Helston Athletic 2, Callington Town 1 – South West Peninsula League Division 1 West, August 2012

An 85th minute strike from substitute James Miller gave Helston Athletic a crucial victory against Callington Town at Kellaway Park on Saturday.

Callington are widely tipped to be one of Helston’s promotion rivals from the Carlsberg SW Peninsula division one west this season having strengthened their side during the summer.

The east Cornwall team came close to beating Helston and, based on their second half performance, deserved at least a point from the match.

However Helston, having such strength in depth in their squad, were able to bring on quality players from the bench and it proved crucial as they grabbed the points late on despite being down to ten men.

The match started with Helston Athletic on top. New signing Jamie Thirkle looked lively down the left as he sent in a second minute cross, which just eluded the head of last season’s division one west golden boot winner Mark Goldsworthy.

After ten minutes Thirkle found Liam Eddy in space with a crossfield ball, but his shot from an angle was well saved by Callington ‘keeper Jamie Blatchford.

Nine minutes later Eddy again tested Blatchford with a shot from outside the area. The ball looked to be curling into the bottom corner, but the visiting ‘keeper did well to get down and tip the ball around the post.

However, Helston kept pressing and were eventually rewarded when a clearance up field found Eddy in space on the left. At an angle the Helston striker still had a lot to do, but he cleverly lobbed a shot over the advancing Blatchford and into the far corner of the net.

It was a shot worthy of giving Helston a half-time lead, but it almost wasn’t the case as back came Callington in the 34th minute. Kirk Smith managed to get to the byline on the right and send over a low cross for Ryan Lucassi to shoot goalwards. However Martyn Webster, who was standing in for suspended ‘keeper Jason Robertson, produced an excellent one-handed save.

At the other end Helston were left angered when Blatchford appeared to handle the ball outside the box when blocking a shot from Goldsworthy, but escaped punishment.

It proved a telling moment as Callington regrouped in the break and came out in the second half much the better side. Fergus Nevin floated an early free-kick onto the top of the Helston crossbar before the visitors equalised in the 59th minute.

Ashley Stidwell gave away a free-kick for climbing on the back of Lucassi to win a header, where Matt Thackeray sent a free header back across goal and into the bottom corner.

Helston responded as Eddy sent a header just wide, but the game swung into Callington’s favour when Stidwell was shown his second yellow card on 65 minutes.

The defender cynically blocked the run of Smith down the left, attempting to stop a counter-attack. And, having already received a booking in the first half for dissent, he was sent from the field of play.

Callington, sensing their chance to claim victory, sent men forward.

Anthony Mason, brother of Cardiff City’s Joe Mason, tested Webster with a close range shot before player-manager Lee Beer sent in a 30-yard drive that Webster tipped over his crossbar.

Dennis Mason, also a brother of Joe, then missed a great chance as Webster cleared a ball straight to him on the edge of the area and he played a shot wide of an open goal.

However, having brought on Nigel Thwaites, Miller and Frazer Cummings, Helston boss Sid Taylor had freshened up his side in a bid to take the match himself.

And in the 85th minute it worked as Jordan Adlard sent a free-kick goalwards. Blatchford did well to tip the ball onto his crossbar, but the ball dropped into the box and Miller reacted quickest to fire home the rebound.

Helston: M Webster, A Collick, D Stidwell, J Thomson, A Stidwell H Howlett, J Adlard, C Young, L Eddy, M Goldsworthy, J Thirkle. Subs: T Russell, N Thwaites, F Cummings, J Miller.