Larkhall Athletic 3-0 Evesham United
Southern League Div 1 South & West
Larkhall overcame a very strong Evesham United in a spirited performance which lifts them to 9th in the table after only 9 games. A man of the match performance from Dean Griffiths, up front on his own, and a solid defence gave Wayne Thorne’s men their 4th league win of the season.
In the first ten minutes both teams were feeling their way into the game. Some good one touch attacking football from Joe Raynes and Dean Griffiths created the space for Jamie Lyons to fizz a ball low across the box. Kyle Phillips was then called into action for a comfortable save from Evesham’s Dan MacDonald.
The first real chance of the game fell to Larkhall’s Raynes. Lyons’ corner wasn’t held by Evesham’s goal keeper, Kevin Sawyer, Raynes pounced on the loose ball only to see his shot blocked by Linden Dovey with a last ditch tackle. Larkhall were then withstanding heavy pressure from the visitors for the next fifteen minutes.
Despite Evesham’s decent passing football they failed to sufficiently test Phillips. The Larks defence were keeping them at bay but at the expense of three yellow cards. However on 32 minutes there was a goal from a Larkhall attack. Griffiths chases down a long ball, cleared back up field after a Larks freekick, on the left and gets one on one with the full back. Griffiths turns the hapless defender inside out four times, whilst waiting for support, and crosses the ball to the back post for the arriving Ollie Price to make it 1-0 with a powerful header.
Evesham still had the majority of the possession after the goal and passed it around neatly, with the Larks defence clearing balls in the final third. Phillips was called into action just four minutes before the break to keep the score 1-0. Ashley Williams finally found himself in enough space for a shot and his fierce strike, through a crowd of players, found Lance Smith in the six yard box. The midfielder couldn’t hit the ball cleanly and Phillips somehow kept hold of the ball at the second attempt.
On the stroke of half time the Larks had an opportunity to increase their lead. Griffiths controlled the ball on the bounce, getting in ahead of the Evesham defence, to set up Lyons. However the angle was against the winger and Sawyer saved well at the near post.
The instruction at half time must have been to push forward more for the Larks and they were soon 2-0 up on 49 minutes. A through ball found Griffiths who had the pace to beat Evesham’s captain Matt Sysum. Griffiths rode the foul by the centre back to break clear. The experienced striker looked up and spotted the run of new signing Jack Camm arriving on the right, who stepped inside to score his second ever Larkhall goal.
This goal was enough for the Evesham bench to make two changes in the next ten minutes to try and change the game after they went close with MacDonald hitting the side netting.
Then on 69 minutes the Larks ensured all 3 points with a decisive counter attack started with Luke Scott. The full back won the ball on the half way line after pressing higher up the pitch and carried it forward. Griffiths movement up front created space for a superb through ball behind the back four for Griffiths to fire home and secure the MOTM award.
Wayne Thorne introduced fresh legs to maintain the clean sheet and Matt Morris did everything he could to impress the Larks management. The young winger took the game to Evesham with his pace and energy and forced a smart stop from Sawyer in the last ten minutes.
The final chance of the game fell to Evesham who still had most of the possession throughout the game. Substitute Carl Brown fired over from the edge of the box to mark a frustrating afternoon for the visitors and their large away following.
MOTM – Dean Griffiths – Despite a yellow card the striker turned in a near perfect lone striker performance; two assists and a goal.
Larkhall Athletic – Kyle Phillips, Josh Egan, Luke Scott, Ben Wych, Ollie Price (c), Dan Jones, Jack Camm (69th min Matt Morris), Joe Raynes, Dean Griffiths (86th min Charlie Maddison), Dan Cleverley, Jamie Lyons
Subs not used – Lee Collier, Stuart Tovey
Evesham United – Kevin Sawyer, Liam Harding, Will Wellon, Ashley Williams (54th min Louis McGrory), Matt Sysum (c), Linden Dovey, George Washbourne, Lance Smith, Adam Mann, Dan MacDonald (73rd min Carl Brown), Nick Stanley (64th min Clayton Green)
Subs not used – Kevin Slack, Lewis Binns