Double for Dec
Added time winner for Town
After 7 consecutive home games Lydney found themselves back on the road for the first time in 6 weeks when they travelled to Windsor for their first ever meeting with last seasons Division One East champions Virginia Water. The Town were still missing influential centre back Sam Elliott & centre forward Ross Gabriel through injury while Matty Board was also missing after picking up a knock last week, although the Town were able to welcome back Lewis Halford after suspension. Dual signing Jordan Dibble continued in goal with Richard Thomas, Pete Macklin, Sam Wines & Will Humphries making up the bench.
Lydney started strongly and in the first minute Lewis Halford drilled a shot just wide from the edge of the box while in the 10th minute a Jack Rutter free kick forced home keeper Matt Jones to punch clear. In the 12th minute a though ball over the Lydney defence saw Adam McNamara in on goal but Dibble came out and saved with his feet. A minute later a controversial decision saw Lydney go behind.
A through ball down the right saw Liam Sheppard make what seemed to be a fair challenge just inside the box and indeed the referee initially saw no problem and allowed play to go on. His assistant however flagged for a foul and despite protests a penalty resulted and Jake Baker duly slotted the ball home. This setback upset Lydney’s rhythm but gradually they came back into the game and in the 25th minute Tom Baldwin broke forward from right back and his cross to the far post saw Declan Morley-Lyne head home. Lydney were now making all the running and in the 29th minute Lewis Thompson broke through the home defence and laid the ball into the path of Keelan Hamblett who somehow managed to shoot over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
A minute later leading scorer Thompson again created an opportunity but hit his shot tamely wide. In the 36th minute Lydney forced a corner but Rutters cross into the box eluded everyone to go tamely out of play. In the 43rd minute Thompson again broke through into the box and was brought down by a defender but with everyone now looking at the referee he waved play on deeming it a fair challenge. On the stroke of half time Hamblett found himself with a shooting opportunity but he hit his shot straight at the keeper leaving the score all square at the break.
Lydney started the 2nd half strongly and in the 48th minute a Thompson shot was blocked by a defender. In the 55th minute the home team managed their first attack of the half forcing a corner from which the ‘Waters’ captain Steve Williams headed his effort straight at keeper Dibble. On the hour mark a long range shot from Sheppard deflected for a corner and Rutters cross into the box found the head of Jordi Sheen but his effort went just wide. 3 minutes later Thompson broke down the left but with no one in support elected to shoot with his effort hitting the side netting.
With heavy rain continuing to fall conditions were becoming tricky underfoot and a rash sliding tackle by a home defender saw Lydney awarded a free kick. Rutter hit the ball across the goal finding Halford on the far post but he fired his shot over the bar. The home team pushed forward and Jake Baker found himself through on goal but a last ditch tackle by Rutter forced a corner. In the 74th minute Lydney brought on Sam Wines for Lewis Halford and a minute later a Wines cross found Thompson but his header went over the bar.
In the 80th minute controversy raised its head again when a clearance by the Lydney defence fell to Steve Williams who fired the ball back into the box.
On the way through it took a wicked deflection landing at the feet of a suspiciously looking offside Liam Whyte who with only the keeper to beat duly slotted home. Despite Lydney’s protests and after a brief discussion between the referee and his assistant the goal was allowed to stand. Despite this setback Lydney continued to push forward and on 82 minutes a Thompson shot was parried by keeper Jones just out of the path of the incoming Wines. With time running out Wines broke down the left but his cross to the far post was deflected out for a corner. Morley-Lyne swung the ball into the box and in a melee of bodies Jordi Sheen managed to head home.
Lydney were not content to settle for a point and 2 minutes later a Thompson effort went narrowly wide. With the game now deep into injury time Lydney were awarded a free kick on the left. Rutter fired the ball across the box where it came to the feet of Morley-Lyne who coolly cut back into the box beating two defenders and slotting the ball into the far corner of the net. The goal sparked jubilation with the substitutes running half the pitch to mob the scorer during which time the referee blew the whistle for the end of the game.
This was certainly a battling display by Lydney and a welcome return to the club and to goal scoring form of Declan Morley-Lyne. It was difficult to pick out a man of the match since everyone played their part digging in deep in deteriorating conditions. Starting with Tuesdays home game against Royal Wootton Bassett the Town have 4 league games in 11 days all of which on current form are winnable. Hopefully Sam Elliott is close to a return to bolster the defence especially with the impending absence of Jack Rutter who has shown all his experience to slot in at the back. The loss of Ross Gabriel for 6 weeks after having facial surgery following his unfortunate broken nose against Bishops Cleeve is a blow but if Morley-Lyne can regain his goal scoring touch and partner leading scorer Lewis Thompson the Town could still upset some of the more fancied teams in the league.