Luke Johnson after winner vs Millbrook with Jake Andrew, Will Vouama and Billy Curtis

THRILLING WIN AGAINST LEAGUE LEADERS KEEPS MOUSEHOLE’S CHANCES ALIVE

MOUSEHOLE 2-1 MILLBROOK

SOUTH WEST PENINSULA LEAGUE, DIVISION 1 WEST

SATURDAY 28TH APRIL 2018, AT TRUNGLE PARC

Mousehole overturned a 1-0 interval deficit with an impressive second half performance to earn a deserved win which keeps them still in contention near the top of the League, and at the same time ended Millbrook’s unbeaten run of 15 League games stretching back to mid-October.

This was The Seagulls’ fourth win in a row under new Player-Manager Calum Elliot, but they had to step up a gear after half-time to prevent Millbrook going home with the win which would have given them a nine point lead over The Seagulls, who have three League fixtures left to play.

Millbrook had managed their recent fixture congestion well, with three wins in the space of five days, but despite Saturday’s defeat they will still finish top if they win their four remaining games, three of which are away.

The visitors started the game strongly, pressing the home side all over the pitch and creating enough chances to have built up a good first-half lead.  Steve Parker-Billinge in the Mousehole goal had to punch away a dangerous inswinging corner in the first minute, and in the 9th minute the visitors were awarded a disputed penalty for an alleged foul tackle, but they squandered the gift Ryan Knight’s spot kick rebounded to safety off the left-hand post.  Another chance went begging when Jake Foster put the ball over the bar from a long left-wing cross on 17 minutes.  But the opening goal did arrive in the 32nd minute, when a right-sided free kick to the far post was headed back across goal and captain Tom Hall, who went upfield from the back for every set piece to add his height, glanced a simple downward header into the corner of the net from eight yards.  And with Millbrook in the ascendancy, a swift break down the left ended with a shot over the angle.  In the meantime, Mousehole had a couple of attempts on goal but William Vouama found giant ‘keeper Konstantin Andrejenko in defiant form with a couple of blocks.

The second half was a marked contrast, with Mousehole playing with renewed purpose and energy, winning most of the 50/50 balls, retaining possession across the pitch and forcing Millbrook to retreat into defensive formation.  The tone was set when Paulo Sousa’s header from Luke Johnson’s cross beat Andrejenko but was hacked off the line on 47 minutes, and two minutes later Johnson’s pass across the six yard line was cleared, as was a searching Tyler Tonkin cross in the next attack.  Johnson then shot just over after cutting in from the left, and, on 52 minutes, Jake Andrew’s headed ‘goal’ was disallowed for offside.  But The Seagulls’ top scorer was not to be denied in the 57th minute, grabbing the equaliser with a carefully guided header into the far corner from yet another Johnson assist.  Scenting another goal against deflated and tiring opponents, Johnson put in an audacious lob from 40 yards out on the touchline that sailed just wide and Will Vouama’s fierce 18-yard free kick was parried wide by Andrejenko.

In an extraordinary incident in the 73rd minute, in virtually the visitors’ only serious attack in the second period, Ryan Knight again wasted a golden opportunity to put Millbrook back in the lead when he scuffed his shot wide from close range after Jake Foster’s mis-hit shot from the right had found him lurking unattended at the far post.  At the other end, Millbrook had their goalkeeper to thank with a triple save from close range shots in the 79th minute.  But three minutes later, after incessant pressure, Mousehole went into the lead when Luke Johnson finished off a superb move, with Kevin Lawrence and Ryan Holland creating the space on the right for Vouama to curl a measured cross to the far side of the six yard box where Johnson raced in from the left to side-foot home.

Elliot and his men continued to look after the ball and saw the game out sensibly to maintain fifth position among the top six teams, who are now separated by just six points.

Mousehole have recorded wins against all the top sides since December except Elburton Villa (the only side to claim a home and away double over them this season), but their final away match this Tuesday at Illogan (Oxland Parc, TR16 4DQ, kick off 6.45pm) may prove to be an equally difficult assignment.  With Illogan having recently replaced season-long bottom club Bude Town at the foot of the table, they will be looking to make headlines by upsetting the form book, and usually give visiting Mousehole teams a tough time.

The Seagulls then return to Trungle Parc for their last-but-one League fixture on Saturday against Plymstock United, who sit in 15th place just above Illogan and Bude.  It’s an ideal opportunity for Mousehole to banish memories of a 3-3 draw at Deans Cross at the end of October, when they let slip a three goal lead.  Then on Bank Holiday Monday at the earlier kick off time of 2pm, it’s League game 32 out of 32, with the visit of St Blazey who were beaten 5-2 at home by Mousehole three weeks ago.

Mousehole:  Steve Parker-Billinge, Tyler Tonkin, Liam Elliot, Liam Andrew, Billy Curtis (captain), Kevin Lawrence, Jordan Adlard, William Vouama, Paulo Sousa, Luke Johnson, Jake Andrew.

Substitutes:  Ryan Holland (for Jordan Adlard, 75), Jamie Thomson, Connor Davey, Chris Prout, Paul Williams.

Scorers:  Millbrook – Tom Hall (32).   Mousehole – Jake Andrew (57), Luke Johnson (82).

Referee:  Graham Rickard.   Attendance:  70.

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