30 January 2014

Determined Truro Denied At Stourbridge By Brown’s Opportunism (by The Mowdog)

Source: Mowdog on the Road link here

Determined Truro Denied At Stourbridge By Brown’s Opportunism

Stourbridge 2 Truro City 2

This largely untidy game lacked pattern, although home strikers Ben Billingham and Tom Berwick caused some consternation for the guests on occasions, especially before the interval. The hosts had joy along their right flank during this period and rattled the crossbar twice, although it has to be said that Truro stuck at their passing game, even though it broke down too often when the ball reached lone striker Ben Watson, who worked hard but was given little meaningful support from Les Afful, who seemed glued to the left touchline, or Cody Cooke, who was forced to tuck in to support midfield. Olly Brokenshire made the occasional supportive run but offensively, City struggled before half-time. Brokenshire’s fine goal separated the teams at 45 minutes but even though Kayelden Brown equalised for the Glassboys early in the second-half, the expected pressure by Stourbridge failed to materialise and indeed, it was Truro who looked the likelier outfit during the second period. A goalkeeping error gave Truro a late lead but after Brokenshire squandered a great opportunity, a defensive error by City offered the hosts a welcome equaliser; Truro manager Steve Massey was so angry that he hammered a loitering football into an advertising hoarding and I decided it was politic not to pass the time of evening with him…

An early challenge by Stourbridge newcomer Berwick allowed Billingham a snap-shot from 21 yards and the ball flew just the wrong side of the left post but the opening exchanges featured two tough tackles by Truro playmaker Joe Broad and although a number of long balls were played towards the home forwards running the channels, City attempted to pass across midfield. Steve Tully and goalie Grant Fisher got into a tangle, as the ‘keeper hesitated and his right-back was forced to clear hurriedly and then a fine tackle by visiting skipper Paul Kendall cleared a moment of Stourbridge danger. A dive into a tackle by Drew Canavan brought an early caution for the Glassboy then Brown and Billingham were too slick for Truro but Berwick had strayed offside at inside-left and a chance was lost. A Billingham corner was headed too high by Will Richards, following stout defending by Truro then Ben Watson slipped a pass for Les Afful to break inside from the left but the forward’s effort at goal slithered well wide of the right upright. Another Billingham corner from the right caused real trouble for Fisher, who waved a fist at the trajectory but had turned his head, being fortunate that the ball beat everyone else too and flashed by the far post.

Brown headed a Billingham centre too high but Stourbridge should have been a goal ahead when the lively Billingham missed a great chance to score. Kendall’s clearing header fell to Brown, who slipped a pass right to Canavan and the midfielder pushed a really fine feed into the 18 yard area between Warren Daw and Arran Pugh for Billingham who was in at inside-right; he avoided a sliding tackle by Kendall but blasted a rising shot against the crossbar from 8 yards and was beaten in the air to the rebound by the tall Pugh, with Kendall heading on for Afful to complete the clearance. Afful fouled a home defender when, finally, Truro attacked, through Cody Cooke on the right but what happened next was a shock to all: City scored…

Olly Brokenshire burst onto Broad’s short pass at inside-left and his strength took him towards goal, but although he seemed to jab at the ball from 22 yards, his effort soared over the leaping Stourbridge ‘keeper Coleman and high into the net for a spectacular goal. Another strong run to the right byeline by Canavan nearly brought an instant equaliser however but Berwick’s vicious, unmarked right-foot volley from beyond the far post struck Fisher and bounced into the air, forcing the ‘keeper to jump at his left upright and fist the ball away for a corner, which Kendall headed upwards but won a free-kick from to relieve the pressure. Truro won a corner but Dan Green’s speculative 24 yard effort rose too high then after a period of offense, the ball fell for Pugh to volley but a deflection allowed Coleman to collect the spinning effort.

Truro survived another Stourbridge corner when a defender sliced the ball over his own bar; Billingham’s flag-kick was headed upwards by Kendall, only for Richards to fall and hook a lobbed 8 yard effort onto the top of the Truro crossbar. Kendall then lost possession, forcing Pugh into an unwise challenge on the dangerous Berwick and the City defender was deservedly cautioned. Billingham and Berwick combined on the right again but home skipper Sean Geddes fired too high from 24 yards. Pugh was limping somewhat by this time but Truro ended the half on the offensive only for Afful to lose out to a defender and then foul him. The half ended with Truro fortunate to be ahead but they had tried to pass the ball, albeit with little real achievement. Stourbridge looked more dangerous with their three Bs: Brown prompting, Billingham prowling and Berwick pressurising but Truro’s B, Brokenshire had broken the deadlock…

After the break, Stourbridge looked lively and Billingham’s early jaunty run at inside-right only came to an end when he was crowded out but then, the referee awarded the Glassboys a free-kick on the right from 20 yards away, when oddly, the nearby linesman, 8 yards away, saw nothing amiss. A left-foot centre was curled in, Brown jumped in a crowded penalty-area, and glanced the ball on, looking as surprised as anyone when the ball dropped inside the left vertical. No defender manned a post, despite the trajectory swerving inwards… Massey looked sour, for his coaching companion had just bellowed for the defenders to watch out for runners. They didn’t. Pugh then leaned at the far post to head Brokenshire’s fine free-kick from inside-left down and wide but Truro, although pegged back, began to assume more possession and Afful, constantly encouraged by his coaches to tackle back, showed some neat skills and from one dribble, Brokenshire picked up the ball and nearly put Watson away. Truro defended a corner and a cross well enough before Daw was replaced by Shane White and from the substitute’s throw-in, Afful slithered and stumbled inside from the left, past defenders and his right foot shot took a deflection for a fruitless corner.

