MOUSEHOLE 2-3 SALTASH UNITED
CORNWALL SENIOR CUP FINAL
SUNDAY 13TH MAY 2018
AT BLAISE PARK, ST BLAZEY AFC
Mousehole played a massive part in a highly entertaining and exciting afternoon’s football in front of a near-400 crowd in warm sunny conditions, making light of their lower league status and keeping the game on a knife edge right up to the final whistle.
The Seagulls had never before in their near-100 year history reached the Final of the County’s prestigious competition – let alone the semi-finals – but by contrast The Ashes were looking to put right a record of being five-times beaten finalists in the previous 13 years. Both teams had finished their respective League seasons in fourth place, with Premier Division Saltash standing 20 places above Mousehole in the Peninsula ‘pyramid’.
But Mousehole made the worst possible start to the game in a nervous opening 12 minutes. Sam Farrant did the first damage after just 68 seconds with a lofted shot high into the net from the right side of the box after Ryan Richards had stolen possession in midfield and played a simple ball through. And Saltash’s strong tackling and direct running exposed the left side of Mousehole’s defence again as Sam Hughes broke through unchallenged from the right to slot home for 2-0 on 12 minutes despite the best efforts of Tyler Tonkin on the line.
The Seagulls’ shell-shocked players and large band of supporters were given hope two minutes later by Jake Andrew who in typical fashion was in the right place to head Kevin Lawrence’s left-sided free kick firmly down into the corner of the net for a 2-1 scoreline after just 14 minutes.
Saltash threatened further goals in the 24th minute, Steve Parker-Billinge diving to keep out a close-range drive from Farrant, with Callum O’Brien heading wide from the resulting corner. At the other end goalkeeper Ash Clelland had to be at full stretch to collect another Jake Andrew header from a pinpoint Calum Elliot free kick on 33 minutes, as Mousehole started at last to make an impact on the pattern of play. A couple of minutes before half-time Luke Johnson went off with an injury having given The Ashes’ defence a torrid time.
The Seagulls made a much more assertive start to the second half, Paulo Sousa firing a right-footed shot just wide of the far post after an incisive move in the first minute. Two more half chances came from speedy runs to the byeline by substitute Steven Ziboth operating on the left, with the Saltash defence just managing to scramble the ball away. Kevin Lawrence then drove inches past the post from 20 yards on 56 minutes as The Seagulls pegged their opponents back in their own half.
Mousehole were now enjoying much better ball possession, with Saltash relying on breakaways, feeding the ball quickly through to exploit top scorer Ryan Richards’ clever running. In a two minute spell, Jake Andrew was just unable to place his header for a likely-looking equaliser after a superb five-man passing move and a carefully measured Kevin Lawrence cross after 68 minutes, while Steve Parker-Billinge had to pull off a great save as Richards looked certain to score.
With the next goal likely to prove crucial, Mousehole conceded a third on 78 minutes in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Calum Elliot, off the field for several minutes with a blood injury, was just being waved back on to the field by referee Stuart Kane as Richards gathered a ball over the top in space normally occupied by Elliot and drove a dipping shot into the net from 20 yards for what turned out to be the winner.
To their immense credit, Mousehole stormed back to make it 3-2 in the 82nd minute with a firmly-struck Steven Ziboth penalty following a foul on William Vouama as he jinked in towards goal. The momentum was now with The Seagulls, with the rowdy crowd in fine voice and The Ashes vulnerable-looking defenders resorting to several fouls and yellow cards to break up play. Goalkeeper Clelland came to their rescue with two good saves from Steven Ziboth and from Billy Curtis as the referee rightly added eight minutes of added time in response to Saltash’s time-wasting tactics at set pieces.
At the end, Mousehole had done all they could, being the better footballing side and more committed team for the last hour, while Saltash will have been relieved to hear the referee’s whistle and at last to get their name of the Cup.
The Seagulls have a great chance to make this form count in Wednesday’s Cornwall Charity Cup Semi-Final when they face Liskeard Athletic at Mount Wise, Newquay AFC, kick off 7.30pm. Liskeard finished in 5th place, one place and two points behind Mousehole, after being neck-and-neck at the top for much of the season. The winners will play either St Blazey or Wadebridge Town, whose semi-final is tomorrow, Tuesday, at Sticker AFC, with the date and venue of the Final to be announced in due course.
Mousehole: Steve Parker-Billinge, Tyler Tonkin, Billy Curtis (captain), Liam Andrew, Calum Elliot, Kevin Lawrence, Jordan Adlard, William Vouama, Paulo Sousa, Luke Johnson, Jake Andrew
Substitutes: Steven Ziboth (for Luke Johnson, 44), Josh Otto (for Jordan Adlard, 82), Connor Davey (for Tyler Tonkin, 86), Yeshe Briar, Paul Williams .
Officials: Stuart Kane (Referee), Kevin Knowles & Robin Tucker (Assistant Referees) and Derek Hughes (4th Official).