LARKHALL ATHLETIC 1 PAULTON ROVERS 3
Torrential rain did not spoil a highly competitive First Qualifying Round replay at Plain Ham.
Paulton started brightly as Ryan Gay shot wide from Braeden Symes’ cross, before Joe Hillard headed wide from Ben Withey’s cross. Hillard, returning after injury, replaced the suspended Craig Allan, and featured largely throughout the game. Former Rovers’ player, Dale Evans, floated a free-kick and Jack Camm somehow conjured a dreadful miss.
Paulton lost left-back, Nuno Felix, through injury, and he was replaced by youngster, Ali Sen. On 24 minutes, against the run of play, Alex Lambert crossed from the left and Hillard had the misfortune to turn the ball past his own keeper, Joe Perry, to put the ‘Larks’ ahead.
There were further problems for Rovers, as Captain, Charlie Hitchings, limped off, with Cam Shorney coming into midfield and Symes dropping back into a makeshift back four.
Undeterred, Brad Abraham and Ed Butcher tested home stopper, Sean Semmens, as in the run-up to half-time, the referee waved a flurry of yellow cards to the home players, largely undeserved.
On fifty minutes, a slick Paulton move from Abraham found Butcher, whose on-target shot was deflected into Semmens’ hands. Five minutes later, Rovers levelled as Butcher found Ben Bament, who had had a largely quiet game until he thumped home a powerful equaliser.
Hillard was having an outstanding game, keeping Larks’ prolific striker, Lewis Powell, ineffective, apart from a header wide of the mark. Larkhall had a period when they were on top, as players were slip-sliding on an increasingly soaking surface.
Paulton went ahead on 77 minutes as Butcher cut inside and hit a fierce volley that was punched away by Semmens, but picked up by Abraham, who hit a sweet, low drive from 25 yards out to make it 2–1. Dave Sims-Burgess down the right was causing problems for the Larks’ defence, whilst for the hosts, Wayne Nderemani brought a save from Perry.
In added time, Sen cleared his lines to find Sims-Burgess, who broke down the right wing, and his low-cross was turned home by Bament.
Paulton will have to wait to see who their FA Trophy opponents will be, as Hitchin Town will replay at Belfont Sports on Tuesday, as they drew 1–1 on Saturday.
With the First team game against Willand Rovers and the Reserves’ match at Shepton Mallet Reserves both postponed, due to adverse weather, the First team were home on Tuesday, as The Journal went to press, to Weston-super-Mare, kicking off at 7.30 p.m. in the Southern League Challenge Cup.
This Saturday, 16th November, Rovers’ First team will be away at Frome Town, kick-off at 3 p.m.
Week commencing 18th November, the team play in the Buildbase FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round away to Belfont Sports or Hitchin Town. Check: www.paultonrovers.co.uk for travel arrangements.
The Reserves are home to Somer Valley Sports Reserves this Saturday, kick-off at 2 p.m.
On Monday, 18th November the Under-18s are home in the Roger Stone Memorial Cup to Weston-super-Mare U18s, kick-off 7.30 p.m.