Porthleven 3, Bridport 1 - FA Vase, September 2007

PORTHLEVEN pulled off one of the surprise results of the day in the FA Carlsberg Vase when they defeated Bridport 3-1 in the first round.

Their visitors arrived at Gala Park as firm favourites on the basis that they were from the Toolstation Western League’s first division, but the difference in the levels was never apparent as the Fishermen fully deserved their victory.

Porthleven also had the surprise inclusion of veteran midfielder Nigel Thwaites who has decided that retirement is, perhaps, just a little too soon for him.

The home side made a bright start and Lee Cuff made a fine save from Jamie Thirkle to keep out his chip shot. Indeed, Cuff had been drafted into the side for the game from Axminster and rescued his side on a number of occasions.

However, he was unable to prevent Porthleven from taking the lead in the 15th minute when Steve Brewer sent Andy Westgarth scampering away and from 12 yards gave Cuff no chance as he blasted the ball home.

Cuff showed his brilliance again minutes later when after a fine run by Thirkle a chip shot looked like beating the ’keeper, but Cuff somehow tipped it on to the bar and was cleared by Paul Fellows.

Neither side was able to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but Bridport did not find it easy to create chances with set pieces their best avenue for a goal.

Another fine save by Cuff denied Kevin Lawrence and then the ’keeper made a superb double save when he kept out a fierce shot by Thirkle and got lucky with the second when Steve Brewer’s shot rebounded off his body without knowing too much about it.

Despite not having looked too dangerous, Bridport caught Porthleven napping in the 32nd minute when they grabbed an equaliser. Steve Churchill’s short corner was chipped in by Fellows and as the ball bobbled around in the box Darren Stewart slotted the ball home.

Porthleven could have regained the initiative just before the break when Westgarth got away, but he was unable to get the better of Cuff from a narrow angle and put the ball wide of the target.

Bridport enjoyed their best spell of the game at the start of the second half when they forced five successive corners from Churchill. Each one posed a threat, but on the fifth Taylor managed to take the cross and pressure was eased.

Thirkle’s pace always posed problems for Bridport, but the visitors had a safe pair of hands in Cuff and again there was no way past the ’keeper.

Ben Medlin came on for Howlett after 65 minutes, but Porthleven were unable to make any sort of breakthrough with Steve Brewer picking up Thirkle’s pass and having his shot on the turn saved.

With Mike Davis coming on in the 73rd minute for Thirkle, Martin Day was pushed into midfield as part of a reshuffle and a minute later Port had regained the lead. Westgarth picked up Hollands’ pass on the flank and then squared the ball to Davis who drilled his shot past the ’keeper from close range.

Eleven minutes from time Thwaites cam on for his first appearance of the season and four minutes later he provided the pass that sent Westgarth away. The striker looked up and put the ball invitingly into the path of Lawrence who gave Cuff no chance from six yards.

Just before the final whistle Taylor made a superb if unorthodox save when he raced out of his box from and from low down headed away a through ball being chased down by Shane Evans.

That was the final thrust from Bridport and now Port will travel to Toolstation Premier League side Bitton in the next round on October 6.

Porthleven: S Taylor, M Hollands, J Burr, S Rogers, M Day, H Howlett, J Thirkle, S Brewer, A Westgarth, M Brewer, K Lawrence. Subs: N Thwaites, M Davis, B Medlin, A Howlett.