Back To Back Defeats For The Pirates As The Southway Advance
(Sunday 20th September 2015)
Another weekend of disappointment for The Pirates as they bowed out of The Sunday Challenge Cup for this season. The Southway, a team well known & liked by the home side fully deserved the victory on the day & showed just how much they wanted the victory by coming from a goal behind to advance to the next round. Pre-match plans were thrown in to disarray for Manager Kris Carpenter as goalkeeper Liam Hooks & defender Sammy McGowan were taken ill over night forcing them to miss the game, along with Nick Errington sustaining an ankle injury the day before also having to sit this game out. With those players missing, Rhys Jones made his return to goal keeping with Paul Millar also making his first appearance this term having missed the opening games travelling abroad to tie the marital knot. James Berntsen returned to the starting eleven as an emergency centre back cover. The Pirates were further weakened with the news top scorer Callum Knight would have to miss the game through suspension for a red card picked up with his former team last season.
The game got underway at Skull N’Bones park with The Pirates in red attacking the goal away to the left. At a frantic pace The Southway were quickly on the front foot, testing Rhys Jones with early strikes at the target & missing two clear cut chances from close range. There was also an early flash point for Referee Murat Kaymaz to deal with, Adam Smietanka going in for a lunging tackle in the opening 2mins which in truth was high & rather late, resulting in players from both sides exchanging a scuffle & Smietanka being booked for the tackle, one of The Southway subs Jordan Holmes was sent off for raised hands, a decision that in truth was very harsh. Despite that the game settled down & it was The Pirates keeper Jones who was again in action doing well to tip a goal bound header over the bar just after the quarter hour, the away side were making all the early running but it was Carpenter’s men who would take the lead against the run of play.
A seemingly innocuous throw in for The Pirates level with the edge of the penalty area was awarded & after Captain for the day Enda Hannigan delivered it to the feet of Adam Smietanka the striker turned & unleashed a superb curling shot up & over The Southway goal keeper in to the top right hand corner from 20 yards. A contender for goal of the season! 1-0. However, despite the goal head start it was clear the away side were still very much on top & would equalize on 38mins. A ball through the centre of the make shift Pirates back four was fractionally miss judged by defender James Berntsen, who in truth was unlucky not to make the clearance, releasing the pacey Southway man into the box only to be chopped down from behind by James Ewing, who was fortunate to escape a red card as the last man. PENALTY! A clear & correct decision. The spot kick was duly dispatched past Jones in to the bottom left corner by the No8 & it was all level at 1-1.
After the leveller the last thing The Pirates wanted was another set back before the interval, but unfortunately that was exactly what was delivered on 41mins, despite looking fairly organised & comfortable since the equalizer another straight ball in behind the defenders found its way through to an attacker in the 18yard box & after a clever side step & shimmy the ball ended up planted in to the net to turn the game on its head. Half-Time 1-2.
The second half got underway with neither side making any changes to their line ups, Pirates boss Carpenter along with his coaching team of Dave Miller, Sean Cross & Steve Harvey demanding far more tempo & work rate from the home side going into the next 45mins. A message Michael Brown was keen to show had gotten through as the midfield man picked up a yellow card on 49mins for hacking down an opposition player as he attempted to instigate a quick break away at pace. The game was still being firmly played in The Pirates half though, Rhys Jones again called in to action to make a brilliant reflex save on 55mins from a header from only 6yards out to deny a 3rd goal, however this would prove to be a stay of execution.
On 58mins came the the killer 3rd goal that The Southway richly deserved on the balance of the game, a run down the left wing at pace saw the quick winger come inside right back Chris Stephens & fire a low cross shot towards the near post which keeper Jones was unfortunate to see go through his grasp & drop in to the net. 1-3. More bad news was to follow on 64mins, a corner from the right found an unmarked Southway man on the penalty spot & with a good climb he powered his header towards goal & into the net. A mountain to climb for the home side now. 1-4.
Two changes were made by The Pirates, the injured James Berntsen was replaced by Steve Tapper, along with Dave Isaacs making his entrance at the expense of Chris Stephens. The formation was changed to a more attack minded 3-5-2 & on 75mins saw a flicker of hope arrive. Sub Isaacs used his secret weapon, the long throw, to his advantage hurling the ball in towards the near post area & with a powerful leap Sam Bruty nodded the ball up & over his marker & the opposition keeper in to the bottom corner of the far post, a comeback in the offing? 2-4.
With 15mins to go The Pirates thought they were back in with a real chance at forcing the game to extra time at least, but less than 1min after getting the hope back they shot themselves in the foot, a break down the right hand side directly from the restart resulting in a lofted cross in to the box being spilled by keeper Rhys Jones in to his net, one the stand in stopper will want to forget in truth. 2-5. With the concession of the fifth goal it was clear the home side spirits had been killed, there was just time for another goal of the season contender to be scored, this time from The Southway midfield man Chris Mayhew-Bradley, on 83mins he collected the ball 25 yards from goal, slightly to the right of the pitch & unleashed an unstoppable screamer high in to the roof of the net to secure their progression in to the next round of The Challenge Cup, a deserved win for the men in green & one that leaves The Pirates to lick their wounds & digest back to back cup competition defeats.
Smietanka (21) Bruty (75)
Stephens (RB) Berntsen (CB) Ewing (CB) Hannigan (LB)
Williams (MF) Brown (MF)
Manolias (RF) Millar (CF) Smietanka (LF)
Tamar View (A) Sunday 27th September 2015, Devonport High School (3G)
Man Of The Match
Man Of The Match: Paul Millar
The Man Of The Match award this week goes to Paul Millar. making his first appearance & start of the season Paul quickly picked up where he left off from Pre-Season, putting in a hard working, determined & quality performance. Despite The Pirates going down by a 2-6 scoreline Paul’s display was a highlight, playing in 3 different positions during the 90mins he showed a desire to try to turn the game his sides way, some clever touches, unflappable nature in possession & driving runs from midfield left him unlucky to finish on the losing side for sure. Having Paul back on a regular basis now will only help the squad moving forwards & on the day he was the outstanding performer.