Saltash vs Mousehole March 2020

MIXED FORTUNES AS SEAGULLS EARN DRAW AT TITLE CHASERS

SALTASH UNITED 2-2 MOUSEHOLE

SOUTH WEST PENINSULA LEAGUE, PREMIER WEST

SATURDAY 7TH MARCH 2020

AT KIMBERLEY STADIUM

In most circumstances, a draw away at top Cornish side Saltash United would be regarded as a great result, but it’s a measure of how far Mousehole have progressed that they came away disappointed with just the one point, as well as aggrieved by some puzzling refereeing decisions.

Nevertheless, this was a commendable achievement by Jake Ash’s men, who not only followed up their 3-1 home win against Saltash in October – The Ashes’ only league defeat so far – but also ruined the hosts’ 100% home league record.  And the one point still keeps them in contention for a promotion place at the top of the table.

Saltash made a strong start, pinning Mousehole back in their own half with their muscular and direct approach, but the visitors then created some good chances after the initial ten minutes, Kieron Toland miscuing a volley on the corner of the six yard box from Billy Curtis’ free kick in the 15th minute, and Hayden Turner firing wide of the near post from 18 yards on 21. 

The Seagulls then had a major scare in the 25th minute when Reece Thomson raced clear, took the ball round Cory Harvey but shot harmlessly across goal from an angle.  A minute later Henry Wilson became the first of several Saltash players to be given a yellow card, fouling Tallan Mitchell as the midfielder darted through on goal from halfway.  And shortly afterwards Hayden Turner nimbly went past big centre-back Callum O’Brien for a one-on-one chance but keeper Ryan Rickard blocked the shot.

Mousehole deservedly took the lead in the next attack, Amara Bakayoko’s low cross from the left tapped in at the far post by wingman Rheiss McClean for his 13th goal of the season. 

As the action continued at both ends, Cory Harvey spectacularly tipped over a 30-yard drive destined for the top corner by defender Chris Menhenick on 31 minutes, and shortly afterwards The Ashes appealed in vain for a goal when a dangerous corner was somehow hacked off the line.

Back came Mousehole, breaking swiftly from midfield, and in a two-against-one attack in the 34th minute Amara Bakayoko’s shot deflected off the keeper and on to the crossbar.  Barely a minute later, Hayden Turner again outfoxed his marker but Rickard was once more out quickly to block the shot.  Menhenick was then booked for a crude challenge as The Seagulls looked the more agile of the two teams.  And on 39 minutes,  O’Brien under-hit a back pass which Hayden Turner was on to in a flash and this time he drove past Rickard for a 2-0 scoreline.

Mousehole continued in attacking vein, making the most of Saltash defenders’ slowness on the turn, with Callum Martindale their third player to receive a yellow card for another desperate foul.  The last action of the half saw the home side scramble the ball away from in front of goal in the third minute of added-on time.

The two-goal margin might have been bigger with better finishing, and it immediately looked precarious a minute into the second half when top scorer Ryan Richards volleyed just wide from 25 yards.  Ten minutes later he made the most of his side’s powerful start by shooting low past Cory Harvey from 15 yards to make it 2-1 after a left-sided attack.

Tallan Mitchell was then booked for a foul in the 69th minute, with Saltash players surrounding referee Richard Butter in attempt to get the youngster sent off, and two minutes later came another highly controversial incident.  Amara Bakayoko slalomed at speed through the centre of the home defence only to be tripped from behind deliberately by O’Brien just outside the area when clear on goal, for what looked like a clear red-card offence.  Again the referee was mobbed by the home players and to the equal surprise of both sets of supporters only a yellow card was produced.

Saltash made the most of their unlikely reprieve, and forced a series of corners, with Cory Harvey forced into a full-length save as Wilson aimed a 20-yard drive inside the far post.  And with just six minutes of normal time left, Wilson equalised with a close range header after Daniel Lewis had skipped past several tackles on the right to put in a well-judged cross.

The final ten minutes, including five added-on for stoppages, were full of incident, with referee Butter appearing to caution the wrong man when an already-booked player flattened Billy Curtis in front of the dugouts.  Mousehole then created but failed to capitalise on two great breaks in the 86th and 88th minutes, and a Saltash free kick was deflected inches wide on 89.  Finally, Hayden Turner converted Bakayoko’s forward pass on 90+4 but was adjudged offside.

With their games in hand, Saltash until recently had their eye on finishing top, but with Helston Athletic the most likely team to be crowned champions, the race for the runners-up promotion spot is now looking to be between St Austell, Saltash and Mousehole.  These three are currently separated by ten points with 7 weeks of the season to go.  St Austell have the least congested run-in, with only ten league games remaining, nine of them against teams below sixth place, and no cup commitments.  They are 8 points ahead of Saltash who have a huge fixture challenge with 16 league games left, including two against Helston, and are still in all three cup competitions.  Mousehole are two points behind Saltash with 13 league games left, none of them against teams in the top-five, and interest in just one Cup.

With each League match now of crucial importance, floodlit football returns to Trungle Parc this Tuesday evening, 10th March, with the visit of sixth-placed Newquay (7.30pm).

Then next Saturday (14th), The Seagulls are scheduled to travel to Premier East side Bovey Tracey for the League Cup quarter-final tie postponed on 29th February because of a waterlogged pitch.  Supporters seats are still available on the coach, with information available from the club.

Mousehole’s next home match is on Monday 23rd March (7.45pm) against Dobwalls, that fixture having been moved because of the re-arranged League Cup tie.

Mousehole at Saltash:  Cory Harvey, Billy Curtis (captain), Mark Richards, Jamie Devine, Paulo Sousa, Kieron Toland, Steve Burt, Tallan Mitchell, Rheiss McClean, Hayden Turner, Amara Bakayoko

Substitutes:  Ben Harding (for Kieron Toland, 76), Gerens James, Jamie Butler, Charlie Willis, Sam Tucker

Mousehole scorers: Rheiss McClean (28), Hayden Turner (39)

Officials:  Richard Butter (referee), Dave Green & Chris King (assistants)

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