Despite having a numerical advantage over their opponents for the majority of the match after a Josh Robins red card, Helston Athletic failed to break down league leaders Tavistock in a 0-0 deadlock at Kellaway Park.

The opening few minutes saw some fiesty challenges from both sides, the importance of the game known all too well by both teams who are competing at the top of the Toolstation Western League.

The closest effort from the opening stages saw Helston midfielder Tyler Elliot drag a half-volleyed attempt from outside of the box just wide of the target.

Helston gave a debut to new signing Cory Harvey and the former Mousehole man showed his worth in the 21st minute.

The ball was cleared away and set up perfectly for Tavistock's Robins to strike from range. His dipping volley was set for the top corner but for a strong outstretched hand from Harvey.

It was a cagey first half with few chances, Billy Tucker ought to have done better when he was picked out following a long cross from Craig Veal. But the winger's first time effort was skewed wide left of the target.

The turning point in the game came in the 35th minute when Robins was brandished a straight red card for Tavistock. The full-back recklessly dived in on Ryan Turner with his studs raised. The challenge which left Turner with blood wounds on his ankle left the referee Rowan Clarke with no choice but to send the Tavy player off.

The man advantage created extra space for Helston which they failed to exploit. Elliot combined with Tucker from a short corner but wasted his effort over the bar. in the 42nd minute, minutes later Harrison Jewell charged through the midfield but frustratingly for Helston fired way over the bar.

After the break, the home side came out with high intensity and had a number of opportunities early in the half to take the lead. Storey headered over the bar from a corner and Bowker had a backheel saved by the keeper.

In the 50th minute, Massey asked his side for some quality, but the final pass or finish was missing all too often. Tavistock were reduced to nine men in the 55th minute when Warren Daw received a yellow card sin bin.

Despite even more space on the pitch, Helston could not find the goal they desperately wanted.

Tucker had a free kick in an inviting position in the 53rd minute but curled his effort over the crossbar, in the 67th minute he cut inside and shot but his strike was straight at the keeper.

The fans and players grew more frustrated as all too many Helston crosses floated straight into the arms of the keeper rather than to a blue shirt.

Tucker was causing havoc for Tavistock, his floated cross picked out Veal whose knockdown header needed a palm from goalkeeper Josh Oak to deny Bowker from getting on the end of it.

In the 89th minute, Helston squandered their best chance to get a win from the match in a goalmouth frenzy. Tucker saw a powerful shot saved. The ball rebounded to Hands, his header was nodded back across goal rather than toward the vastly open net. The ball came to Turner but his shot blocked but ricocheted to Jewell on the edge of the area but his effort was deflected wide.

The disappointment of not making the most of the man advantage will feel worse for Helston who could have added pressure onto the top two with a win. Especially with rivals Bitton losing in a 4-3 frenzy against Saltash United.

Helston Athletic:

C. Harvey, R. Shanley, J. Beattie, J. Storey, J. Hands, H. Jewell, T. Elliot, B. Tucker, C. Veal, S. Bowker, R. Turner

Subs: L. Tripconey, L. Summers, S. Buckley, J, Penhallurick,T, Gallaway


J. Oak, B. Cross, J. Robins, J. Parr, D. Lewis, W. Daw, J. Miller, D. Hallett, L. Prynn, J. Grant, D. Koita

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Subs:C. Sargent, C. Watson, C. Ptichard, L. Browl, L. Harris

Referee: Rowan Clarke