Game over at the break!
Abysmal 1st half costs Lydney dear
[bAfter a battling display against League leaders Ascot the previous week Lydney travelled to Wantage in confident mood especially having beaten ‘The Freds’ earlier in the season. Lewis Halford missed the trip due to injury but the Town were able to welcome back leading scorer Lewis Thompson and include new signing Camden Duncan on loan from Cheltenham Town. Also returning was centre-half Sam Elliott who came onto the bench after being sidelined with injury since mid-September.
Lydney started disastrously and a cross from Ben Cook in from the right on 2 minutes eluded both Lydney keeper Ollie Hall and Wantage striker Steve Robertson but fell kindly to Jack Dunmall on the far post who had an easy task of side footing the ball home. A few minutes later Robertson crossed to the head of Cook but his effort was well saved by keeper Hall. Lydney continually struggled to hold the home team at bay and on 30 minutes Robertson broke through but screwed his shot wide. A rare Lydney attack in the 32nd minute saw new signing Duncan swing the ball into the box but Lewis Thompson's shot was saved by keeper Curtis Meare.
Following the save Wantage broke quickly down the right and Cook again swung a cross into the box finding Robertson who then laid the ball into the path of Mark Flanagan who picked his spot to fire home and increase their lead. With Lydney posing little threat it was no surprise when on 41 minutes ‘The Freds’ increased their lead further when Robertson swung the ball to the far post where Dunmall headed home.
Lydney came out a completely different side in the 2nd half and immediately took the game to the home side. On 52 minutes Lydney forced a corner but Jack Rutter's cross into the box was easily cleared. 3 minutes later a Rutter free-kick into the box saw keeper Meare punch the ball out to Duncan who was fouled on the edge of the box but Declan Morley-Lyne’s effort went just over the bar. A minute later Morley-Lyne broke through on goal but a fine tackle thwarted his effort.
On the hour mark Lydney finally pulled a goal back when a cross in from the left saw Morley-Lyne out jump the defence to head home. Lydney continued to dominate play forcing a series of corners but the home defence held firm. In the 71st minute Wantage created their first chance of the 2nd half but Robertson screwed his shot wide. Lydney went back on the attack and efforts from Thompson & Ross Gabriel were cleared by the home defence. On 76 minutes Gabriel broke through on goal and with just Meare to beat he somehow managed to hit his shot over the bar. This miss was to prove costly when on 80 minutes a speculative shot from Dan Sadler hit centre back Tom Handley and looped over the helpless Hall.
With the game at Tuffley on Boxing Day being postponed it appeared Lydney were still getting over the Christmas festivities and the lacklustre performance in the first half cost Lydney any chance in this game. With a gruelling schedule of 5 away league games to start the New Year Lydney will need to improve on Saturdays performance. One plus to start the year is the return of influential centre back Sam Elliott to bolster the defence. Next up is an away game at Reading City before returning to Lydney the following Saturday in the Supplementary Cup when Lydney entertain unbeaten Division 2 East leaders Long Crendon.
REPORT BY RS