Larkhall Athletic 1-1 Swindon Supermarine
Southern League South & West
Plain Ham Att – 177
By Mark Tanner
It’s always a pleasure to get invited along to another club to write a match report on their game and with City away for the second weekend running so I ventured over to the other side of Bath. After getting the ‘wrong bus’ taking me the long way around Fairfield and navigating my way through some fields and allotments I finally made it to Plain Ham for my second ever visit.
So here is the traditional match report that made it on to the Larks site:
Larkhall and Swindon Supermarine fought out a fiery game and had to settle for a point apiece at an extremely hot Plain Ham. Supermarine took the lead on the 18th minute through Jacob Davidge, with the Larks replying on the 65th minute thanks to a Matt Thorne deflected shot.
The Larks started brightly with Darren Jefferies causing the Marine defence all sorts of problems from set pieces and open play. The visitors’ keeper Matt Bulman was busy between the sticks, saving first from Thorne and then from Brad Norris in the early exchanges.
A real chance to open the scoring went to the Larks early in the game when they were awarded an indirect freekick inside the penalty area for a high footed challenge. However, Bulman spread himself well to save from Norris from Thorne’s lay off.
It was Marine who drew first blood, taking the lead on 18 minutes. Ollie Price was deemed to have fouled Luke Hopper; the resulting freekick was taken by Chris Taylor and his floated ball to the back post came off a Larkhall player but was saved one-handed by Kyle Phillips. The ball however was pushed into the air with Phillips prone on the ground. It was then bundled over the line by the head of the onrushing Jacob Davidge giving Marine a 1-0 lead.
The Larks tried to get straight back into the game with a quickly taken freekick by Jefferies finding Dean Griffiths. He saw Bulman off his line and tried lifting it over the onrushing keeper but it went just over.
From then on it was all Marine with Phillips pulling off two excellent saves from Ryan O’Hara and Connor Waldon. The visitors had the majority of possession until half time and squandered a great chance to go 2-0 up just before half time. Ryan Stanners was found in the area and beat his marker to deliver a measured cross across goal, then Hopper had a free header with the goal at his mercy but headed just wide of the far post from 6 yards.
Whatever team talk Wayne Thorne gave at half time it seemed to fire up his team and they came out with a lot more energy and determination in the second half.
Phillips came to the Larks’ rescue again with the first real chance of the half. O’Hara, who had taken over set piece duty for Marine, floated a long freekick into the box, but Waldon found Phillips in fine form to tip his header around the post. In an almost identical freekick routine Phillips was on hand again, this time to tip over a header from Marine captain Ross Adams.
On the hour mark the Larkhall faithful had something to cheer about with Thorne getting the equaliser. A free flowing counter attack found Jefferies in the box who pulled it back to Thorne to strike. His fierce shot stuck a Swindon defender, taking a wicked deflection and wrong footing Bulman to make it 1-1.
Wayne Thorne tried to strengthen his back four by introducing Josh Jeffries to sit just in front of the back four, enabling Joe Raynes to get forward more. The majority of the possession was still the visitors’ though and they looked dangerous going forward. Thankfully their finishing in the final third was lacking and the Larks held on for a hard earned point.
MOTM was Kyle Phillips – He kept his side in it as the final line of defence and was constantly talking to his back four throughout.
Larkhall: Kyle Phillips, Stuart Tovey, Jack Allward, Ross Lye (31st min Giorgio Wrona), Ollie Price, Daniel Jones, Dean Griffiths (58th min Jamie Lyons), Joe Raynes, Brad Norris, Matt Thorne (69th min Josh Jeffries), Darren Jefferies
Subs: Luke Scott, Will Hailston
Swindon: Matt Bulman, Sam Morris, Kyle Lapham, Joe Shepperd, Ross Adams, Ryan O’Hara, Luke Hopper (69th min Oli Bailey), Chris Taylor, Connor Waldron, Ryan Stranners, Jacob Davidge (69th min Bradley Gray)
Subs: Jake Simpson, Ashley Taylor, Josh Morse
Verdict – A point will suit both teams but for different reasons. Swindon have had two tough away trips and will happy to get points on board at this early stage of the season. They did play the better passing football on the day though and if it wasn’t for the inspired performance of the Larks number 1 they could have come back with all 3 points. Their set piece play will serve them well this season with excellent delivery from Chris Taylor.
The Larks will also be pleased to get a point from this one after coming through the first half only one down. Darren Jefferies will be vital to this this year as he possesses the skill and vision to go round players and create decent openings for him and his team mates. Wayne Thorne will be pleased with the grit and determination to win shown by his lads in the second half.
Clubs at this level know who Larkhall are and after last year’s tremendous season we a coup for other clubs. – Wayne Thorne, speaking in the match day programme