Cullompton Rangers 2 – 1 Tavistock AFC

The Lambs were knocked out of the FA Vase when they lost at Cullompton last Saturday. It was a really hard fought battle between two teams looking to progress to the second round.

Once again there were a number of forced changes to the team. Dave Hallett could take no part in the game, as he pulled up in the pre-match warm up with a calf muscle problem. The Lambs were also without Andy Meeds, who was unavailable.

The Lambs started brightly and Joe Moore the home ‘keeper made a good save to deny Dan Pethick from scoring in the 4th minute.  Minutes later a John Wyatt cross flashed across the home penalty area but, unfortunately, there was no-one on the end of it.

For long periods the majority of play was in the midfield area, with both sides trying to get the upper hand. Joe Moore then produced another fine save to deny Andy Sargent’s 20 yard drive which looked destined for the net.

The home team broke the deadlock on the half hour when some slack marking by the Lambs’ defence saw a header from Danny Tapp put Raith Plant through on goal who lobbed the advancing Lamb’s ‘keeper to take the lead.

The visitors continued to push forward in an effort to level the scores but they relied too much on the long ball, which the home defence dealt with comfortably.

The second period saw Tavistock with renewed vigour and it was the home ‘keeper who was kept the busier of the two. In the 54th minute a tremendous shot from Sargent was blocked and cleared, and minutes later Moore and his defender got in a muddle, the ball falling to Wyatt whose effort was somehow cleared off the line.

The Lambs deservedly equalised in the 71st minute following a corner kick that the home defence failed to clear, the ball falling to Michael Landricombe who drove it home low into the corner of the net.

Both sides were going for the winner and John James, Dan Pethick and John Wyatt all had half chances to give the Lambs the lead, but Moore in the home goal continued to deny them.

It was the home team who restored their lead in the 80th minute when some slack marking by the visitors saw the ball go loose in the penalty area and despite Ahearn’s smart block from Brett Worbey’s shot, the rebound fell kindly to the unmarked Alex Greening who calmly tapped the ball home from four yards.

The visitors threw everything at the home side in the last ten minutes, but with Moore in fine form and some resolute defending from the Cullompton rearguard, the home team managed to keep their necks in front and progressed to the next round.

The Lambs will no doubt be disappointed, as over the ninety minutes they definitely had the greater share of possession, but they played too many long balls against a tall home defence. The team really needs to get back to the football they were playing a few weeks ago when the approach was keeping possession and passing the ball along the ground.

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