Burnham FC 1 Truro City 2
The Gore: a fine name for a soccer ground, taken presumably from the common land thereabouts of the same name. And Truro padded their way through this game on a pudding of a pitch to snatch victory from a more direct, physical, and on occasion incisive Burnham team. Early indecision and an acute inability to deal with the strong running of Blues’ Nikke Kebamba, Aaron Couch and Miles Hippolyte, forced City into hurried and often wild clearances and really, the hosts ought to have won the match by the interval, missing several chances. Truro took their penalty gift however and parity reigned at the break. A dismissal for the oddly misbehaving Lewis Driver on the hour for a bad challenge on Liam Eddy, offered the White Tigers some impetus and they certainly nullified much of Burnham’s long ball game, winning the game with a Cody Cooke strike, even though a late goal-line clearance denied the hosts a point, which surely they deserved, at least. Players seemingly found kicking the ball a tough assignment though, reminding me of the old leather case-ball days, when, as a seven year old, on cold, damp mornings in Glebe Farm Park, Birmingham, the ball could be moved only a matter of yards. Weird experience…
An early left-wing corner for Blues swerved low towards the near post but wrong-footed ‘keeper Ollie Chenoweth’s late plunge somehow prevented the ball from sneaking into goal. It was like he was attempting to stop his pet rabbit from escaping its hutch in the garden, but he did well enough. Truro were really not able to cope with the physical approach by their kind hosts and soon, both City skipper Paul Kendall, facing his also hesitating ‘keeper, stopped as Aaron Couch’s high clip forward bounced 7 yards from goal and home skipper Tom Willment dived between them to nod an effort towards the net, only to leave him in despair as it rolled past the right upright. City looked slighter in build than their opponents and lacked the creativity to offer strikers Liam Eddy and Ben Watson any other opportunities than to simply chase inaccurate kicks from midfield. More hesitancy led to Pugh conceding another corner, which Willment nodded too high, then Kendall’s next clearance was too hurried and Hippolyte collected the ball on the right, before moving infield to fire a great high shot beyond the flying Chenoweth and against the left upright from 25 yards.
Truro managed to get upfield at last but Jordan Copp’s 18 yard effort struck Eddy, who was in an offside position anyway. Another long punt forward by Burnham, keeping the ball off the awful surface, set Kebamba running through the covering Truro pair of Pugh and Shane White and the striker’s strength prevailed, as he fired a low 18 yard shot past the stranded, non-diving Chenoweth and into the bottom left corner of the net. A deserved lead in truth because Truro, for all their hard work, were struggling to make any offense at all. A brilliant pass out of defence, I believe by Willment, then set Couch, who really could have won this game on his own, moving on the left flank; he released a dangerous centre, right-footed but a couple of deflections saw the ball roll across the goalmouth for a corner. Jamie Lowry soon swung over a left-side free-kick for Truro, who were beginning by now to settle a little and his team won a corner but Pugh was pushing and the referee spotted it. More trouble clearing by Truro led to a lob by Driver from 25 yards but his effort was wayward, then careless play again by the guests left Couch, just onside, left-wing and he tricked Dan Green who was covering for the stranded Steve Tully, before turning inside and he should really have at least hit the target, succeeding only in striking a drive into the side-netting.
Eddy made a smart run at inside-right for Truro but lacked the needed support then another Lowry free-kick from the left fell beautifully for the leaping Kendall’s head at the far post but the skipper missed the ball totally. Home goalie Jamie Jackson, notable so far only for his powerful voice, raced out to 17 yards as Eddy chased a long pass then Driver, who had been a little over-eager in a couple of challenges was warned, with his skipper in tow, by the referee, about his conduct. Words falling upon stony ground come to mind. Pugh jumped to clear a Burnham free-kick from inside-left but Driver drove himself into an overhead shot, which flew well over the visitors’ crossbar. Incredibly, the improving Tinmen equalised from a penalty, as half-time approached. Home defender John Munday, on a Tuesday, didn’t seem to know which day it was, as a Lowry corner almost nestled against an arm and the official signalled a spot-kick, which Tully speared over Jackson into the roof of the Burnham net.
Strangely, after the goal, Truro’s grown resilience took an instant swipe, as Blues forced them into defending another lobbed, deep delivery; Kebamba evaded Joe Broad on the right touchline, fed Hippolyte behind him, who similarly evaded Copp, before lofting the ball towards the middle, where Couch shrugged off Tully to leave himself only Chenoweth to beat from 10 yards. He did so, but screwed a poor effort a yard wide of the right upright too. Incredibly, after all of Driver’s antics, Kendall received a caution for something uttered! Driver rage, perhaps… Half-time was signalled, the players withdrew for a pot of tea and to check Twitter accounts, no changes were made during the interval and the second-half began.
