HELSTON Athletic manager Steve Massey hailed the togetherness of his side following Saturday’s 2-0 victory at title rivals St Austell.

Mark Goldsworthy and Matt Bye netted as Helston extended their record winning run to 21 games and moved five points clear of their opponents at the top of the South West Peninsula League Premier West.

“It was very good because that was a tough place to go,” Massey said. “The last two games have been two tough places to go and Saltash probably looked at it and thought, ‘that’s two tough games, they’ll slip up in one of them surely’, and the guys have gone out and really done the business.

“It’s been a pleasure to stand in that technical area and to watching them perform with the togetherness in the whole squad. The closeness of the group now is really strong and if you look further up the county at Saltash and I guess they’ve got exactly the same with their side. It will be no coincidence whatsoever that two of the top sides have this closeness, this passion and desire between them and that’s certainly showing through ourselves and the club at the moment.”

The two victories over St Austell and Mousehole have led many onlookers to believe that the SWPL Premier West title is now a two-horse race between the Blues and Saltash United.

Second-placed St Austell are now five points behind Helston having played three games more, while fourth-placed Mousehole are 13 points behind the Blues. Saltash, who won 5-0 at Wendron United on Saturday, are 11 points behind Helston but with three games in hand.

But Massey is refusing to get rule out a late surge from one of the two sides as ‘funny things can happen’ in football.

“I understand people outside our club and at other clubs looking at it,” he said, “how they’ve come to that assumption that it may be down to two, but as we all know in football, we’ve been involved in it long enough, funny things can happen.

“I know it’s the old cheesy cliché but it’s about getting another one chalked off now, and we’ve been seemingly doing this since we got the club record after about 11 wins and we’ve added ten on since then.

“It’s funny how it’s worked out as well that the two Saltash games are towards the end of the season, in fact it’s the last but one for both of us.

“I’d like to think that we can put the pressure on Saltash, they’ve got to go to some real tough places, they’ve got Bodmin, they’ve got Falmouth twice, they’ve got Mousehole. I would love to be in a position that they had to beat us in both the games to win the title.

“We’re in a good position and I defy any other team in the league not wanting to be in our position: we’ve got the points on the board.”

Attention now turns to Dobwalls away next weekend, and despite two high-profile victories away at two of the toughest teams in the division, Massey is confident that his team will not underestimate the challenge that Dobwalls will pose.

“The lads’ thoughts are really positive that no matter who it is that comes along now they’re not going to trip us up,” he said. “We’re already looking forward to Saturday at Dobwalls, and certainly there wasn’t any talk of ‘oh that’s three points, that’s easy, we can score a few goals’, because that’s going to be a hard, hard place to go to.”

Massey hailed Saturday as a good day for the club after several of his youngsters, including three first-team players, were involved as Cornwall under-18s won 3-1 at home to Gloucestershire in the second match of their South West Counties Championship campaign.

First-team players Kieran Daughtery, Harrison Jewell and Alex Wharton were involved, with Jewell captaining the side and Wharton scoring twice as Cornwall added a victory to last week’s 1-1 draw with Devon.

Massey said: “It was a real good day for the club; not only did we keep our second clean sheet against two of the top three sides but we were very proud to have ten of our under-18 squad in the county, the captain [Harrison Jewell] and Alex Wharton, who scored two goals, and Mawgan Kewn [who scored the third], and our very own Glynn Hooper [assistant manager].”