Buoyant Bodmin hit top of table as Lillywhites crash
Bodmin Town 4 St Austell 1
Champions Bodmin hit the top of the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League premier division for the first time this season with a comprehensive victory over title rivals St Austell at Priory Park on Friday night.
It was Darren Gilbert’s side’s most complete performance of the campaign and stretched their unbeaten league run to 14 games going into next weekend’s crunch clash at Plymouth Parkway.
Bodmin made the perfect start with a goal after only 54 seconds as man of the match Sam Matthews smashed in a shot from 18 yards which St Austell keeper Jason Chapman got a hand to but could not prevent flying into the net.
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And it was 2-0 in the 11th minute when Jonny Ludlam’s left footed corner from the right found Danny O’Hagan at the far post and he stooped to head in from close range.
Bodmin were well on top and they extended their lead in the 26th minute when O’Hagan’s pass found Matthews and he outpaced Martin Giles before shooting low past Chapman to make it 3-0.
Ludlam’s fierce volley from 25 yards in the 39th minute was desperately close to giving Bodmin a four-goal half-time lead.
But they only had to wait until the 57th minute before it was 4-0 with a stunning finish from former St Blazey striker Seb Broomfield, who turned the St Austell defence inside out before firing a left foot shot into the roof of the net.
The Lillywhites had hardly been in the game but they pulled a goal back after 63 minutes with a cool finish from top scorer Mark Gusterson as he latched onto a through ball from Christian Pople.
St Austell came close to a second goal in the 74th minute when Lee Whetter’s fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area forced Kevin Miller into the save of the game, tipping the ball over the bar.
The visitors finished strongly and after another Miller save had denied substitute Ollie Deadman, Tom Smith headed over from ten yards when left unmarked from a Chris Reski corner.
Gusterson then had a great opportunity but wanted too much time to finish spectacularly which allowed Huw Morgan to race back to make a goal-saving challenge.
And in the third minute of time added on, Reski was unlucky not to reduce the arrears with a free kick which left Miller rooted to his line as the ball smashed against the foot of the post and bounced to safety.
St Austell’s second half performance had been a big improvement on their first half showing, but they were already four goals down before they moved out of second gear.
For Bodmin, they are beginning to look the business again and with Craig Swiggs and Danny O’Hagan back in the fold, the backbone of the side is looking familiar and strong.
The only downside from Friday’s game for Bodmin was an ankle injury to young right back Jack Podmore, who had to be carried off after Mike Body’s challenge in the 52nd minute, which brought the St Austell striker a yellow card.
Bodmin: Miller, Podmore (Morgan 55), Jewell, Chambers, Simmonds, L Doel, Matthews, Swiggs, O’Hagan, Broomfield (Wright 78), Ludlam (N Doel 76). Subs not used: Hodge, Alexander.
St Austell: Chapman, Lean, Giles (Williams 63), Smith, Whetter, Pople, Reski, Tinsley (Walker 65), Gusterson, Body, Carne (Deadman 75). Sub not used: Nancarrow.
Yellow cards: Body (54), Reski (85).
Referee: Lee Roberts (Plymouth).
Man of the match: Sam Matthews - his best performance of the season.
Elsewhere in the Peninsula League on Friday night, Launceston moved up to third place in the premier division with a 6-1 victory at Camelford.