Paulton Rovers 3 Mousehole 3: Paulton Rovers were the engineers of their own downfall as they allowed a strong, yet limited Mousehole team back into this match. Paulton should really have won.

A pitch inspection took place on Friday, ensuring that Mousehole did not have a wasted journey from Cornwall. Thankfully we have had a 24-hour dry period, which, along with excellent work by the ground staff at Rovers, meant that Winterfield Road looked in excellent nick.

In an even opening period, Dan Cottle sent a header wide of a post for Rovers, while Mousehole’s Callum McOnie had a shot held by Frankie Phillips. Then Cottle’s good work allowed Jamarni Langlais (starting for the first time) to fire a shot just wide of the post. But after fifteen minutes of sparring, Phillips saved well from Mousehole’s Joshua Bisett but was unable to hold on to the ball and Tim Nixon was on hand to side foot the ball into the net from six yards.

It gave the Seagulls a somewhat undeserved lead, which Paulton soon put right. Rovers’ Ed Butcher, in full flight, was brought crashing to the ground by a Mousehole defender, who somehow escaped punishment. From Martin Lenihan’s excellent pinpoint freekick, Dan Restorick, unmarked, rose to head firmly home to equalise.

Strangely, from this point, the Cornish team seemed to take some control. One fine cross field move by them resulted in Morgan Lewis shooting wide. Then, following a misplaced pass in the Seagulls’ defence, Dan McBeam took control of the ball and fed it through to Langlais. Langlais beat a player and drove an unstoppable shot past Oliver Chenowith in the Mousehole goal to give Paulton the lead. It was an exceptional strike, a wonderful goal and will probably be at the top of Paulton’s ‘goal of the season’ list.

However, Mousehole continued to play a compact and progressive game and Rovers defence had to be on their guard throughout. Captain Neil Martin, Restorick, Josh Crispin and Will Armstrong were all doing so well that, in frustration, a Seagulls player aggressively and unnecessarily smashed a ball that was already out of play, out of the ground – narrowly missing the heads of spectators nearby. The referee chose to take no action.

The second half saw Martin and his co defenders on top, although one searing shot from Maxwell Hill hit the Rovers crossbar. David O’Hare and Lenihan were working hard, tackling and winning the ball in midfield. Langlais, who was proving to be a problem for the Seagulls’ defence, passed to Butcher who shot over the bar, then showed some good footwork himself before forcing Chenoweth to save with his legs.

Butcher was becoming more influential and one terrific run out of defence saw him completely taken out by an opponent. Again, there was no punishment. Then, in the 65th minute, following a Rovers corner, O’Hare confidently struck a cross shot beyond Chenoweth to make it 3-1 and put the home team seemingly in control.

But after another fine Butcher run, finishing with a cross shot that skimmed off the Mousehole cross bar, things seemed to take a turn for the worse. Firstly, in the 71st minute, referee Lamport, best described as ‘inconsistent’, booked Cottle for a challenge, but then 3 minutes later, sent the same player off the pitch for a second ‘foul’. The Paulton faithful let Mr Lamport know their feelings in no uncertain terms.

Mousehole sensed the home team’s anguish and produced a succession of attacks. Paulton did not help themselves by repeatedly, in clearing their lines, giving possession straight back to their opponents. A period of calm possession football was needed.

The Seagulls clawed a goal back as, from a suspiciously offside position, they gained a corner on the right. An almighty scramble ended with poor Restorick conceding an own goal, as keeper Phillips collided with a post. He required lengthy treatment. Then Mousehole equalized after another melee. This time the ball broke to Tallan Mitchell who drove it decisively past a still groggy Phillips.

After eight minutes of injury time manager Kyle Tooze was sent off for making his feelings clear.

Paulton man of the match: Jamarni Langlais – led the line tirelessly and scored a brilliant goal.

Man of the Match Jamarni Langlais
(Paulton Rovers Football Club)

Noel Avis