MOUSEHOLE 3-1 ST AUSTELL (after extra time, score at full time 1-1)




Two perfectly-executed goals in the second period of extra time of an incident-packed Senior Cup Semi-Final earned Mousehole a well-deserved win over higher-division St Austell in front of a large crowd on a rain-sodden but memorable night at Helston.

The Seagulls had never before reached the semi-final of the County FA’s prestigious cup competition, but they were not content to leave the record at that, as they showed great skill, courage, decision-making and fitness to overcome their illustrious Premier Division opponents who have been multiple winners of the Senior Cup.

Both teams had enjoyed home advantage in all ties leading up to the semi-final, with Mousehole beating two Cornwall Combination sides RNAS Culdrose (5-1) and West Cornwall (2-0) and then Premier Division visitors Newquay (5-0), while St Austell had knocked out Combo side Mullion (11-0), Division 1 West Dobwalls (3-2) and then Camelford (2-1).

St Austell started on the front foot but were undone in the 6th minute when a short-corner routine led to a long cross beyond the far post where Jake Andrew nodded the ball back and Luke Johnson rifled a low drive into the net from 10 yards.

Steve Parker-Billinge had to be at his goalkeeping best to pounce on to a dangerous low cross as the Lillywhites came back strongly, but there was little he could do to prevent an equaliser on 17 minutes when Martin Watts put in a high inswinging free kick from the right towards St Austell’s big defenders and Martin Giles was first to the ball to head home.

The Seagulls, giving as good as they got in a tough physical encounter, were in the ascendancy for the last 15 minutes of the first half with a composed performance when on the ball and some alert defending as St Austell looked to play on the break.

St Austell had a goal ruled out for offside on 51 minutes as they again started the half strongly and Liam Andrew received a yellow card for a foul four minutes later as Mousehole were pressed back.  Paulo Sousa and William Vouama were being targeted with rough treatment as The Lillywhites sought to impose themselves, but it was a violent over-the-top tackle on Kevin Lawrence in the centre-circle that led to a straight red card for St Austell’s Chris Reski on 63 minutes, an event which provoked a mass confrontation between the players of both sides.  Five minutes later it became ten-versus-ten when Liam Andrew was dealt a second yellow card for a trip on Mark Goldsworthy as he latched on to a loose ball after a rare defensive mix-up, with Steve Parker-Billinge making a great save from the resultant free kick again delivered menacingly by Martin Watts.

The greater space provided by the two dismissals suited Mousehole better and as the game opened up Jason Chapman in the St Austell goal made good saves from 25-yard shots by Will Vouama and Jordan Adlard.  But what turned out to be a significant moment was the substitute appearance of Steven Ziboth with 15 minutes to go, and the diminutive 19-year old’s pace and movement kept the Lillywhites powerful defence guessing for the rest of the match.  Chapman was in action again on 90+2 as he blocked Ziboth’s shot from close range after a dazzling run from the left.

Mousehole’s retention and quick forward movement of the ball on a slick surface saw them dominate large parts of the 30 minutes of extra time, with a tiring St Austell side threatening only occasionally through set pieces and long balls upfield, and looking content to hold on for a penalty shoot-out.  Steven Ziboth’s cross-cum-shot hit the far post on 100 minutes and on 110 William Vouama had a shot brilliantly blocked when a goal looked certain.  But the goal that had been coming for some time resulted from a quickly-taken free kick in Mousehole’s own half, William Vouama weaving elegantly past labouring defenders and chipping a superb pass into the path of Steven Ziboth who raced through to shoot low past Chapman for 2-1 in the 115th minute.

In a sensational last minute of added time, goalkeeper Jason Chapman went up for a last-gasp St Austell corner, Martin Giles’ header was cleared off the line by Tyler Tonkin to prevent an undeserved equaliser, the ball reached Steve Parker-Billinge and his quick release saw Steven Ziboth overtake the retreating Chapman with stunning speed to slot into the unguarded net from 30 yards and prompt huge celebrations both on and off the pitch.

Mousehole’s semi-final result was their fourth Cup win of the season against Premier Division opposition, having already disposed of Camelford, Launceston and Newquay, and they will need to show the same qualities in the Senior Cup Final* against last season’s losing finalists Saltash United (3-1 winners against Torpoint Athletic in the other semi-final) who currently stand 4th in the Premier Division table with only four league defeats this season.

This Saturday (10th) Mousehole face Division 1 East side Teignmouth at Trungle Parc (2:30pm) in the League Cup quarter-final tie postponed from last Saturday because of travelling conditions.  If Mousehole win, they will play Tavistock in the semi-final at Newquay on Tuesday March 20th, their fifth Premier Division opposition this season.

Mousehole:  Steve Parker-Billinge, Tyler Tonkin, Billy Curtis (captain), Calum Elliot, Liam Andrew, Kevin Lawrence, Jordan Adlard, William Vouama, Luke Johnson, Jake Andrew, Paulo Sousa

Substitutes:  Steven Ziboth (for Jake Andrew, 75), Connor Davey, Caleb Marsden, Josh Otto

St Austell:  Jason Chapman, Will Tinsley, Martin Watts, Martin Giles, Tom Chambers, Ross Lye, Jordan Dingle, Chris Reski, Liam Dingle, Mark Goldsworthy, Jack Calver

Substitutes:  Lean, Searle, Powell, Flack (for Liam Dingle, 85)

Scorers:  Mousehole – Luke Johnson (6), Steven Ziboth (115, 120+3);  St Austell – Martin Giles (17)

Officials:  Referee – Neil Hunnisett,  Assistant Referees – Steve Nute & Keith Houghton,  Fourth Official – Steve Annis

Attendance:  381

*Cornwall Senior Cup Final:  Mousehole v Saltash United, Easter Monday 2nd April, at Blaise Park, St Blazey AFC, kick off 2pm

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