Pirates Cup Dreams Ended By In Form Wembury
(Sunday 11th January 2015)
After a long seasonal break The Pirates returned to action today in a much anticipated clash with Wembury Rovers in The NovaHomes Challenge Cup: 1/4 Final, A meeting between 2 sides in different Divisions, when the game was over, sadly it would show why.
The game saw a debutant make His 2nd bow for The Pirates, Jimmy Williams who had signed on last season but circumstances restricting Him to a single appearance would once again pull on the jersey, starting alongside Nick Errington & Paul Millar in the Midfield. Brad Smith, Chris Stephens & James Ewing also returned to the starting XI. A cold, windy mornings Football got under way with The Pirates kicking from left to right, on a pitch that looked more like a valley!
Wembury Rovers made a fast start, displaying confidence & experience knocking the ball around making The Pirates players chase & at the same time looking for gaps, an early goal was the fear & on 7mins it was exactly what would come. A perfectly flighted long ball caught the Away sides back 4 square & the Centre Forward sent a clever chip over the advancing Richard Johns. 1-0.
It was a tough start for The Pirates & within half an hour the game would be all but over, on 15mins a long range belter would squeeze under Johns for 2-0 & just 3mins later whilst desperately pushing for a goal back The Pirates would concede a 3rd on the counter attack. The difference in quality between the 2 sides was clearly for all to see & in truth getting to Half-Time with the score at 3-0 was an achievement, Wembury spurning further chances to widen the scoreline.
At Half-Time Manager Kris Carpenter gave encouragement to His chargers, making it clear that 1 gaol back could turn the momentum & at the same time keeping the door closed at the other end was important, Brad Smith was moved in to Midfield with Nick Errington reverting to Centre Back. The 2nd half got under way, The Pirates briefly showing signs of life with a pair of quick attacking counters but Striker Callum Knight was doubled up on & the opportunities closed off, Wembury began to resume control of the game.
As the hour mark ticked by the game would be finished as a contest, Wembury exploiting poor Pirates defending grabbing 3 goals in an 8 minute spell, a poor clearance was punished with a close range finish on 60mins, another wayward kick out was drilled home on 65mins & on 68mins The Pirates suffered again when a 50/50 headed duel resulted in a free header over Johns for 6-0.
The Pirates miserable day was complete with 2mins remaining as another speculative 20yard strike flew in to the top corner, on a day that promised so much the disappointment was written all over Pirates faces, but ultimately sometimes you can only hold your hands up & say the better side won.
A short way to sum up this game would simply be to say everyone was gutted! After such a strong performance in the previous round vs Walkhampton all the players fancied making a real go at progressing to the Semi-Finals but when all was said & done the game was never really a contest. Wembury Rovers did totally deserved their victory & nobody could say differently, the biggest disappointment for The Pirates players was the lack of a big performance, going out with a whimper hurts, but having had a taste of a cup run you can be sure this experience will only add a deeper focus to the coming weeks games in the run in to the end of the season.
The Man Of The Match award this week goes to Brad Smith. On a day where high level performances were few & far between Brad stepped up as a real leader on the day, playing 2 different positions during the game, His tireless work rate & desire to put challenges in all over the park kept everyone hard at work to remain competitive in a game that could easily have been a far worse scoreline. Brad’s performances since joining The Pirates have been of a very high quality & continue to get better, he was the days stand out performer without question.
Goal Scorers: N/A
Johns, Berntsen, Ewing, Smith, Hannigan (c), Brown, Millar, Williams, Errington, Stephens, Knight.
Amador, Morgan, Gregory.
Man Of The Match: Brad Smith