The battle of The Fishermen versus The Seagulls finished all square as a penalty scored with the last kick of the match denied Mousehole all three points after they had cruised into a two-goal lead within the first half hour.

Failure to convert their many clear cut first-half chances in the end cost The Seagulls dearly,  as illustrated shortly before the interval when the hosts pulled a goal back completely against the run of play. 

Despite being outplayed for much of the first half, Porthleven found the resolve and impetus in the second period to win more of the midfield battles and increasingly put the visitors’ defence under pressure.

And in the 93rd minute they were awarded a spot kick when keeper Corey Harvey raced off his line to intercept a threatening pass from the left but clattered into both ball and player.  Charlie Young scored down the middle to complete the home side’s comeback and referee Liam Mankee immediately blew for full time.

Mousehole had started the match in controlled fashion, creating several dangerous situations around Porthleven’s box, with Amara Bakayoko and Steven Ziboth constantly involved in pacy raids down the flanks.

The visitors took the lead in the 15th minute when captain Billy Curtis’ sharp low cross was touched in by the well-positioned Kieran Toland from six yards for his sixth goal of the season.

Mousehole continued to dictate play and after Port’s keeper Martin Webster had acrobatically tipped over Gerens James’ header from a Bakayoko cross on 22 minutes, the latter put his side into a two-goal lead on 28, latching on to Ziboth’s excellent pass into space on the right, and cutting in on to his favoured left foot to hammer a low drive into the net.

Porthleven’s first attack on the half-hour then came to nothing, while Toland at the other end hit the post, the first of four efforts from Mousehole that struck the woodwork on the night.

With The Seagulls taking much greater care of the ball, Gerens James just failed to register his first goal of the season, putting a reaction shot over from close range, and Steven Ziboth raced half the length of the pitch before shooting narrowly past the far angle.

In the last few minutes of the half, with Porthleven restricted to long-range shooting, Corey Harvey had to make a flying save and shortly afterwards was relieved to see another shot clip the top of the bar.  

But the hosts unexpectedly got on the scoresheet two minutes before half-time with the simplest of goals, George Molcher racing on to a straight through ball shoulder to shoulder with centre-back Mark Richards and prodding the ball home from 15 yards with the aid of a deflection off the defender’s boot.

The Fishermen came out of the home dressing room with a renewed sense of purpose, and looked the more spirited of the two sides as the second half wore on.  

Mousehole still had the chances to make the game safe, Toland having a drive tipped on to the bar, Ziboth hitting the far post when well placed, and a relieved defender being saved from an own goal by the woodwork.  

But Porthleven, breaking forward with energy, were now regularly winning back possession and forcing their opponents into mistakes, Harvey having to make a one-on-one save and Mark Richards hurling himself heroically in front of a point-blank shot.

Just when The Seagulls looked as though they might survive a torrid last 20 minutes, they were undone by another defensive misjudgement in the last seconds of the match.

At this early stage of the season there is no doubt that if Jake Ash’s side can develop a more ruthless streak in front of goal to finish off their impressive approach play, their opponents will not be able to gain the sort of foothold seen in the latter stages of some recent matches.

On the positive side, the draw preserves Mousehole’s unbeaten four-match start to the new season after promotion, with 8 points out of 12 – including from three away games –  positioning them in third place in the table. The Seagulls are one of only four unbeaten sides in the Premier West League, the others being leaders St Austell, second place Saltash United, and Mousehole’s fellow promotees St Dennis.

Before the end of the month, The Seagulls face three games which will be a test of what has been learned so far.

This Saturday (24th), Mousehole have a home fixture at Trungle Parc against Callington Town 3pm).  The visitors gained their first point of the season in midweek with an unexpected 3-3 draw at Liskeard Athletic, who had won away in their previous game at much-fancied Helston Athletic.

Next Wednesday (28th), The Seagulls travel to St Blazey for a 7.30pm kick off, and the Saturday afterwards (31st) sees another home game when Wadebridge Town are the visitors (3pm).

Mousehole: Corey Harvey, Billy Curtis (captain), Mark Richards, Jamie Devine, Paulo Sousa, Lez Cela, Ben Harding, Kieron Toland, Amara Bakayoko, Gerens James, Steven Ziboth

Substitutes: Tyler Tonkin, Tom Hands, Ben Williams, Mikey Flores, Pasha Wilson

Mousehole scorers: Kieran Toland (15), Amara Bakayoko (28) Referee: Liam Mankee.  

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