Cup Dreams Continue As The Pirates Sweep Aside South Brent
(Sunday 11th October 2015)
Having won their last two League Fixtures, this week saw The Pirates return to Cup action as they faced South Brent away from home at Palstone Park, in The Ken Rickard League Cup 1st Round. Making several changes to the squad due to injuries & absences it looked a tough fixture for the away side, but it turned out to be anything but in reality. The starting line up saw Chris Stephens return at right back, along with Captain Sam Bruty & wide man Dan Sanderson. Wayne Southall also returned to the squad as a sub, with James Beckwith as 3rd sub completing the bench.
Kickoff, the game being played in overcast but clear conditions on a perfectly flat surface, seemingly an ideal pitch to get the ball down & play. In truth the opening 15-20mins of the game were largely forgettable, both sides getting a lot of the ball in deep areas as well as scrapping for possession in the midfield area, it wasn’t until the 23rd minute that a chance would present itself, Pirates defender Sam McGowan was unlucky to slip near the centre circle of the pitch having brought the ball out from the back, allowing the South Brent attacker a clear run through the middle, but despite a good first touch & steadying himself he somehow managed to shoot wide of Pirates keeper Liam Hooks’ far post! A warning shot for the visitors. However, it was they who would have the next opportunity, a throw in level with the right hand edge of the penalty box was headed clear but only falling to the waiting James Ewing, who’s shot flew over the ball from 25yards. The first period was one to forget for both sides in truth, barely anything to write home about or indeed take note of, but with seconds left on the clock it was The Pirates who took the lead heading in to the break.
Returning Captain Sam Bruty was chopped down on the edge of the penalty area as the men in Green launched a fast counter attack on the 45min mark, from the resulting freekick the ball was set up just the right of the target with Chris Stephens & James Berntsen over the ball, as the Ref blew his whistle Stephens slid the ball low along the ground past Berntsen who’s clever dumi left Callum Knight wide open with a clear shot at goal & despite several bodies between him & the goal the in form forward swept his low shot into the bottom left corner with pin point precision. 0-1. Half-Time.
The second half got underway & it was very quickly apparent The Pirates were in control after grabbing the lead so close to the half-time whistle, South Brent, having clearly been fired up at the interval got the game restarted on the hunt for a leveller. It would take only 6mins for the second goal of the game to arrive & to the delight of Manager Kris Carpenter it was would be a second for his side. Sam McGowan won a crunching 50/50 challenge on the right hand side of midfield & whipped a superb ball over the top to the on running Callum Knight, who’s clever touch & pace outstripped the defender before sliding a superb drive in to the bottom corner from the angle, cutting in from wide on the right. A cushion so early in the second half was crucial & a platform for victory. 0-2.
With a two goal lead The Pirates settled in to a period of possession & control, the midfield partnership of Hannigan & Berntsen were comfortably repelling the South Brent attacks, with centre back paring of Yeoman & McGowan also dealing well with high balls coming their way, at the turn of the 66min the contest would effectively be over. The previously mentioned James Berntsen found himself with time & space just inside the opposition half & after a quick look up he threaded a perfect pass in behind the defence allowing Sam Bruty to slide a low cross in to the near post finding the man of the moment, Callum Knight, sliding home the 3rd & killer goal, another hat-trick for the young forward who’s current form is simply incredible & in truth unplaybale for most teams ! 0-3.
With the game all but won South Brent’s heads were down, being honest the next 20mins passed with little happening in either penalty area, aside from one truly superb last ditch ball winning tackle from Pirates an Dan Yeoman, nipping in front of the attacker to slide in with a challenge in the penalty area timed to perfection. There was however time for one more Pirates goal on the day & yet again it was Callum Knight who would score it! This time from a simple long kick forward, keeper Liam Hooks claiming the ball from a wayward cross on 86mins before lacing it up field towards the front man & after taking the ball under his spell from one bounce the number 9 rattled the shot low in to the corner & wheeled away to celebrate his 4th goal of the game. 0-4.
The final minutes of the game were set to peter out to a calm climax but sub Wayne Southall still had time to be assaulted! A 50/50 tussle resulting in the South Brent defender swinging a flailing punch at The Pirates man alleging he had been elbowed, a act clearly missed by the Referee & despite fellow sub Rhys Jones attempting to defuse the situation the red card was inevitable & the game ended in shaking heads for the hosts. The Pirates now face Bar Sol Ona in Round 2.
Stephens (RB) Yeoman (CB) McGowan (CB) Ewing (LB)
Hannigan (MF) Berntsen (MF)
Sanderson (RF) Tapper (CF) Knight (LF)
Southall, Jones, Beckwith.
Duke Of Cornwall (H) Sunday 18th October 2015, Plympton Saint Mary
Man Of The Match
Man Of The Match: James Berntsen
Since returning from an early season suspension James has reclaimed his first team spot & has done so with some top quality performances, none more so than today. Playing some what out of position in the holding midfield role his tireless tracking of runners, strong tackles & strength in the air were vital pieces in The Pirates keys to victory. Not only that but his superb through ball to assist the 3rd killer goal was pure class. Having a player who can operate in many differing positions can often pose more headaches than positives but in James The Pirates have a reliable & effective player to call on & one who’s leadership by example on the pitch is a real bonus.