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St Austell became only the second side to defeat Penzance on their own patch in the league this season, a salvo of three goals inside eight first half minutes pushing the Lillywhites a little closer to table-toppers Liskeard Athletic whose fixture at St Dennis was postponed.

With veteran centre-back Mark Vercesi and midfield dynamo Charlie Willis missing, Penzance were always going to be up against it. Unlucky goalkeeper Mikey Flores then broke an arm – for the third time in just fifteen months – in training, further depleting resources.

However, after a cagey opening the Magpies threatened first with Jacob Trudgeon (twice) and Ollie Butler seeing shots blocked during a frantic mele inside the St Austell area. The visitors signalled their intent with Adam Carter curling a shot just over, and it was the big striker who broke the deadlock after 26 minutes, towering at the back post to head home a George Marris corner.

Penzance’s best move of the match followed immediately afterwards, James Butler brilliantly setting up Tyler Tonkin. But the home captain saw his shot pushed aside by Harry Ashton and within a few short minutes St Austell were two up with an absolute carbon copy of their first goal, Carter again despatching a Marris corner from the right.

With a skilfully curled left-foot strike, full-back Jake Shaw effectively wrapped up the win for the Lillywhites as the interval approached. Penzance, rallied somewhat after the break, but the better chances still fell to the visitors with only the woodwork denying Carter a hat-trick, and Will Trenoweth saving well from Liam Eddy.

A nasty elbow injury saw Liam Andrew withdrawn after an hour, and Penzance finished the match with several players operating in unaccustomed positions, and four under-18s on the pitch. Two fine saves by Trenoweth from visiting captain Neil Slateford in the final ten minutes limited St Austell to just one further goal – a cracking angled drive by substitute Connor Wharton.

“Today we played a side who had quality all over the pitch,” reflected Penzance manager Ashley Waters. “I have to take responsibility - I tried something and it simply didn’t work .We couldn’t match their quality, but the effort shown by the boys was outstanding and we must go into Boxing Day’s game taking positives from recent performances, and get back on track with three points.”

Penzance: Will Trenoweth, Archie Reynolds (Lewis Hitchens 89), Alfie Turner (Ryan Andrew 71), Ollie Butler, Liam Andrew (Freddie Neaum 60), Silas Sullivan, Jacob Trudgeon, Kam Collins, Tyler Tonkin (captain), Darryl Richards (Dylan Walter 79), James Butler (Michael Fitchett 46)

St Austell: Harry Ashton, Kieron Bishop, Jake Shaw, Tom Whipp, Ollie Brokenshire, George Marris, Neil Slateford (captain), Matt Searle (Martin Watts 75), Liam Eddy (Connor Wharton 62), Adam Carter, Jake Miller (Noah Teagle 46). Unused subs: Martyn Duff, Cody Hill

Referee: Josh Eyre

Assistants: Max Davies, Guy Pallett

Attendance: 120

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