A helter-skelter beginning to the second period was interrupted by more unbecoming behaviour from Driver, so the referee called over his Captain again and discussed his naughtiness again, without showing a yellow card. Again. After Lowry was dispossessed, Lee Togwell took a quick free-kick for the Blues but Couch was offside as he tested Chenoweth’s reflexes from a tight angle. Driver, who had knocked Broad over, following his second public warning, then clattered unceremoniously into Kendall, was beckoned by the official again and er, spoken to. Again… This was becoming very silly. Kendall managed a header from a Lowry corner, which was hacked away from the left upright by a sensibly positioned defender, before Couch shot at Chenoweth and then the game changed in City’s favour. Eddy picked up the ball very deep and left, but suddenly Driver accelerated into action and dived in to foul the chunky Truro forward, before turning to leave the field, prior even to the referee’s brandishing of the inevitable red card.
Truro seemed surprised by their good fortune and both White then Pugh made defensive errors, before Eddy erupted at inside-right, forcing his way into the 18 yard box but under severe pressure was only able to shoot low into the near post’s side-netting. A free-kick was gained by Burnham, just inside Truro’s half and Willment shot for goal, forcing Chenoweth to turn the ball over his crossbar for an unproductive corner. Copp and Eddy were then replaced by Cody Cooke and Les Afful, as City attempted to get forward and win the game. Lowry’s neat delivery saw Watson fall over but win no penalty, correctly, probably, then Lowry’s poor free-kick from a threatening position allowed the Blues to clear too easily. Willment attempted a 35 yard free-kick for the hosts, an effort which was only just too high but Burnham, a man down, were finding the going tougher by this juncture.
Richard Jeffrey, I believe, replaced Willment for the Blues then Cooke headed a Lowry free-kick down but although Kendall scrambled the ball against the base of the right upright, a linesman’s flag was wagging. A long Chenoweth free-kick freed Afful inside the penalty-box at inside-left but the substitute didn’t shoot, instead turning to feed Cooke behind him, who drove too high from 17 yards. Hippolyte was replaced for the Blues, before Couch left Kendall on the sofa, left-flank, but placed his angled shot into Chenoweth’s gloves. Couch then laid off a pass at 18 yards, which a colleague failed to read and his coaches must have wondered why he hadn’t taken on the ball and fired in a shot himself. Cooke glanced a Lowry free-kick wide, with Kendall better placed behind him, Truro lost possession again and Chenoweth raced out to reach the ensuing through-pass before the lively Couch.
Afful was finding holding up the ball something of a problem and Truro’s efforts to win the game were being scuppered by the state of the pitch and some really careless distribution, as Burnham began to attempt to hold out. Neat Truro passing from the right, involving Lowry and Tully freed Afful inside the penalty-area at inside-right but the forward’s low pass was badly miscued and it trickled for a defender to hammer away, Watson being flagged offside as City retrieved the ball. Then, Truro netted the winner and again, it stemmed from smart passing on the right; Lowry’s neat ball from the right for Watson saw the striker take the ball away from the ‘keeper at the near post, feed it back for Tully, who passed to Lowry again. The midfielder shaped to shoot but turned instead, right corner of the penalty-box and passed back to Broad, who looked up and clipped the ball towards the far side of the penalty-area, where Cooke, poorly marked, controlled it, then fired a low 10 yarder into the bottom right corner of the net. An emphatic and fine goal.
Warren Daw replaced Tully for Truro but Chenoweth had to be sharp to leap and catch a back-header by his skipper, Kendall. The wonderfully named Antonio Tomas Abreu entered the fray for the hosts and although Truro attempted to kill the game, they nearly committed football suicide with a succession of possession errors as the game waned. In particular, Afful was dispossessed, Broad picked up the loose ball and pushed a pass back to Daw, who was also dispossessed and Burnham made ground on their right, through Couch, I believe. The attacker beat Daw and passed inside, where a low shot appeared to be deflected then stopped by the falling Chenoweth’s legs, before being struck at goal from 6 yards but I think it was White, on the goal-line, who stretched and hacked the ball clear, for Green to punt into the Burnham half. Watson drove well over the crossbar, a Burnham shot was deflected and Chenoweth prevented a corner, then with Truro making a meal of wasting time, too often handing possession back to the Blues, it needed some scurrying and harrying to see out the final moments.
A remarkable three points for Truro, who overcame Burnham’s physical ascendancy, a really dire surface, the lack of creativity and maybe an aerial threat in attack, to snatch a victory from what had promised to be a defeat during the opening half-hour. The Burnham club badge displays a swan, with crown and chains, showing that swans belong to the monarchy but on this day, their chains were not shrugged off, as the White Tigers snarled again… What on earth would Walter Fitz-Other, Burnham’s owner according to the Domesday Book have made of it all? ‘Gored’ his troops, no doubt…
Burnham: Jamie Jackson, Sam Boultwood, Tom Willment (Capt); John Munday, George Pilbeam, Ryan Upward; Aaron Couch, Lee Togwell, Nikke Kebamba, Lewis Driver, Miles Hippolyte.
Subs: Montel Moore, Adrian Sear, Antonio Tomas Abreu, Richard Jeffrey.
(I hope the above names are correct… Apologies, if not…)
Truro: Ollie Chenoweth, Steve Tully, Shane White; Paul Kendall (Capt), Arran Pugh, Joe Broad; Dan Green, Jamie Lowry, Ben Watson, Liam Eddy, Jordan Copp.
Subs: Les Afful, Jahdee Gildin, Cody Cooke, Warren Daw.