Mangos finally get the better of the Larks
Unbeaten run comes to an end
Mangotsfield finally managed to defeat the Larks after three years of trying. The game got off to a bad start for the visitors when full-back Mason Winter had to come off injured after only 5 minutes of play. Events then took a turn for the worse in a crucial period that saw Mangos score two goals thanks to Jay Malpas and Kane Simpson and only second later Larks' keeper Shaun Semmens received a red card for a reckless challenge on Simpson. The goals were the result of sloppy defending and rather against the run of play: man of the match Cory Simpson was a constant threat and very unlucky not to give the Larks an early lead.
With more than an hour of the game to go and with only ten men at his disposal Phil Bater had to make some changes: George King gave way to Matt Guy, who bravely donned the keeper's gloves for the first time in his career and pulled off a handful of excellent saves to keep the Larks in the game. Being a man down seemed to give the Larks fresh impetus and supporters from both clubs agreed that we were the better side, especially in the second half. Cory got one back on 55 minutes with a superb strike into the far corner of the net and how the Larks did not then manage to equalise remains a mystery: Geraint Bater was totally bossing the midfield and linking up brilliantly with Jacob Cox on the wing, and Joe Tumelty launched a fierce shot that agonisingly smashed off the post. Mangos looked panicked and had to clear off the line a number of times as we fought back.
Eventually, and after considerable pressure, the home side's superior numbers won out as a quick break did not give the marauding Larks players time to get back to defend and although Matt blocked the first effort, they scored off the rebound. The game ended on a sour note as Mangos' Jake Elliott got a straight red for a nasty foul on Dan Restorick, who had to be carried off the pitch, and the Larks were forced to play on with only 9 men having run out of subs.
The final scoreline was somewhat flattering to our hosts: the game was a lot closer than 3-1 suggests and the relief on the faces of the home players at the final whistle was palpable. Although the result was disappointing, the Larks' spirit and energetic play was very impressive.