Plucky Pirates Beaten But Remaining Upbeat
(Sunday 10th August 2014)
Storms were forecast across much of the South West on Sunday & it was stormy waters again for The Pirates against a well organised & hugely talented Valentis Side. Taking the field knowing they were up against the team favourites to win the Division above, The Pirates made a confident & fast start, Richard Johns returned in goal for the 1st time in 4 games, with Chris Stephens also returning to the starting XI. Composed possession Football & good movement created 2 good early opportunities but the final ball costing the men in White from shots on goal, the tempo was good & chances seemed inevitable, but a sucker punch was to follow. In the 18th minute the wide Right Valentis man got 5yards of space looked up & drove what was seemingly a cross, however a miss hit off the outside of the boot resulted in the ball flying in to the near post & past a helpless Johns. 0-1. Only a minute later Valentis struck again to punish the stunned Pirates, A through ball held up slightly in the cross winds resulting in goal keeper Johns missing his kick clear, the forward with the simple task of rolling the ball home from close range to make it 2. Despite the quick goals against Manager Kris Carpenter made 2 changes & steadied the ship, Enda Hannigan coming off due to a lacerated knee replaced by Adam Luckham & Michael Brown replacing Dan Amador who had a tight hamstring. More good possession followed, with The Pirates putting pressure on a seemingly nervous Valentis keeper but no reward came, rather against the run of play the away side grabbed a 3rd, a brilliant through ball found the striker who rounded Johns & shot goal wards, MOTM James Ewing brilliantly cleared it off the line but sadly & rather unluckily the clearance feel straight to the Valentis striker who tapped in the rebound. Going in at the break the scoreline was 0-3. The 2nd half got underway & there was quickly more woe for The Pirates, a rash tackle on the edge of the box resulting in a direct freekick to Valentis, with a dumi then strike the ball was beautifully struck in to the top left hand corner for 0-4. Carpenter elected to make further changes to keep things fresh, Reed, Brettell, Isaacs & Southall all coming on as well as captain Enda Hannigan coming back on bandaged up! A period of calm followed, in fact for a good 30 mins there was little if any attacks on The Pirates goal, instead the forward play was mostly in the men in Whites hands. The clocked ticked on to 79 mins & shortly after a moment to light the gloomiest of mornings! Aaron Reed received possession on the left hand side of the pitch, took on & beat his man before cutting inside & unleashing a curling drive across the goal keeper & high into the top right hand corner, a rich reward for a man who worked his socks off all 2nd half. Despite the boost of the goal back Valentis quickly regrouped & pushed their back 4 upwards to squeeze out any later rally from the Home side. Despite pushing for further goals back the chase was in vein, just as the heavens opened the referee brought the game to a close at 1-4. Another good work out in the legs.
In summary Manager Kris Carpenter applauded His charges efforts & playing against a side clearly cut out to challenge for the title in the League above the scoreline was no disgrace at all, playing with no out & out striker was difficult against such a well drilled defence & given 2 of the 4 goals were somewhat freakish in their execution the result could well have closer than it appeared. The Pirates now have just one final game of Pre-Season before the League season curtain comes down, The Southway arrive at Saltash on Wednesday in what is a dress rehearsal to the opening League game 4 days later, a great opportunity to lay down a marker. COYP.
Man Of The Match: James Ewing
Johns, Berntsen, Errington, Ewing, Morgan, Davis, Amador, Hannigan (c), Gregory, Dainty, Stephens.
Reed, Luckham, Southall, Brown, Brettell, Isaacs.