Helston Reserves 2, Perranporth 3

HELSTON will have to wait another year before attempting to win the Combination League Cup for the first time, after going down at the semi-final stage for the second time in three years on Sunday, writes Matt Dixon at Oxland Parc.

After conceding two early goals it was always going to be a big ask and although they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the second period, their experienced opponents had just enough to fend them off.

Andy Miles – who had played for St Agnes against the Blues in the 2016 semi-final – was outstanding at the heart of Perran’s defence, repeatedly thwarting Helston’s attacking intentions.

His dead ball expertise was also in evidence and the north coast side opened the scoring from one such play.

Miles’ free kick from wide on the left on the half way line was fizzed into the penalty area and Jack Bradshaw took the invitation, heading neatly into the bottom right hand corner after 12 minutes.

Helston, who attempted to play from the back throughout despite the difficult Oxland Parc pitch at Illogan, almost engineered their own downfall after 20 minutes.

Freddie Conway’s pass back to Rob Eddy meant that the keeper’s only real option was to return it Conway, but his errant kick gave Perran a throw-in.

From that, the ball broke loose to Ross Sommerville, whose crisply struck half volley appeared to be tipped over by Eddy, but the referee awarded a goal kick.

After 25 minutes Perran doubled their lead when Reece Monteith shrugged off Freddie William’s challenge to roll the ball into the path of Justin Miles, who calmly slotted into the same corner that Bradshaw’s header had earlier nestled.

Helston’s best period of possession led to their first goal nine minutes later. Frazier Patterson drove through the midfield and when the ball was played wide to Joe Wright, his hanging cross was headed home by Mike Hallibone.

Another deep free kick from Andy Miles sailed just wide of Eddy’s left hand post before his arrow-accurate cross was headed wide by Bradshaw when it looked easier to score.

Just before the break Miles slid through the back of Hallibone 20 yards from goal, but Sam Young’s free kick floated harmlessly over the bar.

The impressive Patterson shot just wide of the left hand post 20 minutes into a second half of few chances, but as Perran appeared to be tiring, they scored a crucial third goal after 74 minutes when Chris Wood turned in the area to shoot low past Eddy.

Andy Miles produced a series of brilliant blocks and clearances as Helston sought a quick response, but they did not break through again until six minutes from time.

Former Helston midfielder Gary Bell brought down Wright on the left and his free kick was headed into his own net by Bradshaw, who had earlier headed into the same corner of the net to put Perran in front.

Graham Blake’s men battled and probed for the entire 52 minutes of the second period, but their youthful side were ultimately outmuscled by Perran’s physical unit.

Helston: R Eddy, F Williams, J Shainberg (K Jacka 83m), F Conway, I Dryburgh, C Tanner (capt), F Patterson, J Wright, S Young (K Cornish 63m), D Stidwell, M Hallibone.

* A full page of pictures will appear in Wednesday's Helston Packet.