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Champions Illogan leave it late to sink battling Saints

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

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ILLOGAN left it late to see off a resilient St Ives side and maintain their 14 point advantage at the top of the Jolly's Cornwall Combination League table.

It looked like it was going to be one of those afternoons for Mikey Pascoe's side, before Jason Roberts popped up with nine minutes remaining to break St Ives hearts.

It was harsh on the home side, who defended fantastically throughout and came within minutes of becoming the first side to prevent Illogan from scoring in the league this season.

It was the champions 19th league win on the bounce, and keeps them on course for promotion at the end of the season.

Saints boss, James Dagnall, was disappointed to concede so late on but was proud of his players' effort.

He said: "We tried something different today, playing a bit more defensively and I thought we might have held on which would have been nice but it just wasn't to be.

"A lot of people were expecting us to lose three or four nil, so it's a huge credit to our boys.

"When Illogan are keeping it in the corner with five minutes to go you know you've not had a bad game."

Despite their defensive approach, the Saints were a threat on the counter attack with Curt Richards and Sam Twyford linking well down the left in the first half.

And it was Richards who came within a whisker of giving his side an early lead, but Scott Goodchild's cross just evaded the winger.

The visitors were being reduced to half-chances, with Sam Waters firing narrowly wide from the edge of the box, and the lively Luke Johnson seeing a shot deflected past the post as the home side looked comfortable.

But for all their effort, they lacked a cutting edge, and the closest they came to opening the scoring was from a Goodchild effort which was too close to visiting goalkeeper Shaun Carter.

Carter was a spectator in the second half, as Illogan pressed for an opening, and their first real chance came just before the hour mark.

Simon Ellis' superb ball down the right played in Johnson, who skipped past Twyford but saw his shot well saved by stand in goalkeeper Martyn Harding.

Illogan were getting more frustrated as the game went on, and after having two penalty appeals turned down by referee Peter Grenfell, it looked like it wasn't going to be their day after Dan Richards and Waters both hit the post within a minute of each other.

But just as it seemed like Dagnall's game plan was going to pay off, Waters saw an effort deflected in to the path of Roberts who slammed home from close range, leaving the hosts with their heads in their hands, and the champions jumping for joy.

St Ives: M Harding, S Twyford (D Paynter 83), J Richards, A George, J Parton, C Richards, J Curnow (A Brown 68), M Thomas, S Roberts, S Goodchild (J Butcher 68), R Duncan (c). Sub (not used): M Spencer-Smith.

Illogan: S Carter, J Martin, J Carlyon, S Emery, S Fenton, L Johnson, J Roberts, S Ellis (c), D Richards, D Bowman (J Coleman 68), S Waters (T Butt 87). Not used: M Pascoe.

Scorer: Roberts (81).

Referee: Peter Grenfell (Penzance).

MoM: Luke Johnson – A constant threat down the right, at the heart of most of Illogan's attacks.

Elsewhere, a brace from Gerens James and another from Jamie Devine helped Ludgvan move back in to second place after a 3-1 win over Penryn, with Connor Edgson replying for the visitors.

While Illogan lead the way at the top, the battle for survival took another twist as the bottom two came together at Grouter Park.

Andy and Matt Osborne (2) were both on target for Troon as they came out on top in a crucial six-pointer against Porthleven. Andy Paul grabbed a consolation for the visitors, who sit above their opponents on goal difference.

Goonhavern remain just two points above them after being beaten 2-0 at St Agnes.

Goals from Mike Burn and James Saulisbury keep Aggie in tenth place, but they have games in hand over the teams around them.

Redruth United moved in to fifth place after a well earned 2-1 victory away at Perranwell. Goals from Brett Adams and Andy Bishop cancelled out Ben Manley's strike, while Hayle and Falmouth Athletic played out a goalless draw at Trevassack Park.

Three teams booked their place in the semi-final of the Combination League Cup as the hunt for the first piece of silverware of the season draws ever closer.

Falmouth Town needed penalties to see off RNAS Culdrose in a thriller at the Upper Sports Pavilion. James Green (2) and Stephen Hughes netted for the hosts while a brace from Steve Retchford and an Alexander Ottoway strike saw the match end 3-3 after extra time.

However, Culdrose's luck in front of goal ran out in the shoot-out as they missed all of their spot kicks, with Town running out 3-0 winners.

They will play Mullion in the final four after they comfortably saw off Newquay reserves 3-0 thanks to strikes from Joe Lugg, Rob Carey and Phil Cattran.

St Day remain on course to retain the trophy they won last season after goals from Tom Hogarth and Mikey Davies helped them edge past St Just, who replied through Rob Troon but couldn't find an equaliser.

St Day will play the winners of the fourth semi-final between Wendron and Illogan, to be played this Saturday.

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