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Tavistock AFC 3 – 1 Royal Marines AFC

The Lambs got off to the worse start possible when Neil Kinsman handled in the penalty area in the first minute. The converted penalty put the visitors one up. This unsettled the home side and the visitors had a good spell in the opening ten minutes which belied their lowly position in the league.

Tavistock gradually got their game together and in the 11th minute John Wyatt had a good effort deflected for a corner. Michael  Landricombe’s header from the corner kick went well wide of the target. Wyatt, in the thick of the action again, spurned a good chance to equalise when he shot wide of the goal. Dave Hallett and Martyn Sullivan combined well to set Ben Davies on a penetrating past two defenders but his shot lacked power and was easily saved by the visiting goalkeeper. Marines’ ‘keeper was in action again in the 18th minute when Andy Sargent looked almost certain to equalise, but a brilliant save from his first effort, and a corner-bound deflection off a defender from the rebound denied him.

The visitors were defending in numbers during this period of pressure from the home side, and, after an attack on the home goal, a poor defensive header by Ahearn fell to the Marines’ winger, but he shot wide when well placed. Both Sargent and Sullivan went close at the other end, before Dean Smith made a magnificent reflex save in the 42nd minute and the shot from the rebound was cleared off the line by Landricombe, to prevent the visitors going two up. The home team immediately went to the other end and equalised – John Wyatt finising a great move with a ferocious shot from 18 yards that gave the visiting keeper no chance.  It was Wyatt again who almost gave the Lambs the lead on the stroke of half time when another powerful drive flashed past the far post.

The home team really took the game to the visitors in the second half, as they upped the tempo of their passing and this was causing the Marines real problems. John James had a terrific effort that was inches wide of the target, just moments after the Lambs had a penalty appeal turned down when Sargent was brought down in the area.

In the 60th minute the crowd witnessed what will probably be the goal of  the season, when, after some good possession football, the ball found Ben Davies.  Davies then cut inside from the left back position and unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards that nestled in the top corner, before the keeper had a chance to move. Jarryd Kelly then went close with a fine effort, before he increased the Lambs’ lead when he placed his shot with aplomb wide of the ‘keeper to make it 3-1. The visitors kept going and Smith was called upon toward the final whistle to make a smart save.

Once the team settled down after the disastrous start they played some very attractive football, particularly in the second half when they passed the ball with accuracy, dominating possession. There were a number of really good performances, but all the players need to be congratulated on a great team effort. Jarryd Kelly and Andy Sargeant are really beginning to build a partnership, feeding off each other. The midfield looks strong with John James and playmakers Dave Hallett and Martyn Sullivan on top of their game. Ben Davies has been really good at left-back, with John Wyatt a revelation on the flanks.

The squad looks strong and after an indifferent start to the season, it looks as if the team has turned the corner. But there is a saying – “ you are only as good as the last and next game”. There must be no signs of complacency.

Match Report: Derek Pethick.

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