Illogan sink champions to go level at the top
Illogan RBL 3, Falmouth Town 0
ILLOGAN came out victorious in Saturday's top of the table clash after comfortably seeing off leaders Falmouth Town 3-0 at Oxland Parc, writes Scott Haley.
The defending champions may point to the absence of some key players, but in truth were poor throughout as the home side dominated possession and took advantage of some shambolic defending to run out deserved winners.
The result saw Illogan join Town at the top of the Jolly's Combination League where it is all to play for, with only five points currently separating the top eight.
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Illogan manager Mike Pascoe was delighted with his team's performance, and felt it was the perfect way for his players to bounce back after conceding eight in their previous league match at Mullion a fortnight earlier.
He added: "We knew they've been dropping points recently and I told the boys to get in their faces and put them under pressure early on, which worked as the first two goals came from their mistakes.
"It was a really good display and a fantastic three points."
Despite the result, Town player manager Paul Murray was in good spirits after the full time whistle and demanded a response from his team this weekend.
He said: "I never like to lose but I'm pleased with the way we battled for 90 minutes and who knows, if we had had a full team out there it may have been different.
"We're still the champions and we need to prove that by bouncing back this weekend against Pendeen. There's still a long way to go."
Falmouth looked second best throughout the first half, which saw Murray substitute himself after 35 minutes to try and restore some shape and organisation into a team that quite frankly looked anything but champions.
Illogan dominated possession, and the only surprise when they took the lead was the fact that it took nearly half an hour for them to do so.
Dominic Pullen outmuscled Falmouth debutant Morgan Davids off the ball and found Jason Roberts 25 yards out, whose driven shot arrowed in to the bottom corner, giving Town keeper Ben Manley no chance.
And they should have had a second four minutes later when Manley could only parry a Pullen shot into the path of Jay Smith who blazed over from six yards, with the goal gaping when it looked easier to score.
Illogan pressed high up the pitch, putting pressure on the Town defence at every opportunity and it was no surprise that when they got their second, it came from a defensive error.
Moments after Town's Jason Roberts had headed their best chance of the half over the bar, a Matt Roberts back pass was completely miss-kicked by Manley on the edge of the area, giving Simon Ellis the easiest of tasks to tap in to the empty net.
It was a comical end to a first half dominated by the home side, and although Falmouth improved in the second period, they never really looked like getting breaking down the Illogan defence, with Sam Fenton and Sam Emery solid throughout.
Illogan pushed for a third with Pullen, Smith and Ellis all coming close, and they thought they finally had it with 15 minutes remaining.
Pullen's close range effort from an Ashley Kemp corner looked to have crossed the line before being cleared. However, referee Tim Reeks thought otherwise and waved play on, much to the anger of the Illogan bench.
But their anger soon turned to joy when an Ellis corner was headed home by substitute James Martin in the closing stages, putting the icing on the cake and a well-deserved three points for Pascoe's men.