MOUSEHOLE 3-1 SALTASH UNITED
SOUTH WEST PENINSULA LEAGUE, PREMIER WEST
SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER 2019
AT TRUNGLE PARC
In the battle of the only two unbeaten teams in the league, Mousehole came out on top with a rousing second-half performance in front of their biggest home crowd of the season.
The real turning point of the match was an astute tactical change on 35 minutes by Mousehole boss Jake Ash, who is just two months into his first managerial post.
The game was preceded by a minute’s applause for Peter George, well-known supporter of West Cornwall sport, who died recently.
Visitors Saltash United then went on to justify their ‘favourites’ tag and much-vaunted reputation with a good first half-hour, controlling too much of the midfield play for Mousehole’s liking and making their trademark quick forward passes into space for the prolific strike pair of Sam Hughes and Ryan Richards.
Mousehole keeper Corey Harvey had already made three vital saves in the 4th, 22nd and 23rd minutes before Richards put The Ashes into the lead on 25 as he latched on to a straight ball behind the defence to run on and side foot into the net off the far post.
But then came the decision that changed the balance of play and the final outcome, with Ash bringing on marksman Gerens James up front and pulling back Kieran Toland to bolster the midfield.
Saltash’s threats receded, Lez Cela and Billy Curtis each fired wide with half chances, and the half-time team talk then re-energised The Seagulls, as they produced their most complete 45 minutes of an already good season against the best side they have faced so far.
Mousehole started the half on the front foot but in truth it was a goalkeeping blunder that brought the equaliser on 50 minutes. Ryan Rickard failed to hold on to Amara Bakayoko’s driven free kick and Gerens James was instantly on to the loose ball to score from close range.
The noisy crowd were jubilant just eight minutes later when Bakayoko’s in-swinging corner from the right was headed in James, again from inside the six-yard box.
As Saltash looked to get back into the game, Mousehole responded in the most positive fashion, on-the-hour substitute Steven Ziboth on the left and Bakayoko on the right, superbly assisted by Billy Curtis and Paulo Sousa in wing-back roles, using their pace to push back the visitors’ defence, with Lez Cela craftily probing from midfield.
Meanwhile centre-backs Mark Richards and Ben Harding, ably supported by combative midfielder Steve Burt and the energetic Kieran Toland, kept the 58-goal visitors so quiet that Corey Harvey had a relatively untroubled second half. And with The Ashes’ attacks repeatedly being broken up, several Mousehole chances created from deep came close to adding to the scoreline.
The game was eventually made safe in the 86th minute when yet another exciting fast break from inside his own half by Bakayoko presented Lez Cela with an unmissable tap-in.
With just under a third of the season’s league fixtures now completed, Mousehole are conveniently tucked into the leading pack of five teams in the West Division – alongside St Austell, Saltash United, Helston Athletic and Bodmin Town – with sixth-placed Falmouth Town a further seven points back.
The Seagulls are also far and away the most successful of the sides promoted from Division One, standing currently nine points ahead of last season’s champions Liskeard Athletic.
This Wednesday (7.30pm), Jake Ash’s squad face the fascinating challenge of an away league fixture at big-spending Helston Athletic, who will be keen to end The Seagulls’ unbeaten record but with perhaps one eye on their big FA Vase tie against Falmouth Town on Saturday.
Mousehole v Saltash: Corey Harvey, Billy Curtis (captain), Mark Richards, Ben Harding, Paulo Sousa, Lez Cela, Rheiss McClean, Steve Burt, Amara Bakayoko, Kieran Toland, Imani Matthews
Substitutes: Gerens James (for Imani Matthews, 35), Steven Ziboth (for Rheiss McClean, 60), Scott Imade (for Kieran Toland, 90+4), Ben Williams, Jamie Devine
Scorers: Gerens James (50, 58), Lez Cela (86)
Officials – Referee: Ian Roberts; Assistants: Adam Price & Adam Batchelor