SEAGULLS PULL OFF CUP SHOCK TO REACH ANOTHER QUARTER-FINAL
MOUSEHOLE 2-1 LAUNCESTON
(after extra time; 1-1 at full-time)
SOUTH WEST PENINSULA LEAGUE CUP – sponsored by Walter C Parson Funeral Directors
THIRD ROUND TIE
SATURDAY 20TH JANUARY 2018, AT TRUNGLE PARC
Mousehole pulled off a significant victory on Saturday over Premier Division Launceston with a committed performance in an end-to-end contest from which both teams can take massive credit for their wholehearted 120 minutes’ work in challenging conditions.
The tie – postponed on the original date at the end of December after non-stop heavy rain over several days – went ahead on this occasion despite similar weather and was one of very few games in the region to survive. The pitch was slippery but perfectly playable and the strong wind, accompanied by persistent drizzle and the occasional downpour, made it difficult for either side to deploy their usual style.
The Seagulls had to show great resolve to come from behind for this win – the second over higher-division opposition in this year’s League Cup – which completes a trio of quarter-final ties at home in this season’s Cup competitions and extends their winning home run to 12 games.
Launceston were on top in the opening stages and took the lead after only five minutes when a short ball forward found Sam Davey in a generous amount of space and the dangerous marksman netted his 20th goal of the season with a simple finish. The visitors continued to control the play in midfield and make chances, the post coming to Mousehole’s rescue after a corner and Tyler Tonkin making two goal-saving blocks in quick succession.
Mousehole gradually edged back into the game after the half-hour mark, and came close to scoring against the run of play in the 35th minute when goalkeeper Lee Fletcher was called into serious action for the first time when he parried Luke Johnson’s 25-yard drive and then Jake Andrew’s shot from the rebound at close quarters. Connor Davey then drove wide from the edge of the box on 40 minutes after a rare spell of Mousehole possession, but a somewhat unexpected equaliser came a minute later when Luke Johnson’s left-foot shot from right of centre on the 18-yard line deceived Fletcher as it sped inside the near post.
The opening period of the second half was notable for a burst of torrential rain and a 30-yard free-kick from newcomer Chris Prout which the visitors’ ‘keeper pushed aside at full stretch at the foot of the post. But Launceston came back at the other end and only last-ditch defending prevented them from regaining the lead. As the rain stopped and the sun came out after the hour, Caleb Marsden replaced the injured Connor Davey – and that was later to have a decisive impact on the match.
The last 25 minutes were full of goalmouth action as both sides showed tremendous spirit in strength-sapping conditions. ‘Keeper Steve Parker-Billinge brought off three top-class saves to thwart the visitors and the home goal survived further near-misses when shots were blocked or deflected. In an incident-packed last ten minutes, Mousehole came close to snatching a winner with a Bradley Wills volley going wide, Jake Andrew seeing a point-blank header saved by Fletcher and the same player heading wide with a great chance in front of goal. The excitement continued right up to the last kick, when Sam Davey moved forward into space and looked certain to score a winner for the visitors until Billy Curtis – on as a substitute only a few minutes earlier – got back to put in a magnificent challenge to save the day and take the tie into extra time.
The 30 minutes of extra time proved to be superbly competitive, with Mousehole showing great determination and fitness levels to dictate the play. In the first period Caleb Marsden came close twice and Steve Parker-Billinge smothered a chance at the other end. But the crucial moment came in the last minute of the 15 when Caleb Marsden put The Seagulls into the lead for the first time as he raced on to Bradley Wills’ penetrating pass to flick home as the defenders closed in. The hosts dominated the second period with Fletcher in the Launceston goal by far the busier of the two ‘keepers, and the visitors being restricted to a solitary half-chance fired over from 15 yards by Liam Prynn with three minutes to go.
The Seagulls’ reward is a home tie in the quarter-finals on Saturday 3rd March against Teignmouth, who play at Mousehole’s level in Division 1 East and currently occupy a top-10 position.
Mousehole’s other forthcoming Cup quarter-final ties at Trungle Parc are in the Cornwall Senior Cup on Saturday 3rd February against Newquay (providing another cup-upset opportunity against a higher-Division side), and a week later in the Cornwall Charity Cup on Saturday 10th February against local West Division rivals Penzance.
Before that, Mousehole entertain Holsworthy this Saturday (27th) in a League match at Trungle Parc, kick off 2:15pm, looking for the points to maintain their challenge among the top-six in the Division 1 West table.
Mousehole v Launceston: Steve Parker-Billinge, Tyler Tonkin (sub: Billy Curtis, 87), Calum Elliot, Liam Andrew, Chris Prout, Kevin Lawrence (captain), Jordan Adlard, Bradley Wills, Connor Davey (sub: Caleb Marsden, 64), Luke Johnson, Jake Andrew (sub: Josh Storey, 114). Substitutes: Matt McIlroy, Josh Nicholls
Scorers: 0-1 Launceston (Sam Davey, 5), 1-1 Mousehole (Luke Johnson, 41), 2-1 Mousehole (Caleb Marsden, 105).
Referee: Matthew Carney Attendance: 67.