AFC St Austell – 4
Sticker AFC – 1
A bumper crowd flocked to Poltair Park on Boxing Day to see St Austell race into a three goal lead by half-time, but credit to Sticker who came out for the second period and scored within a minute, then only conceded once more to draw the half and take some small comfort in a season that’s been difficult from match day one to say the least. In all fairness the first half could have seen the host side score enough to hammer their guests into waving the white flag, but they went for their half-time oranges knowing they’d done enough to win the game, and secure the points that keeps up the pressure on the top three in the South West Peninsula League Premier Division table.
The home side attacked from the off and were ahead in the fourth minute when Neil Slateford got forward and squared to Matt Lloyd inside the box who from ten yards slotted past Sticker keeper Ethan Elwell into the bottom corner. Sensing goals galore the hosts piled forward at any given opportunity, one such attack saw full back Jack Calver fed on the corner of the eighteen yard box where he unleashed a stinging drive over the crossbar, moments later a corner from the Austell left saw some head tennis inside the area eventually fall to Tom Chambers but his attempted side footed lob bounced the wrong side of the bar.
Liam Eddy was next to try from twenty yards which saw Elwell having to dive to his right to push away with both hands, Lloyd slipped a great pass through the visiting backline for Slateford to latch onto but his shot took a deflection for a corner, then on twenty-seven minutes the home side won a penalty when Will Tinsley was brought down in front of goal, Slateford took responsibility and duly despatched into the keepers bottom left hand corner. The pressure continued, an Eddy shot was charged down but rolled kindly to Tinsley who fired at goal where Elwell had to turn away for a corner using both his feet, the corner curled into the far post where Eddy headed wide.
The third arrived with six minutes of the half remaining, a superb pass through midfield saw Lloyd through on goal where Elwell made a great save but the loose ball lay perfectly for Eddy to follow up and fire into the unguarded net. A corner to the hosts was then flicked on and from six yards out Sticker midfielder Bobby Hopkinson attempted to head back to his own keeper which an unprepared Elwell had to tip over, from the corner Calver evaded a couple of tackles before curling around the far post. H/T: 3-0
Those hoping for more goals after the break were not disappointed when just thirty-one seconds in the ball was in the back of the net again, but most were surprised it came from the visitor’s, a free kick in the middle of the pitch was floated into the box by Hopkinson and as home custodian Jason Chapman stood waiting to collect Andy Avery nipped in first to glance a header past the keeper. Stirred into action by the goal St Austell went close straight from the kick-off, a cross from the wing saw Eddy shoot which Elwell blocked however with the keeper stranded the ball rolled towards the unguarded net until Andy Butler covered and cleared off the line, Calver swung in the resulting corner and climbing highest at the back post Chambers headed wide.
A free kick from some twenty-five yards then saw Martin Watts curl straight into the waiting gloves of Elwell, Tinsley crossed from the right and found the head of Lloyd but he could only glance wide, and another set piece awarded to Sticker saw Hopkinson absolutely smash over the bar albeit with a slight deflection off a defenders foot. A host of substitutions saw fresh legs introduced as the half wore on, and it almost paid off immediately when Mark Goldsworthy was put through to fire low from twelve yards but Elwell pulled off a stunning save to earn applause from all four sides of the pitch.
Austell grabbed their fourth on seventy minutes, Jordan Dingle found space out on the left to pull back across the goal mouth and at the near post Goldsworthy got ahead of his marker to get the slightest of flicks to lift the ball up into the roof of the net. The game then petered out with little action of note, a final minute through ball saw a deflection off a defender to set Goldsworthy away on goal again, but Elwell came out to meet his opponent and again thwarted by blocking with his legs. F/T: 4-1
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