LAMBS boss Stuart Henderson could not hide his delight after watching his side go seven points clear at the top of the Toolstation Western League Premier Division with a 1-0 win over second-placed Bitton at Langsford Park.
Liam Prynn’s 26th goal of an incredible season, ten minutes before half-time, was all that separated the two sides, but the margin of victory could have been bigger had it not been for two contentious decisions in the second half.
Firstly, Prynn was denied a potential second when two Bitton players collided and with the striker clean through on goal, the referee blew his whistle with the Bitton players claiming head injuries.
Then, the Bitton goalkeeper Sam Burgess palmed a corner kick into his own net, only for the referee to blow for an apparent foul, which left everyone inside the ground somewhat bemused.
However, it could have been different had Tavi goalkeeper Josh Oak not saved an early Josh Egan penalty, which was awarded after Josh Robins had brought down a Bitton player with just 11 minutes on the clock.
“Obviously it was two top teams with it being first against second and I think it was always going to be tight,” Henderson said. “I thought we had the better of it.
“We conceded an unnecessary penalty early on, but Josh Oak pulled off a good save, which got us out of jail really, but we were the better side.
“Dan Koita was unlucky not to score – it was a great first touch and then he hit it wide – but he, Granty and Prynny linked up well for the goal to make it 1-0.
“Second half, I don’t really remember them creating too much, we didn’t create a lot either, but the goalie has palmed one into his own net from a corner and I don’t understand what the referee has seen – and I don’t think anyone else does.
“None of our players were anywhere near him at the time and then there was another one where we are through on goal, both of their players have gone down holding their heads and he said it was a head injury. Well, they tangled their feet together and on another day it could have been 3-0.”
So incensed were the Lambs that Dave Hallett was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes, not long after Bitton’s Kai Fisher had also spent time in the bin. The match ended with the Lambs in the ascendancy and Bitton losing their discipline completely when Liam Monelle was sent off for a horrible tackle on the outstanding Callum Watson.
It was an afternoon where several Lambs rose to the challenge in the biggest game of the season so far. Oak was magnificent between the posts, making the penalty save and further stops early in the game to keep it scoreless, while the defence was superbly marshalled by the outstanding Lewis Daw.
Watson and Hallett controlled the midfield, while Prynn was on target again despite spending most of the week in bed with illness.
“I was just delighted to win and get the three points,” Henderson added. “It gives us a little bit of breathing space at the top of the league.
“Prynny has been in bed all week, he hasn’t trained and got up for the first time yesterday and had some food,” Henderson added. “The plan was just to see how he got on and everything he touches seems to go in at the moment, so long may that continue.”
The Lambs now have a two week break before they return to action with a clash against Keynsham Town at Langsford Park on Saturday, December 18 (3pm).