Football: Carlsberg SW Peninsula League premier division review, August 28
WITH nine players unavailable few would have given St Blazey much hope at Godolphin Way on Saturday.
But if any manager is capable of defying the odds then it is Bobby Oaten.
He's been in a similar situation before, and last season's hugely creditable top half finish, after returning to the club to find only a handful of players left, says all you need to know about Oaten's ability to turn things around.
And if Saturday's evidence is anything to go by it won't be long before St Blazey are climbing that premier division table again.
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Yet again, Oaten has scoured local leagues to strengthen a squad which has lost the likes of Lewis Coombes, Seb Broomfield, George Swain and Dan Evans (all to Truro), and arguably his best find this season could be Jordan Greatrex, a Plymouth-based striker few of us will know much about.
But if he continues to score goals like the one he scored at Godolphin Way on Saturday then Greatrex could make a name for himself in Peninsula League football.
And in pint-sized winger Lewis Hayward, St Blazey are always going to cause sides problems.
But for all St Blazey's endeavour and commitment at the weekend, it still wasn't enough for Oaten's men.
The St Blazey boss said: "In fairness I think we passed the ball better than them and our retention of the ball in the second half was much better than them.
"I felt that we should have at least got a draw today. When you go behind I thought we did well to come back.
"Some of the decisions that went against us were unbelievable.
"I think that anybody who was at this ground will think Godolphin got away with it today.
"I have to be relatively happy, I'm just disappointed we didn't get the three points."
Godolphin were not without their selection problems at the weekend, with Scott Flannigan serving the second game of a four-match ban carried over from last season.
Richard Griffin was unavailable due to work commitments, though the striker returns to the fold this weekend when Godolphin travel to second-placed Exmouth Town, who they beat in the Charity Vase in Ivybridge earlier this month.
Luke Rigby remains sidelined through injury and now there are doubts over Jamie Whigg after the midfielder was carried off after just 23 minutes on Saturday with a recurrence of a knee problem.
And while Derek Martin was delighted with another three points on Saturday, he admits there is still much to work on.
He said: "It was a deserved win but I don't think we were at our best.
"We made hard work of it because our finishing wasn't at our best today. In the first half we should have put the game to bed. We had some good chances and the keeper saved the penalty.
"We were sloppy at both ends which was disappointing."
Nonetheless, victory at the weekend continued Godolphin's fine start to their first ever season in the Peninsula League top flight.
Martin's men, who opened their campaign by beating much fancied titled contenders St Austell, have now collected ten points from a possible 12 in their opening four games.
Understandably, Martin couldn't be happier.
He said: "We're doing really well, we've got ten points on the board and I'm really pleased.
"It's a great start for us after stepping up. There's definitely room for improvement and we need to be finishing our chances if we want to stay at the top end of the table."
Godolphin's failure to take a couple of chances early on came back to bite them when St Blazey took a 14th minute lead through Greatrex's fiercely driven strike into the bottom corner. Greatrex had already given the hosts an early indication of his shooting ability with a stinging drive in the opening minutes. But there was nothing Shaun Semmens in the Godolphin goal could do about Greatrex's next effort.
But two goals in seven minutes turned things around for Godolphin.
First, with 20 minutes played, excellent movement from Aaron Dilley allowed the midfielder to find space on the edge of the box to direct his shot past Blazey goalkeeper Steve Raven.
And then Tim Peacock scrambled the ball home from close range to put the home side 2-1 in front.
Just minutes later Godolphin were presented with an opportunity to add a third goal when Mamsy Sabo handled the ball in the box. Despite St Blazey's protestations that the ball rebounded off Phil Lowry's hand, referee Luke Wilkes pointed to the spot.
However, Mark Rose's effort was disappointing and he saw his spot kick easily saved by Raven.
Godolphin did eventually make it 3-1 when Lowry nudged Ben Nosworthy off the ball before cleverly lifting the ball over the out rushing Raven.
To their credit St Blazey didn't give up and they made things interesting when Ashley Piggott's effort from the edge of the area squirmed past Semmens in the Godolphin goal.
Blazey, who are at Brislington in an FA Cup preliminary round tie on Saturday, pushed for an equaliser but even with five minutes added time Godolphin comfortably held on for the win.