LISKEARD ATHLETIC 1, PENZANCE 0
Penzance brushed off selection problems to turn in a performance utterly unrecognisable from the midweek capitulation to Mullion, and with some kinder bounces in front of goal might just have nicked an improbable result away to title favourites Liskeard Athletic.
Experienced defenders Tyler Tonkin and Alfie Turner both had to withdraw from the squad on morning of the match for family reasons. With Mark Vercesi away on holiday, Oscar Massey back at Barnstaple and keeper Mikey Flores having picked up an injury in training, it was something of an experimental, and extremely young, team that trotted out against opposition that had dropped only two points in the opening twelve games.
But any notion that the Blues would have any easy afternoon were dispelled in the opening moments as Penzance enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and nearly went ahead through a deflected Charlie Willis shot. As expected, Liskeard gradually assumed control and went close through Mike Smith, Jarrad Woods and Dan Jennings before taking a 12th minute lead. Smith expertly controlled a cross-field pass wide on the right before advancing to smash home an unstoppable angled drive.
That the goal scorer was withdrawn injured shortly afterwards may partly explain why Liskeard, already missing top marksman Max Gilbert, did not run away with the match as many might have predicted. Another factor was the superb form of Will Trenoweth. As he tends to whenever called upon to deputise for Flores, the keeper pulled off a string of eye-catching saves to frustrate the home side’s attack. Though Penzance created few clear openings of their own, to be still in the contest at the turn-around was cause for encouragement.
Kam Collins had come on for Rolandos Samnauskas late in the first half, and his presence alongside tenacious youngsters Willis and Ollie Butler galvanised the midfield, freeing new signing James Butler to move into a more attacking role wide on the right. Having made his debut as a substitute at Mullion, Butler enjoyed a hugely impressive first start and was ably backed up by the selfless front running of Michael Fitchett down the middle and Jacob Trudgeon on the left as Penzance valiantly strove to rescue a point.
Collins curled a shot wide from twenty yards out. Then stand-in captain Silas Sullivan was tripped on one of many forward forays, but Liskeard's defensive wall just managed to deflect wide Frazer Cadman's cheekily dinked free-kick. In the closing moments, Trudgeon twice went close, but it was not to be for the hard-working visitors. They slipped to a fifth consecutive league loss and must avoid defeat at Launceston next Saturday to stay out of the bottom three. By contrast, with St Austell having no game, Liskeard are now three points clear at the top.
Penzance: Will Trenoweth, Archie Reynolds, Silas Sullivan (captain), Frazer Cadman, Liam Andrew, Charlie Wills, Jacob Trudgeon, James Butler, Rolandos Samnauskas (Kam Collins 33), Ollie Butler, Michael Fitchett. Unused subs: Ryan Andrew, Dylan Walter
Liskeard: Sam Borthwick, Harvey Mullis (Tom Savigar 66), Matt Outtram, Josh McCabe, Will Gilbert, Ruben Kane, Harry Jeffrey, Jarrad Woods (captain), Mike Smith (Will Larsen 36), Dan Jennings, Ben Collins. Unused subs: Cory Harvey, Bobby Hopkinson, Dylan Peel
Referee: Matthew Petherbridge
Assistants: Allen Johns, Alan Shaw
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