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News Archive > Sport > Long wait continues

Long wait continues

By Andy Laming 26th April 2017

Long wait continues
DEJECTED: St Stephen are defeated in the Junior Cup final

ST STEPHEN'S 20-year wait to claim the Cornwall Junior Cup goes on after they were defeated 3-1 by Duchy League rivals St Minver on Friday.

The Saints have enjoyed a wonderful league campaign to date and look set to lift the Duchy title and they completed one half of their trophy double with a hard fought, but ultimately deserved win in a match played at Liskeard’s Lux Park.

With St Minver starting the match as overwhelming favourites, it was no surprise to see the Duchy title elect on the front foot from the off with the impressive Robbie Green at the heart of all their best early endeavours.

Just three minutes were on the clock when a teasing cross from Green, who was unsurprisingly named man-of-the-match, was volleyed towards goal by Steve Wooton and but for a wonderful one handed save from St Stephen gloveman Steve Raven, the deadlock would have been broken.

Raven was called into action again shortly after when he once again pulled off a magnificent stop to deny Mike Kempthorne after some great link-up play involving Paul Menhinick. St Minver’s third presentable opportunity of a very one-sided opening quarter fell to Wooton, but he should have done better when he was clean through and could only blaze over.

St Stephen seemed to be weathering the storm without really offering anything going forward themselves, but their rearguard action was finally halted after 26 minutes. Ted Meagor’s cross left St Stephen’s defence flat footed and after the ball was helped on by Wooton, Menhinick stabbed past a hapless Raven for the games opening goal.

Another brilliant Green centre caused panic in the St Stephen defence on 33 minutes, but there was no dark blue shirt on hand to double the lead.

Finally, with half-time approaching, St Stephen enjoyed their best spell of the opening stanza and despite the dominance of St Minver, Jason Prynne’s side perhaps should have gone into the break level, if not ahead.

Firstly Jack Mingo’s centre was skewed wide by Craig Coad with the goal gaping and in the opening 45’s  dying embers, Coad was seemingly fouled in the area by St Minver skipper Dan Witts. Referee Graham Rugg waved away those strong penalty appeals and the score remained 1-0.

A huge let off for St Minver and you perhaps felt that Coad’s miss and the subsequent non-award of a penalty could have knocked the stuffing out of Stephen but instead, it galvanised Prynne’s side and just two minutes after the restart they were level.

A corner caused all sorts of confusion in the St Minver box and Coad atoned for his earlier miss to sweep home. The momentum of the game immediately changed and St Stephen looked dangerous from a succession of flag kicks, but crucially they couldn’t turn that pressure into a second goal and against the run of play, St Minver retook the lead just shy of the hour mark.

A hopeful punt forward from Dayll Beasley left the St Stephen defence out of position and Manhinick raced clear and cooly slotted past Raven.

Many of the healthy 356 Lux Park crowd expected the floodgates to open for St Minver now, but St Stephen didn’t read that particular script and on 73 minutes they spurned a glorious chance to level again.

Not once, but twice, Luke Damerell crucially missed with the goal at his mercy with his first goalbound effort somehow cleared off the line and then the St Stephen full-back then blazed the follow-up high and wide.

It was a huge moment in the match and a huge let off for St Minver too and once again the games pendulum swung back towards St Minver. Raven denied Menhinick the match ball with a smart low save 20 minutes from time and he also beat away a powerful drive from Green as St Minver searched for a third goal which would have made the game absolutely safe.

Five minutes from time and the Cornwall FA could start tying blue and white ribbons to the Cup however and St Minver’s substitute Ryan Pooley really did save the best until last. A stunning left foot curler rifled into the top corner from the edge of the area to make the scoreline look a little more comfortable although despite being beaten, St Stephen had given a tremendous account of themselves and could be proud of their efforts.

By Andy Laming 26th April 2017

John le masurier 26th April 2017 09:55
A very well written and true reflection of the game .We at St Stephen AFC really appreciate your coverage of the game .
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