Table Topping Revelstoke Plunder Points From Pirates
(Sunday 14th December 2014)
Going in to the clash with top of the League Revelstoke Rangers, The Pirates moral was high & a firm belief was held by all that this would be a lot closer than some would expect, it was indeed to prove the case, in fact the Away side unlucky not to get anything from the game.
Playing at the very scenic Butts Park, Newton Ferres, the game was one of few to survive the bad weather across Devon in the proceeding week. Once again decked out in their Green Away shirts The Pirates were dealt an early blow, Midfield man Nick Errington having to pull out of the squad after aggravating a groin injury in the warm up, Manager Kris Carpenter was added to the subs bench as a replacement. Already missing Brad Smith (Injured) James Ewing (Holiday) as well as Dan Amador (Holiday) some new faces appeared in the starting lineup, fit again Adam Morgan made His 1st appearance of the season at Centre back, Rob Gregory making His return in Midfield & James Berntsen back after a 2 week holiday at Right Back.
The game got under way with Revelstoke attacking from Right to Left, the early pressure would be applied by The Pirates, the usual 4-5-1 formation was causing some problems for the Home side who struggled to retain possession in the middle of the park, however despite having the lions share of the ball the men in Green couldn’t get an early break through, Callum Knight, Paul Millar & Rob Gregory all looking dangerous but The Revelstoke Defence was holding firm. Just past the 15min mark though The Pirates would suffer a further blow, the returning James Berntsen was forced off with a nasty looking injury to His right ankle after a crunching tackle of the touchline, Sean Cross entered the fray with Michael Brown reverting to Right Back to cover.
The disruptions to the side would prove to be a turning point a few minutes later, after being afforded too much time on the Right hand side the Revelstoke number 7 whipped in a delightful cross which evaded the head of Wayne Southall before being headed home in to the bottom Left hand corner, Richard Johns given no chance, in truth it was a superb header. 1-0.
The goal seemed to spur on the Home side, their attacks becoming more regular & dangerous, getting in behind The Pirates defence on more & more occasions, Johns making 2 super saves to keep the score at 1-0, one of which a stunning reaction tip over. A 2nd goal was coming. Sadly for Carpenter’s men it would come from Revelstoke, again a poor goal to give away in truth, after a corner wasn’t cleared the ball fell to the unmarked striker on the edge of the box who saw His deflected shot dribble in to the corner. It was 2-0. Much work to do at Half-Time.
The 2nd half was off & running, Carpenter electing to keep the side much the same for the opening period, looking to exploit the slope on the Right side of the pitch to get back in to the game. After some early signs of promise The Pirates just couldn’t get in behind Revelstoke, Knight, Gregory & Millar all showing signs of frustration as time after time they were shut out. Another change was made, Dave Isaacs replaced Adam Luckham, Himself only drafted in at late notice due to Errington’s injury. with Isaacs holding the Midfield Millar & Gregory were pushed further up the pitch to try to press the issue, but it was at the other end the action was taking place, step forward MOTM Richard Johns to show how good a keeper He is. Barking out orders to His defence after making a string of superb saves, one tipping a low drive around the post, as well as 2 stunning reflex blocks when a goal seemed inevitable, He was doing His level best to keep The Pirates in the game, as was Adam Morgan who cleared twice from off the line. Further bad luck would come with 15mins to go, Captain Enda Hannigan unable to shake an injury picked up in the 1st half, Manager Kris Carpenter forced in to the action as His replacement. With the change came a change of system, a 3-5-2 was adopted, Wayne Southall thrown up front, with a back 3 of Carpenter, Morgan & Brown. Predictably gaps appeared, Johns again forced into a superb low diving save from a break away & Carpenter also making a last ditch sliding tackle to prevent Revelstoke capitalising on the 2 on 1 break away they were presented from a corner.
Despite the best efforts The Pirates couldn’t get on the score sheet, Knight & Gregory both forcing the keeper in to saves, but in truth they were comfortable ones. The final 10mins petering out to the games conclusion, a tough day, but a hugely competitive game & one both teams deserved a lot of credit from, The Pirates now take a break from competitive action for the Christmas & New Year period, but a Cup Quarter Final with Wembury is on the horizon in the new year, onwards & upwards. COYP.
This game was a mixture of pride & frustration to be honest, playing a team top of the League is never going to be easy, but having started so well the tinge of what could’ve been lingers. That being said the performance was full of commitment & everyone upped their game to compete in such a tough fixture. The team has come a long way from the arly season & heading in to the festive break optimism remains high that the club is heading in a very good direction.
The Man Of The Match award this week goes to Richard Johns. By His own admission His early season form wasn’t up to His high standards, but after a period on the sidelines He has come back better than ever. Competition with Rhys Jones seems to have brought out the best in Richard, His constant talking & encouragement to the defensive line, commanding presence when claiming crosses & ability to pull off seemingly impossible saves from situations only underlines His value to the team. ‘Johnsy’ is one of the biggest & loudest characters in the squad & His performance today richly deserves the MOTM award. Congrats Richard.
Goal Scorers: N/A
Johns, Berntsen, Morgan, Southall, Hannigan (c), Brown, Gregory, Luckham, Millar, Davis, Knight.
Isaacs, Cross, Carpenter.
Man Of The Match: Richard Johns