Depressing cup exit leaves boss in disbelief
WHATEVER your opinion of Truro City boss Steve Massey – and many will be revelling in his present travails – it was hard not to feel some measure of sympathy for him in the aftermath of his side's FA Cup defeat at Brislington.
He had just watched his struggling side crash out of the competition and forfeit some £4,500 in much needed prize money, as they went down to a fourth successive defeat.
And this was against a team playing two levels below City in the Western League's premier division, in which the Bristol-based outfit occupy no more than a mid-table position.
In truth, City were again proved wanting on the day and Brislington were good value for their win which took them into the third qualifying round for the first time in their history.
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And perhaps it was this reality which saw Massey cut such a forlorn figure at the end of a game in which City twice led, but then contrived to concede three poor goals.
After a brief visit to the changing room, he wanted time alone as he contemplated what he, and a healthy contingent of disbelieving City fans, had just witnessed.
And he like them must have thought it was not good enough.
He looked distraught and shell shocked as he wandered alone outside the ground before returning to talk with his management team of Graeme Kirkup, Glynn Hooper and Deba Sidhu, before spending time on the pitch with chairman Pete Masters.
Some thought he was about to quit or be axed by Masters, who demands success and is known to have been unhappy at recent results, which have seen City slip into a relegation battle at the wrong end of the Calor League premier division.
But thankfully, there was to be no knee-jerk reaction to a bad day, with both men pledging to fight on and turn the club's playing fortunes around.
Massey though still looked haunted and stunned by what he had witnessed when he spoke to me well after the game had finished and admitted he was at a "loss for words" on what had gone wrong.
He said: "I just can't believe we lost that game. It feels like a dream. It was a fantastic opportunity. No disrespect to Brislington, who I wish the best in the next round, but it was a game we should quite easily have won.
"At half time I thought we looked really comfortable and in total control. I never thought we would lose that game.
"It is easy to blame the players but it just keeps happening time after time – a lack of concentration. But there is no doubt the players have gone out there and given 100 per cent.
"We just switch off and allow teams to get back in the game and bully us. Every time they delivered the ball into the box they looked dangerous."
And he warned that the time had come to make changes in his underperfoming squad.
"It is not to say they won't get there but they are not learning quickly enough. They have got the talent but we can't keep protecting them or else it will go from bad to worse.
"If I had picked a different team would it have made any difference? I don't think so.
"Perhaps we have given the players a bit too long to show they can play at this standard. They are a great set of lads and you could not wish to have a nicer bunch, but perhaps that may be the problem. We are determined to turn it around and I am confident we can."
Brislington 3 Truro City 2
When Cody Cooke blasted City into a tenth minute lead with a superb strike it looked as if this was going to be the day they turned their season around.
It should have been the signal for City to go on and reach the third qualifying round of the FA Cup for only the third time and earn a precious £4,500 in prize money in the process.
Instead, 80 minutes later City were out of the cup leaving yet more questions to answer for manager Steve Massey and his management team.
It was hard not to come to the obvious conclusion that City were just not up the job as the home side booked a trip to Weston-super-Mare in the next round.
Brislington seemed to want it more in the second half and a City team, which appears to lack leaders on the pitch, were unable to match the desire of the home side.
It had all began so well for the visitors with a cracking 25-yard strike from Cooke.
Defensively though City looked frail and Ollie Chenoweth had already produced a great save to deny Alex Lambert, before he was beaten when poor marking from a Mike Rimmer corner allowed Nejekil Plummer to head home at the near post.
City however, were back in front immediately through Neil Slateford's low drive.
And as the half wore on, City seeemed to gain a measure of control as the game calmed down after such a frantic opening.
But after the break, Brislington took just seven minutes to equalise when central defender Danny Barwood scored after City failed to deal effectively with a corner.
Slateford had a goal ruled out for offside in a nervy finale before some more non existent City defending nine minutes from time gave Rimmer far too much space in the area and he stepped inside before slotting the ball home to send the home fans wild.
City huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, but there was no way back on yet another depressing day for the club's supporters, many of who made the trip to Bristol hoping for so much better.
BRISLINGTON: Humphries; Godsell, Peters, Hughes (capt), Barwood, Gifford, Knight, Rimmer, Plummer (Charles 75), Lambert (Peart 85), Meacham. Subs (no used): Dyer, Greenwood.
Yellow card: Rimmer (65).
CITY: Chenoweth; Cooke, Kendall, White, Swain (Evans 87); Slateford, Broad, Andrew, Copp (Brokenshire 70), Eddy, Afful. Subs not used: Sims, Broomfield, Goldsworthy.
Yellow cards: None.
Goals: Cooke (10) 0-1, Plummer (21) 1-1, Slateford (23) 1-2, Barwood (52) 2-2, Rimmer (81) 3-2.
Referee: Mr Rushworth.