Unlucky Pirates Defeated Late On As Ref Has A Shocker
(Sunday 1st March 2015)
Game 1 of the 2015 Supplementary Cup was the order of the day today, pitting Division 3 table toppers Revelstoke Rangers up against the fast improving Pirates at Butts Park, Newton Ferres. The wind swept but sunny day made the game playable, though in truth it wouldn’t take long for the pitch to begin churning up. The Pirates decked out in their Green away strip made a few changes to last weeks victory against Tamar View. Brad Smith returned to the centre of defence replacing the injured Adam Morgan, Dave Isaacs & Callum Knight also returned to the team, sadly though Nick Errington’s no show left the bench only 2 men strong, Andy Brettell joining Aaron Reed as a sub.
The 1st chance of the game came for the home side, a freekick awarded on the left side of the penalty box was swung in & headed narrowly wide of the far post, a warning sign for The Pirates early on. 6mins later another chance was brilliantly denied by Brad Smith, the central defender making 2 brilliantly timed sliding tackles inside the area to deny the Revelstoke onslaught, the 1st a great block & the 2nd a cleanly won & well timed crunching tackle, leaving the ball clear of danger & the striker in a crumpled mess on the deck! Despite the good start from the Home side The Pirates were quick to respond with chances of their own, Callum Knight creating the best of them on 14mins, cutting in from the left & delivering a tantalising cross to the back post finding Sean Cross’ outstretched right foot, only for the Goalkeeper to make a superb save pushing the ball out, Sam Bruty trying desperately to slot home the rebound but a brilliant block denied Him.
A period of possession swapping would follow until on 17mins The Pirates had their 1st issue of what would prove to be many with the Referee! Callum Knight found Himself through on goal after outpacing the Revelstoke defence & despite His shot being well saved low down to the left by the Keeper the challenge just as he got the shot away was clearly late & high! PENALTY was the cry, decision? Corner! A truly bizarre & incorrect decision! From the corner both Sam Bruty & Sean Cross had shots cleared & as the ball was clipped back in by Michael Brown towards the unmarked Knight who was sure to tap home the flag was raised by, yes, you’ve guessed it, the HOME team’s linesman! For the record it was onside by at least 5yards. The Pirates were clearly wound up by this period of play & would go close again on 19mins, Knight getting away down the left again passing inside to Dan Amador who’s shot went just wide of the far post.
The Pirates continued their attacking threat & a few near misses continued, but it was Keeper Richard Johns who was in the spotlight next, on 27mins he made a superb low save to His left when faced one on one with the Home side Centre Forward after he broke the offside trap, Johns reactions were excellent to keep the ball out. Despite getting right back on the front foot though it would be the men in Green who would find themselves behind against the run of play on 34mins, a sweeping move down the Right hand side resulting in a 2 on 1 at the back post which despite His best efforts James Berntsen was unable to prevent the Striker turning in as Johns did His best to close the angle. It was 1-0. Just 3mins later Johns was the hero again saving superbly after a scrambled penalty area clearance fell in to the path of the No4, however, just before Half-Time would come the moment the away side had worked so hard for & would very much deserved…
On 43mins Callum Knight was again crudely chopped to the deck when breaking at pace down the favourable Left hand side, the Free Kick was awarded, Manager Carpenter sent the best headers forward, one which would strike gold! Brad Smith flighted a delightful in towards the penalty spot picking out James Berntsen who bravely got up ahead of the advancing Goalkeeper to nod the ball into the empty net, a richly deserved equalizer & going in to the Half-Time break the score was 1-1.
The 2nd half got under way, The Pirates keen to get back on the pitch after gabbing the late equalizer in the 1st half. Sam Bruty would be the 1st to try His luck in the 2nd period, a long range effort that despite sailing high & wide set the tone that the men in Green meant business to grab the points. Revelstoke were quick to respond though, Brad Smith once again making 2 superb tackles in the 54th minute denying the Attackers as they pushed to get back in front, Keeper Richard Johns also excelled again moments later with another brilliant one on one save. For the next 10mins or so the tackles would rain in, some fair but some very much on the wrong side of the law from the Home side, clearly frustrated at not being in front in a game they clearly expected to win comfortably the discipline was severely lacking! But with the Referee in no mood to give anything at all & refusing to justify or even explain His decisions it was clearly nothing would change.
The Pirates fought on though, Sam Bruty again testing the Goalkeeper on 62mins with a far post drive from another well placed Callum Knight cross & 10mins later another near miss, this time Dave Isaacs drilling a cross come shot across the penalty box after evading the marker at the back post, the away side had battered Revelstoke for 80% of the 2nd half! Quite how they weren’t in front could only be explained by the gods… & the Ref! Who had once again waved away a strong penalty claim & at least 2 more terrible 2 footed late challenges in the Midfield area of the pitch, one of which resulted in Brad Smith serving up some retribution of His own, chopping the nippy winger in half & in truth was rightfully booked. Aaron Reed & Andy Brettell were introduced as fresh legs, the former also seeing Yellow for verbals. The last 10mins ticked around, the game was on a knife edge.
Both sides pressed hard for the winner, Johns forced in to more superb Goal Keeping to keep the Home side at bay but it was again the pace of Callum Knight & the Drive of Amador & Bruty that handed The Pirates more efforts on goal, it was clear any goal in the closing stages would be a winner & it came on 83mins, against the side looking most likely… An attack down the Right hand side from Revelstoke, despite Reed & Hannigan’s best efforts the winger finding Himself cutting in at an angle & driving towards the near post with a direct run, Brad Smith launching Himself in to the tackle, winning the ball but a cruel deflection off His trailing leg resulting in the ball dropping right back to the feet of the attack who drove the ball hard & low past a helpless Johns to make it 2-1. Pirate heads were hung, they went back on the offensive to try to get a point that the performance deserved as a bare minimum, but it wasn’t to be, Revelstoke played out the final few minutes with a spell of passing possession & Home sides 12th man blew for Full-Time. Gutted.
The taste of defeat is a sour one today. It is difficult to sum up a game you lose when it is totally undeserved! Don’t get Me wrong, Revelstoke are a fit, tidy & well organised team, but on the day for large periods this was a game The Pirates dominated! Adding to the fact the Referee was truly shocking, letting numerous terrible tackles go in the 2nd half as well as failing to call a series of close close for offsides which didn’t help the situation! Taking the positives from today, The Pirates gave the game a real go, with Revelstoke top of the League table some would’ve predicted a comfortable victory but it was anything but, to a man the lads were excellent & playing this way there is a good chance of qualification from the group with another 3 games to come.
The Man Of The Match award this week goes to James Berntsen. James has consistently been one of The Pirates best performers all season, rising highest in the box to grab His goal was a deserved bonus from today but also His overall performance was exceptional. Providing a strong desire to win the ball with every tackle, good in the air & the legs to get up & down the right flank time after time makes James one of the 1st names on the team sheet every week. Having a settled & solid back 4 at this level of Football is key to success, James is a key part of ours. Congrats James.
Goal Scorers: Berntsen (43)
Johns, Berntsen, Ewing, Smith, Hannigan (c), Bruty, Amador, Isaacs, Cross, Brown, Knight.
Man Of The Match: James Berntsen