 defeat at Halwill, taking his tally for the season to 30, the first Reserve team player to do so since Ellis Hoole in 2001.
It was so hot at the Fort that the referee allowed the game to be interrupted on two occasions for water breaks.
There was little between the two sides in the opening exchanges, although Lyme looked more dangerous in front of goal. The breakthrough came in the 30th minute when Ben Vine spotted the keeper off his line and put Lyme ahead with a glorious lob from the halfway line .
In less than a minute the Seasiders could have been two up, but Julien Simier failed to get a good connection with a ball that skidded across the goalmouth and sliced it wide. From a spectators’ point of view, it looked like the miss of the season, but it was a more difficult chance than it looked.
Lyme were fortunate to protect their lead in the 41st minute when Mark Bailey headed a ball off their goal line and Mike Knight cleared.
The Seasiders pressed hard after the break to secure the points and went 2-0 up in the 52nd minute when Vine was on hand to tap the ball home when the keeper fumbled a rasping 20-yard driving from Robbie Fellingham.
Heavitree got back into the game in the 67th minute from the penalty spot when wing-back Cody Bowditch was somewhat harshly judged to have brought down an attacker in the penalty box.
Lyme maintained their pressure and Fellingham hit the post with a 25-yard curling shot that had the keeper beaten, and then on 75th minutes Simier made up for his earlier miss with a glorious shot into the far corner of net from far out on the left.
And then Simier wrapped up the points with a tap-in from a Chris Herbst cross to see the Seasiders maintain fourth place in Devon & Exeter Division Five, just one point behind Perry Street. The two sides meet on Friday at the Davey Fort in what could be a promotion decider.
Lyme toiled hard in the heat and deserved their victory to set up a exciting last week to the extended 2018 season. After the Perry Street game, they meet second placed University on Tuesday and Wellington on the following Saturday.
In other Division Five games this afternoon, Chard Town Reserves beat Sidmouth Town 2nds 3-1; leaders Colyton drew 3-3 with Lapford; University 2nds drew 1-1 with Perry Street; and Wellington reserves beat Chagford 4-3.
Lyme Reserves’ promotion drive to gain a place in Division Four next season stuttered this afternoon. They travelled to fellow promotion contenders Halwill with a bare minimum 11 players and were beaten 6-2.
With just one more game to play, Lyme stay in third place but can be caught by Halwill, who have three games in hand but trail by only three points.