Kyle Haynes replaced Francis for the hosts but then Berwick broke into the inside-left channel for Stourbridge, only to curl a right-footer beyond the far post. Kendall was now limping for Truro as his team surrendered possession but Brown drove wildly off target. Broad was then fouled in midfield with a jump-in tackle but the official ignored the challenge, allowing the hosts to drive a low shot straight at the largely untroubled Fisher. Neat play by Truro was wrecked by several offside flags, mostly against Watson, ploughing his lonely furrow in the White Tigers’ attack, but Brown drove another shot at Fisher, as the Glassboys picked up one or two loose balls in the Truro half. Berwick was surprisingly replaced by Sam Rock for the home team but Truro won a free-kick at inside-left again and when White’s far post header looped up, Pugh attempted a 7 yard overhead shot, only for the ball to rap against the toe of his boot and drift way over the goal-frame.

Incredibly, Truro took the lead again, in the closing stages of a half they had just about shaded and it was Watson who took some credit, although home goalie Coleman made a bad error. Green slipped the ball forward into the penalty-box, Watson was just onside but his low shot from 14 yards was straight at Coleman, who inexplicably allowed the ball to squirm through his legs as he crouched and it rolled into the net. Joy for Truro, agony for Coleman. Billingham was cautioned for a foul, Pugh conceded a corner, which bounced off a Stourbridge head for a goal-kick and the game edged towards a close. Then, Truro should have wrapped up three points; Watson got away at inside-left with Richards and Haynes for company and Haynes blocked the striker’s shot from 12 yards, only for Watson to set up a clear chance for Brokenshire, 16 yards out but the midfielder’s measured effort, leaning back was scooped wastefully too high. That miss would haunt Truro…

A stoppage in play resulted not in one team presenting the ball to the other but in a good old fashioned bounce-up, which led to the ball rolling towards the Truro byeline, right of the goal-frame but Pugh attempted to shield it and allow it to trickle out; Rock wouldn’t allow that and challenged, so that the ball fell neatly for Brown, 8 yards out, to flash a low near post drive into the net, past the stunned Fisher. It only remained for Brokenshire to confound the few Truro followers at the ground when he shaped to take a free-kick at the right corner of the penalty-box with his dangerous left foot; it was added-time, surely a curling shot at goal, like Messi would attempt? Er, no, maybe he was under different instructions to deliver a cross and of course Coleman punched the ball clear easily. At the death, Pugh nearly miscued in his penalty-area as Fisher grabbed a left-wing centre but each team was left with a point, something perhaps Massey would have accepted after the opening half, but not so after the second period, when he may have felt that his team had done enough to secure the victory.

Stourbridge appeared to fade badly after the interval and attacked more or less on the break, as Truro fiddled the ball around in midfield attempting to find a free man, mostly in vain, in truth. Brown was Stourbridge’s saviour really, although Billingham contributed a huge amount, rarely allowing Pugh or Kendall any comfort. For the visitors, Brokenshire was often good, Watson ran hard but leader Kendall was probably their most valuable performer for his defensive prowess, especially before the break.

I had fielded several balls from the terracing behind the goal, as Truro’s replacements warmed up before the game and one shot struck the underside of the roof, showering the terrace steps with rust and debris, narrowly missing my head but when I volleyed another ball back, instead of it rebounding from the barrier of the surrounding fence, it slammed back over my head from the back of the crossbar. I’ve never done that before, even though it wasn’t a challenge and Truro’s reserve ‘keeper was visibly amused, unlike Steve Massey at the end of this game…


Stourbridge: Dean Coleman, Drew Canavan, Will Richards; Netan Sansara, Sean Geddes (Capt), Andre Francis; Louis Harris, Leon Broadhurst, Kayelden Brown, Ben Billingham, Tom Berwick.

Subs: Kyle Haynes, Jordan Fitzpatrick, Sam Rock, Sam Tye, Jordan Murphy.

Truro: Grant Fisher, Steve Tully, Warren Daw; Paul Kendall (Capt), Arran Pugh, Joe Broad; Cody Cooke, Dan Green, Ben Watson, Olly Brokenshire, Les Afful.

Subs: Liam Eddy, Jared Sims, Jordan Copp, Shane White, Gildin (gk).

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