Defeat leaves Bridgers' title bid in balance
Wadebridge Town 1, Helston Athletic 2
GODOLPHIN Atlantic will have been looking on with interest at how events were unfolding along the coast at Wadebridge on Saturday.
It was second versus third at Bodieve Park, and nothing less than a win would do for Wadebridge or Helston in their pursuit of the Division One West runaway leaders.
Eleven points separated Godolphin from Wadebridge and Helston before Saturday's games.
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But with three games in hand for Wadebridge and Helston, the outcome of Saturday's clash took on even greater importance.
As Godolphin went on to maintain their sizeable lead with a 2-1 victory over Callington, it is going to take something pretty special if Wadebridge are to return to the Peninsula League top flight after a two-year absence.
Manager Mark Menhinick reluctantly accepted Saturday's 2-1 defeat, knowing his side simply didn't turn up against a Helston side buoyed by their Cornwall Senior Cup semi-final win over Newquay in midweek.
He said: "We've got some hard games coming up and we've got to see how good we really are.
"We could have gone second today so it is disappointing to lose. But let's not take anything away from Helston, they are a very good side.
"We've still got an outside chance, but we've got a lot of work to do.
"We still have the Charity Cup semi-final to look forward to so we've achieved a lot.
"Are we good enough? We'll have to wait and see, but we've made it very difficult for ourselves after today."
Menhinick had every right to be disappointed with the performance of his players, especially in the first half.
And he was less than impressed with the manner in which they conceded the two goals on Saturday.
He said: "We didn't turn up in the first half. We were afraid of them. They are on a fantastic run and they are a credit to the league.
"We were very naive, we gave away a silly goal early on. We just didn't create much in the first half.
"It was disappointing to concede another silly goal in the second half, especially after defending so well in recent weeks."
Wadebridge's failure to set the tempo in the opening minutes set the tone for a lacklustre first half display, as they trailed to Tom Russell's sixth minute strike.
Dan Stidwell was allowed time and space to get a cross in to Russell at the back post and the midfielder finished well, despite appeals from the hosts that he'd handled the ball first.
While Helston enjoyed most of the possession in the first half, Tom Vercoe was hardly troubled in the Wadebridge goal.
The only other clear cut opportunity of the first half fell to Helston striker Liam Eddy, but his lob dropped inches wide of the goal.
There was surely more to come from Wadebridge in the second half after a flat opening 45 minutes.
But despite a much brighter start to the second half, the Bridgers found themselves trailing 2-0 after 67 minutes.
Despite Vercoe's efforts in keeping Eddy's effort from a tight angle out, the ball fell Division One West's leading scorer Goldsworthy, who made no mistake in adding to his tally this season, throwing himself into a diving header from six yards out.
Wadebridge refused to give in and substitute Paul Cox gave them a glimmer of hope when he pulled a goal back in the 79th minute.
And with four minutes remaining Sam Gerken, who was outstanding at the back for Wadebridge, was unlucky not to cap his performance with a goal when his 86th minute header dropped just inches wide of the post.
Menhinick said: "You've got to have the belief and today we didn't have it."