Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West: Yate Town 3 Cinderford Town 1
EVEN if Kayne McLaggon never plays for Yate again, he will always be a Lodge Road hero after bagging the goal that ensured their hoodoo against Cinderford came to an end.
The striker has signed on a dual registration to get more matches under his belt after missing the start of the season through injury and is likely to be back in Weston-super-Mare’s squad this weekend, but he made a telling contribution on his Yate debut by scoring their third goal late on to put this game to bed.
At the time Cinderford were pressing for an equaliser having pulled a goal back through former Forest Green midfielder Lee Smith, and McLaggon showed the sort of composure in front of goal that has been lacking since the departure of top scorer Tom Knighton.
Cinderford had won on their previous five visits to Lodge Road over the last three years and had not lost a league match to the Bluebells since the 2004/05 season, but goals from Mike Bryant and Matt Groves, with a superb individual effort, either side of half time set up Yate’s win.
Rob Cousins’ side are now unbeaten in five games to move four points ahead of bottom side Sholing, while they also climbed above Didcot Town, who visit Lodge Road this Saturday on a run of five defeats in a row.
Yate were a whisker away from taking the lead on eight minutes. Groves linked well with Danny Wring and fired in a cross to Jake Cox, whose header was somehow tipped onto the post by the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Alex Harris.
A floated ball forward by Andy Lewis caught the Yate defence napping, but goalkeeper Josh Dempsey was quick to rush off his line and block Scott Wilson’s effort before Josh Emery’s shot from the edge of the box flashed just wide.
Bryant should’ve given Yate the lead when Cox’s ball over the top sent him through on goal but his weak shot was saved by Harris, who smothered when the midfielder went for a second bite of the cherry.
However, Bryant made amends by scoring the opening goal three minutes before half time. His magnificent first touch on the turn from Ollie Barnes’ pass into the box was key as it gave him an extra yard of space and he squeezed the ball past Harris at his near post.
After struggling to get into the game in the first half, McLaggon looked livelier after the break and he jinked past two defenders on the right flank before sending a lovely cross into Cox, who hit his volley into the ground with Dan Harrison heading over from under the bar to keep it out.
Groves then showed his skills to leave Cinderford’s defence for dead as he burst into the box from the right and waited for Harris to go down before coolly sliding the ball into the net from a tight angle for Yate’s second on 57 minutes.
Yate then had a penalty turned down when McLaggon appeared to be tripped in the box before Cinderford pulled a goal back in controversial circumstances on 76 minutes. With Yate still protesting against the decision to award a free kick for Geraint Bater’s sliding challenge on Jack Camm, Dave Bird took it short to substitute Smith, who had time to pick out the top corner beautifully from 25 yards.
However, Yate wrapped the game up with six minutes left when McLaggon seized on a slip by Harrison to race onto a long clearance and take the ball around Harris before placing it into the gaping net.
Yate Town: Dempsey, Warren, Barnes, Purnell, Bryant (Sarr, 88), Bater, Groves, Vahid, McLaggon (Hiroli, 90), Wring, Cox. Subs not used: Meaker, Thomas, Cousins.
Ref: Mr S Wales Att: 161 Gazette star man: Matt Groves – Great skill for what turned out to be the winning goal.
• Mitchell Page will return from suspension for the home game against Didcot on Saturday (3pm).
Yate visit local rivals Mangotsfield United on Boxing Day (1pm).