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Revenge is sweet for Helston
Helston Athletic 2
Revenge, so the saying goes, is a dish best served cold. But on the evidence of Saturday's 2-0 cup victory against Godolphin, for Helston it's equally palatable served wet and muddy with a side-order of hail.
And hail it did. Heavily. Half an hour before kickoff, a massive bank of cloud the colour of slate moved ominously into position over Kellaway Parc before erupting into sudden downpour that sent hailstones fizzing off the clubhouse roof and drenched the playing surface, raising the spectre of postponement.
In retrospect the visitors might have preferred the hail and rain to have continued. Godolphin Atlantic, title rivals and 5-1 winners at Godolphin Way earlier in the season, were brushed almost casually aside by Sid Taylor's Blues, who delivered yet another performance of high-tempo, high-quality football of the kind that may yet see them lift this season's Durning Lawrence Cup.
Taylor admitted after the game that that defeat in Newquay earlier in the season had spurred his side on to get a result.
"We just wanted to put it right," he said, "we knew we'd let ourselves down so it was a big motivation. We were embarrassed with the 5-1 up there and we knew we could do better."
And they were better. Much better. At the moment Helston are flying. They are the Peninsula League division one west's unstoppable force; its immovable object. It would take a brave man to bet against them.
So after a solid opening which saw the home side stamp their authority on the game, it came as no surprise when Tom Russell, playing alongside Liam Eddy and Mark Goldsworthy in a three-pronged Helston attack, opened the scoring in the 32nd minute.
Dan Stidwell, receiving the ball wide on the left, lofted a teasing cross across the face of the Godolphin defence towards Russell, who wriggled free of his marker and planted a superb diving header into the bottom corner.
It was little more than Helston deserved for all their early dominance.
And yet that dominance was subtle, almost understated. The Blues neither passed Godolphin off the pitch, nor did they pepper Gs keeper Shaun Semmens' goal with shots. Instead they controlled the game so tightly and so completely, that Godolphin can scarcely have known they were on such a short leash. This was a performance marked by discipline and hard work. The visitors were afforded only the space the Blues felt comfortable giving them.
Kirk Davies marshalled Luke Rigby so well down the right wing that a frustrated Rigby felt inclined to continue running at him, convinced that at some point he would make a breakthrough. He didn't.
It was a similar story on the left, where Stidwell spent the afternoon going quietly about the business of smothering Godolphin winger Aaron Dilley to the extent that Dilley eventually gave up trying to take him on, and instead dropped back inside his own half to receive the ball.
In midfield Jordan Adlard and Charlie Young were unspectacular but brutally effective, destroying as much as they created, upsetting the visitor's rhythm and linking up well with Helston's front three.
Indeed, it took a moment of real quality from Rigby before Godolphin registered their first shot on goal, spinning Blues captain Jamie Thomson thirty yards out before striding forward and rifling in a low drive that Jason Chapman palmed to safety.
Just before half-time Helston had a chance to make it two when Eddy's shirt looked to have been tugged inside the box.
Referee Jon Barnicoat awarded a spot-kick, despite Godolphin's protests, but Mark Goldsworthy, a striker in such a rich vein of form, scuffed the outside of the post with the penalty.
It was much the same story after half time, with Helston pressing hard for a second and Godolphin forced to play on the counter attack.
Eddy went close when Goldsworthy found him with a tidy through ball that carved the Godolphin back four open, but his sweetly-struck volley was straight down Semmen's throat.
With just over twenty minutes left on the clock, Goldsworthy atoned for his earlier penalty miss and helped put the game beyond Godolphin when he burst into the box on the right before driving a low ball across the face of the goal for Eddy, who drilled it high into the net from an acute angle.
And the visitors were lucky not to finish the game with ten men, when Richard Griffin, already booked for petulantly kicking the ball away in the first half, swung a boot at Jordan Adlard.
Barnicoat evidently deemed the challenge innocuous enough to prevent him showing a second yellow, but by that time it didn't matter, Godolphin were well beaten.
"I said to the lads before the game that there aren't a lot of teams in this cup, and if you can get through this round you're into the quarter finals," said Taylor after the game .
"With the two favourites being drawn against each other, it's a big opportunity for us to win something."
And what odds on Helston doing just that? With Penryn crashing out at home to Dobwalls and Godolphin vanquished, the Durning Lawrence Cup may yet grace the Kellaway Parc trophy cabinet.