MATCH REPORT: Paulton Rovers 3, Larkhall Athletic 1
Paulton Rovers progressed to the semi-finals of the Somerset Premier Cup despite an unconvincing performance against Toolstation Premier Division side Larkhall Athletic last night.
The hosts spurned a great chance to open the scoring in the second minute when an excellent move down the right saw Brandon Barnes pick out James Billing. He missed his kick and the ball rebounded to Ben Osman, whose follow-up was well blocked by a defender.
At the other end, a quick throw on the left saw Tyler Sibbick go clear but his shot from a narrow angle went into the side-netting.
Barnes had a long-range effort easily saved for Rovers, while Thomas Welch fired over the home bar after good work from Joe Strading and Jamie Lyons.
Both sides continued to play neat football without really threatening, although Billing had a chance on 22 minutes after being found by Barnes but his attempted lob was easily saved.
The visitors made the breakthrough two minutes before half-time when Osman gave away possession in midfield, a simple ball through the left channel sent Thomas Welch clear and he clipped the ball over the diving Kyle Phillips and into the net.
Rovers almost equalised when a Barnes corner picked out skipper Dan Cleverley but his header was cleared off the line by Luke Scott.
If Rovers were disappointing in the first half, their performance at the start of the second period was even worse as they were restricted to hopeful balls forward. Osman's breaks from midfield looked the most likely source of an equaliser but he was denied by a good challenge from Andy Gilbert and then shot straight at keeper Chris Snoddy.
The visitors had a great chance to double their lead on 66 minutes when Sibbick set up Jamie Lyons, who shot over.
Rovers then levelled on 71 minutes when Barnes won a header and Osman's effort deflected off a defender and into the net.
The home side took control and grabbed the lead six minutes later when Cleverley found Barnes, who picked up a return ball from Billing before curling a superb shot into the bottom corner.
Rovers made the game safe four minutes from time when Snoddy could not hold Jack Allward's 30-yard drive and Osman tapped home.