Salcombe outplay Watcombe to make Dartmouth Cup semis
Salcombe on the defensive
Salcombe Town 4,
Watcombe Wanderers Reserves 1
Salcombe progressed to the semi-finals of the divisional cup with what was in the end a comfortable victory over Watcombe.
Manager Phil Greaves had the unusual luxury of being able to name an unchanged team, and after an excellent victory over Totnes in the previous round would have been anticipating a similar performance.
Frustratingly, though, Town struggled to get going on the heavy pitch.
With neither side creating much in the opening half hour, Watcombe came closest to scoring when an excellent overhead kick was tipped over the bar superbly by home keeper Ewan Grewal. Town were struggling to get going and were not helped by giving away a number of silly free kicks, which disrupted any chance to get their rhythm going.
With 35 minutes on the clock, the breakthrough goal finally came when Charlie Barnes showed superb skill to control a long clearance and play in top scorer Ashley Yeoman.
With Salcombe still struggling to get their passing game going, they looked to hold on to their lead until the break and not give Watcombe any chances of a quick equaliser.
With Greaves reading the riot act at half-time, Salcombe started the second half with more purpose, creating by far the better chances.
The most controversial incident of the game came 10 minutes into the half, when a Watcombe player pulled up with a hamstring injury. With the ball in their goalkeeper’s hands and the opportunity to kick it out of play, he instead cleared it to Kieran Stallard, who, unaware of the injured player, who had by now left the pitch, played in Barnes. With the referee waving play on, he beat the keeper from close range.
Watcombe were incensed that Salcombe had not kicked the ball out of play and the game threatened to boil over, but after a Watcombe player was yellow carded – something that would prove costly later on – the game continued.
With the Watcombe players aggrieved, the tackles began to fly in, and when Edd Tymon was taken out with a thigh-high challenge, Watcombe were reduced to 10 men after their central defender received his second yellow.
Watcombe were now having to push forward to get something out of the game, meaning gaps began to appear at the back. Town, though, spurned a number of chances to make the game safe.
There were still scares at the other end, however, and Grewal, whose handling had been superb all game, had to tip another goalbound effort over the bar.
The killer goal for Salcombe finally came in the 70th minute when Barnes, once again, beat the offside trap to create the chance for Yeoman to grab his second. Two minutes later the final Salcombe goal came when Harrison Ward smashed in an unstoppable shot from just inside the penalty area.
With the game entering the final stages, Town brought on Duncan Scales for his final game before he emigrates to New Zealand, and he came very close to signing off with a goal.
The final action of the game, though, came at the other end in bizarre circumstances. When Luke Milton went down on the edge of the area with a head injury, everyone assumed he had been awarded a free kick. The referee, though, gave a drop ball, and when a Watcombe player was subsequently adjudged to have been fouled, a penalty was awarded, which was duly converted, bringing the game to a close.
Salcombe have no game this week, returning to league action on March 24 with an away match at Buckland Athletic thirds, with kick-off at 2.30pm.
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