RNAS Culdrose 3, Helston Athletic 3 - Combination League, September 2006

THIS thrilling Jolly’s Combination League encounter at the air station saw honours end even although RNAS Culdrose will be kicking themselves for allowing a two-goal lead to slip away.

It was a game in which the sides probably thought the pendulum was swinging their way, but it never quite worked out for either of them.

Defending against a strong wind in the opening half, Helston coped well with the conditions and allowed Culdrose few opportunities. The first of those came in the tenth minute when a long clearance by goalkeeper Colin Brown fell to Danny Williams who lobbed the advancing Glen Williams but put his effort wide of the target.

Minutes later, Steve Woodhouse played in Williams, but again he rolled his shot the wrong side of the upright.

Ten minutes before the break, the Blues missed a gilt-edged opportunity when Culdrose tried to catch their opponents offside from a free kick curled into the box, but the flag never went up and Phil Black missed a great chance with a header from eight yards. Having got to half-time without taking advantage of the wind, the servicemen must have thought they were going to be up against it in the second half, but that did not prove the case.

Inside ten minutes, they had built a two-goal lead with the first of them coming right after the break when Helston failed to deal with a ball into the box. Marty Bulgin made a determined 30-yard run to the by-line and cut along it before delivering a cross into the box that rebounded off a defender for Jamie Marles to knock in the loose ball.

Shortly afterwards, good play between Woodhouse and Danny Card saw Card set up Williams to slide the ball under the advancing ’keeper on the edge of the box.

The two goals shook Helston, but they eventually got back into the game in the 65th minute when Chris Strike scored direct from a corner and, with 15 minutes to go, they grabbed an equaliser when a good pass from Graham Blake freed Rob Eddy to run on and score.

Just when Helston thought they had at last established themselves they conceded a third goal ten minutes from time.

A brilliant move involving Card and Fraser Cumming saw Cumming get wide and cross to the far post where Williams challenged the ’keeper for the ball. The ’keeper could not hold on to the ball as it spun into the air and when it came down Card had the simple task of heading into an empty net.

It looked all over for Helston, but five minutes from time a free kick launched into the box by Dean Bray found Blake who made no mistake with his header.

With two minutes to go, Helston were reduced to ten men when Craig Taylor was yellow carded twice inside 30 seconds to receive his marching orders from the referee.

“We are slowly getting back to what I would consider is our best squad,” said Helston manager Kevin Goldsworthy. “We gave a much better performance and given the conditions I didn’t think it was a bad result.

“I thought after coming in at 0-0 and playing against such a very strong wind, we would be in control in the second half but fair play to Culdrose they scored a couple of quick goals which completely changed the pattern of the game.

“I though their third goal was a foul on our goalkeeper, but it wasn’t given.”

RNAS Culdrose assistant manager Neil Rudkin said: “It was a typical local derby with neither side willing to give an inch, a strongly competitive game that saw little good football played.

“We didn’t think their first goal was a goal because we didn’t think the ball crossed the line, but our linesman gave it so there’s not much we can do about that.

“We were all devastated by their equaliser because it would have given us the win we were looking for instead of four successive draws.

“We’re not overly concerned about it because we are playing reasonably well, but instead of four points from four games, I think we should have had at least ten.”

RNAS Culdrose: C Brown, N Rudkin, M McBeath, D Slesser, S Woodhouse, J Marles, C O’Hare, F Cumming, M Bulgin, D Williams, D Card. Subs: R Pennington, J Adam.

Helston: G Williams, S Abrahams, C Breasley, E Dunn, N Crook, P Black, G Blake, A Collick, C Strike, R Eddy, R Pearson. Subs: C Taylor, D Bray, M Conniff.