The Larks kicked off the 2018-19 season against opponents who’ve proved to be a hard nut to crack in all our past encounters. This game was no exception, a closely fought, sometimes bad-tempered, draw which we could perhaps have shaded.
Phil and Arnie’s new look squad dominated the first half, and scored in under half an hour thanks to the striking instincts of our number 10 Lewis Powell, who latched onto a Mason Winter cross to fire home past Steve Oliver at close range.
Shortly before the opening goal Shaun Semmens made the first of a couple of superb saves to deny Ben Wood, but on the whole the Larks had the best of the half, retaining possession well thanks to a composed debut display from Ben Lewis in midfield, and a man of the match performance from centre-forward Greg Peel, who held the ball up with great persistence over 90 minutes. The Robins seemed content to pump long balls upfield towards their forwards.
This all changed in the second half, when veteran striker Kevin Squire was introduced for the hosts, who appeared energised by the change and gave our defence more to think about. The Robins’ renewed self-belief resulted in their equaliser when they were awarded a penalty for hand ball in the box. Shaun nearly saved Squires’ spot kick with his legs but the ball trickled in to establish parity. The game concluded with Shaun pulling off another decisive stop when one on one with Bideford sub Billy Tucker.