LYME Regis first team finally discovered the form they have been seeking all season with a scintillating 4-3 victory over Jurassic rivals Beer Albion.
The Fisherman are riding high in the Devon and Exeter League Premier division, sitting in third place with 30 points from 14 games, chasing leaders Lapford and Thorverton.
With a slick operation behind the scenes, Beer look like a club with ambition and an eye on Devon League football in the not too distant future.
By contrast, Lyme have struggled this season to field a settled side for a number of reasons including injuries and COVID withdrawals. In fact, Saturday’s game at Furzebrake was the first time this season that Lyme had been able to field anywhere near their strongest eleven.
The Seasiders have shown glimpses of their capabilities of competing with those in the top half of the league but have given away too many goals late in the game. On three occasions this season they have lost 4-3 after taking the lead. Those nine points would have seen them in the top five. However, after losing five of their 13 games, they sit in eighth position with 18 points and are unlikely to finish within a top four position.
But it was different at Furzebrake on Saturday. Before a large crowd the Seasiders stormed into a 3-0 lead within 20 minutes with goals from Ben Turner, Tyler Wellman and Joe Bond, the first coming after just three minutes when Ben Turner’s unleashed a well placed left footer from 18 yards into the corner of the net after a driving run forward.
Six minutes later the Fishermen found themselves 2-0 down. Under pressure from Lyme bodies in the penalty box, Beer could only partially clear the danger and a shot from the edge of the penalty was deflected home by Tyler Wellman from close range.
There seemed no way back for Beer when Joe Bond headed home a well-delivered corner on 21 minutes, but the Fishermen reduced the arrears to 3-1 on 23 minutes when Josh French flicked a near-post corner into the path of centre back Joe Adkin who side-footed home from close range.
Beer imposed themselves on the game more in the second half although the Seasiders created more chances with the home keeper Elliott Driver pulling off two great saves to keep is side in the mix.
Beer pulled one back after 61 minutes but were lucky not to have gone further behind when Fred Parsons’ unleashed a thundering drive against the upright.
Beer levelled the scores from the penalty spot and the Lyme supporters had visions of yet another late capitulation. But Lyme soaked up the pressure and snatched the winner in the 75th minute when a free-kick from the left was steered in by Mark Bailey from an acute angle at the far post.
After that hammer blow, Beer tended to to overhit long balls in a desperate attempt to force the issue. Although a Keiron Daniel cross-shot drew a fine save from the Lyme keeper Chris Higgs on 75 minutes, the Lyme defence held on to their 4-3 advantage until the final whistle.
It would have been difficult to pick out a star man for the Seasiders with the whole squad playing out of their skins but the Beer sponsors selected midfielder Ben Turner as their man-of-the-match.
After such a topsy-turvey season, Lyme’s travelling contingent were delighted to see their side competing so well against one of the top Premier division side.
One regular supporter told me he thought it was Lyme’s best performance for many years.
* With Lyme Reserves’ home match having been called off due to a waterlogged pitch, the club’s third X1, Lyme Rovers, were able to field a strong side for their Perry Street Division One match against Waytown Hounds. It resulted in the Rovers winning their first game of the season with Steve Batey notching a hat-trick with Jake Bearpark, Matt Bradley and an own goal completing the scoreline.