FOR near on 60 minutes, Lyme Regis 1st team matched Devon and Exeter Premier high-flyers Thorverton man-for-man, leading 1-0 after an even goalless first half in which both goalkeepers kept their sides in contention.
It took the mid-Devon side until the 59th minute to level the scores but in a storming last two minutes of the game they scored three goals against a faltering Lyme defence to win the game by a flattering 4-1.
But Lyme could have no complaints. It was a woeful second half performance after such an encouraging first 45 minutes and the players trudged off the pitch angry that they had allowed Thorverton to win with such ease. That’s a good sign, because they care.
In one of the best first halves seen at the Davey Fort this season, there was very little between the two sides. In the first minute Thorverton went close with a far-post header over the bar and at the other end Lyme’s Mark Bailey shot wide from a good position.
In the eighth minute the Lyme keeper Chris Higgs prevented the visitors from taking the lead with a brilliant left-hand diving save from a close range header.
Ben Turner went close after some good work on the right from Brad Rowe and a period of dominance by Lyme saw Rikki Sargent open the scoring in the 30th minute with a carbon copy goal to the one he scored against Elmore 2nds – a long range shot which flew over the keeper’s head.
Lyme almost extended their lead when a fierce Brad Rowe drive was turned round the post following clever work from Bailey.
Higgs pulled off another brilliant save in the 35th to protect Lyme’s lead and then the Thorverton keeper saved a fierce drive from Rowe and curling free-kick from Rob Fellingham.
Lyme started strongly enough after the break with Rowe heading over the bar from a corner before the visitors started to dominate as the Seasiders ran out of steam.
The equaliser came from a free header the 59th minute after centre-back Gary Knight, who marshalled the Lyme back-four brilliantly in the first half was substituted after sustaining a slight pull earlier on.
Higgs was called into action again, turning another goal-bound shot around the post, but in the 88th minute the Lyme defence was at sixes and sevens and conceded a free header from a corner to see what the spectators thought was the winner for Thorverton.
But the game wasn’t over and in the last two minutes they added two more goals to make it 4-1 as the Lyme defence stood flat footed.
It was certainly a game of two halves for the Seasiders. They competed well against one of the best sides in the league in the first half but were hopelessly outplayed as the game wore on.
Manager Julien Simier was philosophical after the game, admitting that his Lyme side were not fit enough to maintain the level achieved in the first half.
It would be difficult to pick man-of-the-match. There were several candidates in the first half. Full-back Rikki Sargent was impressive as was Callum Larcombe at full-back and Callum Garrett in midfield. But for my money, it had to go to Higgs who pulled off a string of brilliant saves underlining his reputation as one of the Lyme club’s all-time top goalkeepers.
Squad: Chris Higgs, Rikki Sargent, Gary Knight, Jake Sargent, Callum Larcombe, Robbie Fellingham, Ben Turner, Callum Garrett, Mark Bailey, Brad Rowe, Harvey Brimicombe. Subs: Joe Bond, Tom Kilcoyne.
This defeat sees Lyme drop to sixth place in the Premier table. This coming Saturday they are away to Exeter University 2nds.