RNAS Culdrose 1, Penryn Athletic 2

PENRYN Athletic rounded off their Combination League campaign with a 2-1 win at RNAS Culdrose on Thursday night.

Their matches may be over, but thanks to first-half goals from Tom Annear and Harry Roberts, their season is not quite done yet.

Locked in a three-way title battle with Perranporth and St Day, Penryn knew that victory in their final game was vital to their hopes of being crowned Combo champions for the first time since the 1999-00 season.

Defending champions Perranporth hold the cards in the three-way tussle, with the north coast club just requiring two wins from their final two games - at home to Mullion and Culrdose - to retain the title.

But Penryn's triumph at Culdrose's Bill Pearce Sports Pavilion means that there is no margin for error. The once complicated permutations could now not be any simpler.

Win both, and Perranporth are champions. Fail to do so, and Penryn are champions.

St Day could still clinch it on goal difference if they win their last two games, but with said differential being 25 goals inferior to Penryn, it would be one hell of an effort.

The importance of the game was plain for all to see with the visitors keen to get on the front foot as quickly as possible. Bradley Leivers, back on the wing after a stint in goal against Wendron the week before, had a couple of chances before Ryan Reeve curled one narrowly wide.

Penryn have benefited from the higher-division experience of Annear in their title run-in and he opened the scoring on 15 minutes. He did in some style, too, driving the ball into the top corner from 25 yards after pouncing on a poor clearance.

Culdrose briefly threatened at the other end via their own end-of-season recruit in Wendron's TJ Walter, who almost wriggled free of the Penryn defence but for a vital interception.

It was all the more vital as Penryn doubled their lead midway through the half. It was another fine individual effort, with Roberts lobbing over Culdrose 'keeper Sean Jackson-Guy from the left-hand corner of the box.

Reeve needed two goals to keep his hopes of winning the league's Golden Boot alive, and this led to the striker being a bit more selfish than he otherwise would, with the 40-goal striker twice firing wide from a tight angle in the space of a minute.

The visitors looked good value for their lead at the break but a couple of sighters from Walter early in the second half reminded them that the job was not done.

One more, you sensed, would kill the game off, with Leivers and Tyler Cooke coming close to doing so before Reeve forced another save out of Jackson-Guy.

But the Airmen threw a spanner into the works in the form of Dan Quirke, who cut in from the left and drove the ball past stand-in 'keeper Dan Lord and into the bottom corner. Game on.

All of a sudden it was anyone's game. Penryn were still on top but Culdrose, and especially Quirke, were looking dangerous on the counter.

Quirke was then denied by a superb block from Nick Boase before Reeve was thwarted once again at the other end before Jake Shaw headed over from a free-kick.

The hosts stepped it up as the game entered the final few minutes. Quirke had a wayward shot before Russell May blocked another for a corner, from which Walter fired over.

To Penryn's relief the final whistle soon came. Their season is over, but their title hopes are certainly not.