LYME Regis 1sts need just one point from their last game of this COVID-interrupted season to top the Devon and Exeter Premier East mini-league after beating Kentisbeare 6-2.
Feniton retain their one-point lead after a 1-0 win over Dawlish United to complete their season, but the Seasiders have one game in hand, home to Chard Reserves next Saturday (May 15), when a point will see them clinch the top spot on goal average. A win will give them a two-point advantage.
With recreational football having been suspended due to COVID, only five teams decided to complete the season when the league gave all clubs the option to do so. Nevertheless, Lyme have shown they will be real Premier East contenders next season
This was another impressive Lyme performance after beating Chard Town Reserves 3-0 in midweek. Their opening goal came after just six minutes when Cameron Vere drove the ball home with pin-point accuracy.
Kentisbeare looked dangerous up front and were back on equal terms within 13 minutes when the Lyme defenders failed to clear a header.
Tom Bastin, working hard in midfield, blazed the ball over the bar before Joe Bond restored Lyme’s lead when he took full advantage of a goalkeeper error which resulted in him slotting the ball home into an empty net.
It was all Lyme at this juncture with Fred Parsons controlling the midfield action. Running at the visiting defence, he unleashed a fierce drive in the 31st minute which was parried by the Kentisbeare keeper, allowing Bond to nip in to score his second to make it 3-1.
Lyme increased their lead before half-time when Brad Rowe waltzed around the keeper to slot the ball home.
Kentisbeare came out fighting after the break with a period of pressure on the Lyme defence and reduced the deficit for the cross-cum-shot into the far corner of the net, leaving keeper Brett Garner little chance.
Garner, who was not greatly troubled by the Devon side, protected Lyme’s lead when he made a great save with his feet to thwart one of Kentisbeare’s best chances.
Lyme soon settled down and dominated the second period with subs Ben Vine and teenager Josh Daines adding to the visitors’ problems with their strong running up front, forcing the visiting defence to scramble away a number of scoring opportunities.
But the pressure paid off in the end when determined running down the left saw Brad Rowe square the ball for Joe Bond to make it 5-1 and complete his 26th hat-trick for the Seasiders.
Lyme’s final goal came when Tyler Wellman slotted the ball home from a good cross to complete the 6-2 score-line. It should have been seven, but a Ben Vine goal late in the game was ruled offside.
The Lyme squad included Tyler Wellman, Cameron Vere, Kieran Daniels and Ben Vine, who have all played at a higher standard. If Lyme are able to keep players of such quality, next season could be very special at the Davey Fort.
Fred Parsons was hugely influential in this match, marshalling the midfield action. Bond looked very sharp and was rewarded with his 26th hat-trick for the club, a great achievement, and young Josh Baines came on for his first team debut and gave good account of himself. One for the future, for sure.
Squad: Brett Garner; Rikki Sargent, Cameron Vere, Kingsley Wellman, Kieran Daniels; Sam Pollard Jones, Fred Parsons, Robbie Fellingham, Tom Bastin; Joe Bond, Brad Rowe. Subs: Dan Rendall, Tyler Wellman, Josh Daines, Ben Vine.
Lyme Regis Reserves’ run of wins came to a close at Division One East basement boys Lympstone, losing 3-2. Full report to follow.