CORNWALL SENIOR CUP, SECOND ROUND PREVIEW
Attentions turn to the second round of the Cornwall Senior Cup this weekend, where Penryn Athletic travel to fellow division one west promotion rivals Callington Town.
The two teams are locked on 27 points in the league and sit in fourth and fifth place respectively, but convention dictates that league form will go out of the window at Marshfield Parc tomorrow.
Neither side has ever reached the final of the Senior Cup, with Athletic's best run coming last year when they lost to eventual winners Bodmin in the semi-finals.
Steve Jewell will be hoping his Penryn side can at least equal last season's achievements and provide another entertaining cup run for the fans to enjoy, although Callington will surely be considered the favourites.
With four wins out of their last five games in the league, and a convincing 5-1 win over Helston at the weekend which effectively ended the Blues' promotion hopes, Lee Beer's men areplaying well and will look to continue that form against a side they beat 3-2 earlier in the season.
Athletic, meanwhile, have no win in their last three in the league, and although promotion remains the key, progression to the Senior Cup quarter-finals would be a welcome distraction.
But it's difficult to see anything other than a Callington win.
Prediction: Callington Town 2 – 1 Penryn Athletic.
Dobwalls v Truro City
With only one point separating these two teams come kick-off it promises to be a tightly-contested Senior Cup fixture at Lantoom Park tomorrow afternoon.
City have been on great from in the league this season, winning nine of their 15 games up until now, including their last three on the bounce.
Anthony Reynolds saw his team hit five past a below-par Holsworthy last weekend and move up to sixth in the process, just a point off of third place Dobwalls.
This season’s surprise package, Dobwalls are keeping pace with the likes of Sticker and Penryn in the hunt for promotion, and Ivan Olver’s men have secured some excellent wins - none more surprising than the double over Helston.
Dobwalls can put their fine form down to two factors: Martyn Hake and Harry Hook, their deadly strike force. With 24 goals between them they have been finding the back of the net consistently all season, with Hake currently sitting on top of the pile with 15 goals.
Truro City Reserves have never won the Senior Cup themselves, but of course the first team are famed for their record-breaking 16 wins collected on their ascent up the English football pyramid.
Reynolds will be without the services of midfielder Harry Evans for the first time this season after the youngster finalised a move to Falmouth Town during the week.
It is believed the 18-year old grew frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities and decide a move to Bickland Park would best serve his career - although he will have to wait to make his debut for his new club as FA guidelines state he must have played a league game first.
These two sides met a few weeks ago and City came out on top in a 4-3 thriller at Treyew Road.
But a similar goal-fest this time around seems unlikely as both managers will be wary of their defensive vulnerabilities and will surely tighten things up at the back. Expect it to be close.
Prediction: Dobwalls 1 – 1 Truro City
Falmouth midfielder Dan Richardson goes up for a header, flanked by striker Rob Wearne. Picture: Sam Barnes/Cartel
Launceston v Falmouth Town
Possibly the miss-match of the round sees premier division front-runners Launceston host a Falmouth side sitting just one place off the bottom.
At first glance their seasons could not be more contrasting, with 36 points the difference around the mid-way point – but delve more deeply and you realise there is more to their positions than meets the eye.
Launceston may be top, but they have played the most games in the league, considerably more than the chasing pack.
Falmouth’s position is even more misleading.
The black and ambers sit just five points off the bottom, with only two wins from their 18 games so far this season.
However, the fixture computer has been unkind and recent tough matches against the likes of Witheridge, Exmouth and Ivybridge - all teams in the top five – have seen them struggle for points.
Recent signings Rob Wearne and Kayne Trevaskis made their debuts in last weekend’s defeat to Witheridge, and after coming on as a 67th minute substitute Trevaskis could get his first start against Launceston on Saturday.
One new signing who won’t be featuring is midfielder Harry Evans. He put pen to paper on a transfer from Truro City Reserves this week.
Evans grew frustrated at his lack of first team opportunities at Treyew Road, and will be in the stands for this clash against Launceston. The 18 year-old is unable to play due to FA restrictions that state a player must have played a competitive league match before they can appear in a cup competition.
Town manager John Dent will be glad to take a break from the league and see his team play in a game where all league form goes out the window, so to speak.
He will be hoping that the 11-time winners can find some of that famous cup spirit that has served them so well in the past, and take a step closer to winning their first Senior Cup since 1997.
But given recent results, a Falmouth win seems unlikely.
Prediction: Launceston 3 – 1 Falmouth Town
St Blazey v Helston Athletic
Last year’s beaten finalists travel to face a St Blazey side that have been in indifferent form this season.
Sitting comfortably in mid-table, St Blazey don’t look like they’ll be making any waves at either end of the premier division come May.
The green and blacks have collected 22 points, and are well above the relegation zone by a comfortable margin of 20 points - although they are a slightly further 21 points away from the summit.
Josh Sims played the full 90 minutes for Combination side Wendron last week after being told by Blazey manager Bobby Oaten that he would not be featuring in his plans for the weekend – it remains unclear as to whether Sims will return to Blaise Park for the visit of Helston.
After Helston were beaten in extraordinary circumstances in last year’s final, they will be hoping to put their league disappointments behind them, go one better and etch their name onto the cup for the first time in over 80 years.
However they will be coming up against a side that have much more experience in the competition - or so recent history would suggest.
With 11 Senior Cup wins, only two teams have enjoyed more success in the competition than St Blazey since its creation in 1892.
After a 5-1 drumming at the hands of Callington last weekend any chance of promotion that Sid Taylor’s side had is all but lost. They now sit eighth in division one west and 15 points off top spot.
At the start of the month Taylor expressed his belief that the upcoming four games were “make or break” for his side. So far they have lost both of them.
All of the Blues' eggs are effectively now in one basket, and if they fail to progress on Saturday then it could end up being a gloomy season at Kellaway Park with an overwhelming sense of “what if?”
St Blazey will undoubtedly be the favourites going into this clash and they will feel that there will be no better time to face Helston. They may be right.
Prediction: St Blazey 2 – 1 Helston Athletic
Wadebridge v Mullion
Jolly’s Combination side Mullion face a tough draw away to Wadebridge in the second round of the Senior Cup.
Sitting comfortably in the top half of division one west, Wadebridge are on a scintillating run of form that has seen them win seven out of their last eight games.
Mullion meanwhile are almost mirroring that form in their own league, sitting just inside the top half of the table.
Unbeaten in their last five and winning four, this looks set to be a clash of two in-form teams with goals-a-plenty.
With neither side likely to produce anything spectacular in the league in terms of a late push up the table, a cup run would be a pleasant distraction, and with the quarter-finals looming they are only a win away from making a mark.
The Bridgers have only won the competition once in their history, back in 1980, and manager Mark Menhinick would love to be the one to guide his club back to the glory days.
With no prolific scorer in the team since the departure of Dan Jennings to Newquay, goals have been shared around the team, and they pose a threat from all positions - something that the Mullion backline will have to be wary of.
Prediction: Wadebridge 4 – 2 Mullion