MISSED chances cost Lyme Regis 1st team three points in a crucial promotion clash with neighbours Colyton this afternoon (Saturday) in a game switched from the waterlogged Davey Fort pitch to the G3 surface at Axminster.
Watched by a crowd exceeding 80, the Seasiders held their own in the first half against a side which could well win the Devon & Exeter League Division One , although they still have 13 games to play between now and the end of May.
The Seasiders stay in third place with 31 points from 17 games, but losing the three points today means that three of the following pack – Perry Street, Lapford and Sidmouth Town 2nds – could catch them and ruin their chances of Premier League football all next season.
Lyme started strongly with two golden opportunities falling to Chris Herbst in the opening six minutes, both from crosses from Julian Simier and Tyler Wellman.
Wellman, whose family is synonymous with Lyme Football Club with his dad Roger, uncle Derek and grandfather Brian having all played for the Seasiders, is a regular with Sidmouth Town in the South West Peninsular league
He combined well with Simier down the left in the opening exchanges and put in a performance which will make Lyme’s caretaker manager Mark Bailey wish he had him available for the rest of the season.
Fred Parsons also came close with a fierce drive from long range which swerved over the bar
Colyton piled on the pressure as half-time approached but the Lyme defence stood firm with Wellman and Gary Knight in uncompromising form, snuffing out a number of attacks on the Lyme goal with crucial tackles.
Soon after the break the Seasiders failed to get a foot on the ball in a goalmouth scramble which left the Colyton keeper flaying and Herbst had another chance to put Lyme into the lead when he chipped the keeper but the ball went wide. It just wasn’t his day and he was later substituted for new signing Ruben Rogel, a Spaniard who is working at the Royal Lion in Lyme Regis and who looks like he could be a good acquisition for the Seasiders.
After the break Colyton put more pressure on the Lyme defence but it was the Seasders who came close to opening the scoring with another great chance falling to Herbst whose delicate chip avoided the keeper but the ball went wide.
A free-kick from Bailey curled over the bar and Lyme hit the post in a goalmouth scramble.
But it was Colyton who edged in front with left-winger Jake Richards taking advantage of a good move down the flank before slotting the ball past Lyme keeper Chris Higgs in the 77th minute.
Lyme pushed forward to get back in the game with a number of near misses but the defence was caught napping in the 84th minute when No 11 Nathan Maddocks slotted the ball pass Higgs to make it 2-0.
Striker Fred Parsons had the chance to pull one back shortly before the final whistle but fired the ball over the bar from close range.
Higgs pulled off a diving one-hand save to prevent Colyton increasing the scoreline and for Lyme Steve Batey was unlucky when his close-range shot bounced off the Colyton keeper’s legs.
Colyton may be favourites for the title but Lyme gave a good account of themselves and in the end the encounter was settled by the Devon side taking their chances whilst Lyme did not.
Wellman, who came through the Lyme youth set-up, was the Seasiders’ man-of-the-match, dominant in the air and ferocious in the tackle. Colyton found his crosses in the first half difficult to deal with and it was a pity Lyme did not use them to better effect.
There were only two other games played in Division One – Heavitree United and Chard Town Reserves drew 2-2 and Sidmouth Town Reserves chalked up a 3-0 win at lowly Wellington.
Lyme are now due to entertain Sidmouth Two 2nds in the Grandisson Cup at the Davey Fort on Tuesday evening (weather permitting) and next Saturday they travel to Lapford 1sts.
Lyme Reserves were not in action today as they travel to Westexe Park Rangers 2nds tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon (kick-off 1 pm) in the semi-final of the Football Express Cup, a trophy they won for the first time last season. On Saturday the Ressies are at home to Elmore 2nds, who are third in Division Five, one place above Lyme on goal average
Lyme Rovers were defending their Bill Bailey Cup this afternoon but there will be no Devon silverware for them this year after losing 3-1 to Merriott Dynamos in a match played at Hinton. The Rovers’ goal was scored by Steve Meyers. The Rovers are away to Farway Reserves in Perry Street Division Three on Wednesday April 11) and next Saturday (April 14)they are away to Ilminster Town A in the John Fowler Cup.
Uplyme moved well clear of the relegation zone in Perry Street Division One with a 6-0 win over bottom side Chard Rangers with Harvey Brimicombe grabbing a hat-trick. James Souttar-Phillips scored twice and Niall Waterhouse also got on the scoresheet.
Apology: Our sincere apologies for referring to Uplyme as The Robins in our print edition. Sorry chaps!
In Division Two, Charmouth stayed in such with the top three with an dominating 4-0 victory over Kingsbury. Their goals came from Daniel Rendell, Paul Grinter, Alistair Harvey and Paul Miners but if they took all their chances it could have been 10-0.