Gilbert's reminder inspires Bodmin
Bodmin 2, Downton 0
A REMINDER at half-time from manager Darren Gilbert about the importance of the match they were playing in inspired Bodmin's players to produce a stirring and winning second half display.
Although Glynn Hobbs' bullet of a free kick had given Bodmin a half-time advantage over Wessex League leaders Downton in the FA Vase third round tie, the home side were not at their best, and Gilbert knew it.
He said: "I told them they would never have a better opportunity of going through to the last 32 of the Vase than this.
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"I said I was disappointed with our first half show because our passing game, which is our strength, was just not there.
"We were giving the ball away far too often against a team who were not as good as reports had suggested.
"But our second half performance was fantastic and Stevie Colwell and Olly Brokenshire were sensational in central midfield."
There had been nothing to choose between the sides in a first half lit up only by Hobbs' wonder strike in the 24th minute after Colwell's direct burst towards the penalty area was stopped by a foul.
There was a suggestion that Hobbs curled the ball around the Downton wall but Gilbert said: "It went as straight as an arrow. What a strike."
Downton felt Hobbs was lucky still to be on the pitch following an 11th minute lunge on Joey Dorrington which brought a yellow card from the referee after Bodmin skipper Steve Simmonds had done his best to argue the home striker's case.
Many officials would have been brandishing red immediately but in the Vase the referees are usually of a good standard and this one gave himself time to consider the matter.
Having said that, he booked Brokenshire in the 31st minute when the Bodmin man clearly won the ball. Maybe the scream from Downton's Vince Rusher influenced his decision.
If Bodmin's first half display had been riddled with nerves and mistakes, the second half brought the best out of them, right from the kick-off.
They launched a period of sustained pressure which ultimately led to a 50th minute penalty after Chris Luxton had been tripped by Matt Scott. But Luxton's spot kick was kept out by Downton keeper Charlie Aldridge, who was to emerge as the visitors' star performer.
Luxton almost made amends for his miss within five minutes as he followed up a spilled Lee Doel shot to poke the ball towards an empty net but Aldridge somehow recovered to save.
Downton's one and only clear opportunity of the second half came in the 65th minute when centre half Ben Smith ghosted in at the far post to get on the end of a free kick but Luke Rundle and Tom Chambers threw themselves in front of him to block his attempted shot.
The visitors were briefly lifted by that chance and committed a lot of men forward in search of an equaliser, only to be caught on the counter attack.
Brokenshire picked up possession deep in his own half and powered forward on a 50 yard run before laying the ball off to Luxton on the left edge of the penalty area.
He slid it inside to Neil Slateford who sidestepped a challenge before unleashing a fantastic, unstoppable shot which gave Aldridge no chance.
Rarely has a goal been greeted by such a roar from a Priory Park crowd. As Gilbert said: "Our goals were the best two strikes I have seen in a long time."
Instead of sitting back on their 2-0 lead, Bodmin continued to pour forward, leading veteran coach Terry Huddy to shout: "Whatever happened to seeing the game out by taking the ball into the corners?"
Sam Matthews headed over a Brokenshire free kick and two minutes later, from a similar dead ball situation, Luxton sent a glancing header towards the corner of the net before watching Aldridge produce a great save, tipping the ball away from a corner.
Aldridge also kept out a Luxton shot five minutes from time as Bodmin continued to batter their opponents into submission and the final whistle brought another ovation from the crowd.