Supplementary Cup Dreams Over For Improving Pirates
(Sunday 14th September 2014)
A break from League action for The Pirates, as they & Smeaton Homes took to the field to battle it out in the DCFA Swift Print Sunday Supplementary Cup 1st Round at Plympton Saint Mary. After a series of disappointing results & performances Manager Kris Carpenter & His assistant Dave Miller elected to go rotate some players for this game, lining up in a solid looking 4-5-1 formation from the off, with Dan Amador, Sean Cross, Paul Millar, Rob Gregory & Dean Matthews all getting starts, along with Captain Enda Hannigan filling in at CB with Nick Errington unavailable. The game kicked off, The Pirates sporting their brand new Green away shirts for the 1st time, kicking from right to left. Straight from the off it was clear the men in Green were up for it, immediately taking the game to the Home side, some tough tackling from Captain Enda Hannigan & James Ewing at Centre Half & some crisp passing & possession play from the central midfield trio of Amador, Millar & Gregory. Chances soon followed, at the turn of 10mins winger Dean Matthews, making His 1st start of the season burst clear of his marker & cut in towards goal, but as the Defender did His best to apply pressure the shot was fired over from the edge of the box. Just 5mins later Matthews was in again, same side, same move, this time Dean shooting low, but again was frustrated to see the keeper make a fine low save. The Pirates continued to look assured on the ball & kept pressing for a deserved 1st goal, a series of free kicks & corners were forced, but a combination of good goal keeping & solid defending foiled the Guys in Green! Much to the huge frustration of The Pirates a fortunate goal arrived against the run of play just 6mins before half-time, Captain Enda Hannigan who put in a flawless performance at CB slipped as He made a challenge on the edge of the box, with a hugely lucky deflection diverting the ball in to the path of the Smeaton Homes forward who duly slid the ball under keeper Richard Johns, who had also be superb game. Despite the late set back the team talk at the break was positive, all heads were up & the belief that an equalizer was more than possible. So, into the 2nd period, more positive play from front to back, with full backs James Berntsen & Andy Brettell getting down the flanks to support wide men Michael Brown & Dean Matthews at regular intervals, The tireless hard work of Sean Cross getting in the face of the Home sides old fashioned Centre Half, who was clearly rattled! The Home side themselves did have a good share of the game second half, indeed at one point only a truly stunning reflex save from Richard Johns from close range kept the game in the balance. With time moving on Carpenter turned to the bench, Ryan Dainty & Aaron Reed came on to replace Michael Brown & Dan Amador. The system was tweaked, but no goal followed, despite Sean Cross do His very best to turn in a back post cross with a volley, but the ball simply wouldn’t drop quickly enough & the ball was cleared to safety. The final change was made, Cross Himself given a richly deserved rest, with Adam Luckham coming on into midfield, with Dean Matthews pushed forward. With only 15mins of the match left came the turning point… Matthews Himself latching on to a superb through ball, getting goal side & advancing to a one on one with the Smeaton Homes keeper, dragging the ball around the on rushing goalie only to be sent crashing to the ground by an outstretched leg, PENALTY! Without any hesitation Adam Luckham grabbed the ball, with the regular penalty taker Nick Errington not at the game Luckham showed real guts to step up, the script was written, but, the luck of the gods was not to be on The Pirates side, The Pirates man striking well but straight down the middle of the goal & the Keeper redeemed from His mistake with the save, a head in hands moment for the men in Green. 5mins later the fate was sealed, with The Pirates pressing forward in search of the leveller Smeaton Homes raced away on one of a many counters & the same goal scorer as the 1st half cleverly rounded Johns to make it 2-0 & seal the victory. A bitter pill to swallow, but with such a positive performance things are clearly on the up for The Pirates.
Going back to basics clearly was a good move for The Pirates today, a solid 4-5-1 with everyone on the pitch doing exactly what was asked of them & keeping things simple lead to a hugely improved performance today, the scoreline showed just how close this game was. With a string of exceptional performances the next match will see much competition for places, something that will no doubt keep people on their toes. Progress has been made & The Pirates will hope it continues with the next League match scheduled for Sunday the 21st of September vs Keyham Kolts Blues, sandwiched by another midweek Friendly away at The Southway. COYP.
The Man Of The Match award this week goes to Captain Enda Hannigan. Leading by example the skippers drive, determination & desire drove The Pirates on for the full 90mins. Shedding blood for the cause (AGAIN) & playing out of position at CB Enda was superb, even offering the MOTM award to all His team mates after the game in recognition of everyone playing so superbly well in the match, class personified. Having a real leader is a huge plus. Congrats Enda.
Goal Scorers: N/A
Johns, Berntsen, Hannigan (c), Ewing, Brettell, Brown, Millar, Amador, Gregory, Matthews, Cross
Luckham, Reed, Dainty.
Man Of The Match: Enda Hannigan