Porthleven manager Graham Blake was delighted to see his side return to action with a victory at Sticker on Saturday.

Playing for the first time since October 24 before the second national coronavirus lockdown intervened, the Fishermen edged out a hard-fought 1-0 win at Burngullow Park in the South West Peninsula League Premier West.

Ross Duncan’s fortuitous 55th-minute goal, which took a monster deflection off Sticker’s Andrew Avery, proved the difference between the two sides as Port secured their fourth win of the campaign.

“It was a hard-fought game and both teams were trying to win it,” Blake said. It’s almost like the second phase of the season coming up to Christmas and we’ve got some big games coming up. We’ve got Dobwalls next week and then Helston on Boxing Day so we’ve got some big games and it was nice to get the confidence high in the first game.”

In a peculiar twist of fate, the fixtures in the SWPL for the first weekend back after the lockdown were the reverse fixtures of those that kicked off the 2020/21 campaign on September 5.

The Fishermen welcomed Sticker to Gala Parc that day but suffered a disappointing 4-1 defeat, in which they fell three goals behind after just 17 minutes.

Blake was happy to right the wrongs of the opening day and insisted that his side, while being nearly identical in terms of personnel, is now a different one from that day.

“We were a bit complacent when we played Sticker at home,” he said. “I think we thought we were going to go in there and win it, and we just didn’t turn up. We were 2-0 down within ten minutes.

“We’re a different team now. At the start of the season we were quite a new team but you can see [the change now]. I think we should have got something out of Camelford [lost 2-1] before the lockdown but we’ve definitely improved, and you can see it on the pitch.

“Off the pitch the lads are just all together all the time. They’ve got that togetherness and it’s just getting it right on the pitch.”

An injury to Kyle Fraser late in the first half forced Blake into a substitution at the break, with Gemell Mills replacing Fraser and putting in a fine display in the heart of midfield in the second half – earning praise from his manager for doing so.

“I think he changed the game,” Blake said. “Gemell’s a fit lad, he’s big, he’s strong and he’s good to have in that midfield.”

Porthleven’s next game is at home to Dobwalls this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).