PENINSULA PREM WEST St Austell 2 Saltash Utd 5

SWPL logoSecond placed Saltash United closed the gap on South West Peninsula Premier West leaders Mousehole to three points with an emphatic victory at Poltair Park.

The five goals the Ashes accumulated on their way to three points made them the division’s top scorers with 54 from 14 games.

Striker Sam Hughes and skipper Dave Barker notched two each, with the other added by Mikey Smith.

The scoreline was harsh on a young St Austell side who had to play most of the second half with 10 men after defender Kieran Powell was harshly shown a straight red card.

The Lillywhites’ goals came from a superb George Marris free kick and a late Chris Kilbey penalty.

From the start, this was an end to end encounter with half chances at both ends before the Ashes broke the deadlock in the 26th minute when predator Hughes was perfectly placed to finish off from close range after a sweeping move.

Cameron Bidgood was presented with an excellent chance to equalise four minutes later when he beat the offside trap but Ashes keeper Ryan Rickard came out to make a fine save.

There was little to choose between the sides but Saltash doubled their advantage after 35 minutes with a coolly taken penalty by Barker before St Austell pulled a goal back minutes later with a Marris left footed free kick from the right which curled into the far corner.

The home side thought they should have had a penalty early in the second half for a handball in a crowded area but the referee waved away their loud appeals.

Their disappointment was compounded in the 53rd minute when Saltash were awarded a penalty as Hughes went down under a challenge from Powell.

It hardly looked a foul but the referee thought otherwise and brandished a straight red card to the Lillywhites’ defender. The only consolation for the home side was that Barker sent his spot kick wide.

The Ashes’ skipper soon made up for it by stabbing the ball over the line from close range after a mad scramble in and around the six yard box to make it 3-1 on 63 minutes.

Two minutes later it was game over as Smith - in his second game back after a long injury lay-off - finished off with confidence after outpacing a couple of defenders.

The Ashes rounded off their scoring in the 77th minute when Neil Slateford’s fine run from the right and cross to the near post was swept home by Hughes.

Smith had a great chance to make it 6-1 in the 86th minute when a Callum Martindale cross set him up with a volley from 15 yards but he fired the ball out of the ground.

Kilbey reduced the arrears two minutes from time with a penalty which was awarded after one of the assistant referees spotted an infringement from the touchline which the referee, who was much closer to the action, appeared not to see.

St Austell J Chapman, J Rogers, B Thomas (Z Smith-Brokenshire 55), M Duff (A Butler 70), H Hann, K Powell, K Bishop, G Marris, M Searle (K Friendship 65), C Kilbey, C Bidgood.

Goals Marris 38, Kilbey 88 pen.

Red card Powell 53

Saltash Utd R Rickard, D Barker, C Martindale, S Leary, S Clearly, H Wilson, N Slateford (C Elkington 84), S Farrant (B Holter 66), S Hughes (R Smith 79), M Smith, D Lewis.

Goals Hughes 26, 77, Barker 35 pen & 63, M Smith 65.

Referee Paul Kempton.

Attendance 182

SWSN Star Sam Hughes (Saltash) – there’s no substitute for quality

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