Minehead Town (0) 0: 4 (2) ROVERS
County Sports Cup quarter-final played at Irnham Road, Minehead, Sunday, January 18.
Two goals from recent signing Levi Edwardson and singles from Sam Jones and Bailey Jason-Ryan saw Rovers into the last four of the cup they won at Taunton last April, writes Steve Birley.
The home side presented a real threat and made Rovers work hard – especially before the opening goal – a superb 15-yard strike by Sam Jones after the ball had been part cleared.
Prior to the 25th minute opener Rovers and twice hit the woodwork, had one cleared off the line and forced a superb save out of the Minehead gloves man.
The home side battled well, defended in depth and tried manfully to launch counter attacks. However, despite a number of the team being ‘below par’ there were some notable stand-out individual performances, none more so than that of the youngest player in the team Connor Pengelly who was immense from start to finish in the heart of the Rovers midfield. Captain Tom Badcott was another who produced an accomplished shift, though he bagged the wrath of coach Clive Jones for ‘over-playing’ at times in the back four (but then any critical comments sent Baddsie’s way is arguably because of the extraordinary high standards the young lad plays too – and play he can – and does!)
After going one up Rovers settled and Oliver Elsworthy, down the right and Philip Andrew and Josh Mclean made real progress down the left. Owen Buxton and Sam Jones battled in the middle third whilst, at the back the afore mentioned Mclean, Dan Foweraker, captain tremendous and Ryan Harder, forged yet another solid wall that left gloves man Harrison Burton with precious little to do. The lead was doubled with a goal of stunning quality. Ollie Elsworthy began the move and his pass into the feet of Jason Bailey-Ryan saw him take the ball on a few yards before crossing with the outside of his boot to lift the ball to the far post where strike partner Levi Edwardson arrived to out jump his marker and nod the ball into the net.
Almost immediately Minehead struck back and it needed a class save by Burton who then saw the ball heading for the net only for skipper Badcott to clear off the line!
The third goal did not arrive until the hour mark and if goal number two was special then goal number three was a revelation! Badcott had the ball at centre back and he found Elsworthy who ran the ball at, and past, his marking full back before crossing for Edwardson to first control, swivel and volley into the net!
The fourth goal came from a well-struck Josh Mclean corner that saw the ball delivered to the far post where Jason-Ryan headed it home and a place in the last four, in no doubt after that second goal, was confirmed. Jordan Biss and Ollie Searle both joined the action from the bench and both made contributions.
Full credit to Minehead; they do look a good solid team who certainly gave Rovers plenty to think about – especially before the opening goal. Rovers were not at their best in the first half and anyone within half-a-mile of the away dressing room would have heard just how unhappy ‘gaffer’ Clive Jones was with his troops. The upshot of that interval ‘chat’ was that the paint was still peeling itself off the walls long after the team had left later in the day!
The plus side of this game, result and performance is that the team have performed under-par (with the exception of the odd two or three players) and kept yet another clean sheet whilst also sealing a semi-final berth which will see them now play either Staplegrove or Galmington Dragons later in the season.
Team: Harrison Burton, Dan Foweraker, Tom Badcott (captain), Josh Mclean, Ryan Harder, Ollie Elsowrthy, Sam Jones, Owen Buxton, Connor Pengelly, Phil Andrew, Bailey Jason-Ryan, Levi Edwardson, Ollie Searle, Jordan Biss.
Man of the Match: On this occasion that’s a ‘no-brainer’. Connor Pengelly, the youngest player in the side and able to play at Under-15 level, was simply outstanding and it was his first half shift that was highlighted by the boss during that half-time rant. The youngster got stuck in, put his foot in when needed, kept the passing simple, rarely lost the ball, and worked his socks off – well done young Connor.
<em>Touchline thoughts: “Yep, under-par, especially given the high standards that Clive demands. That said this scribe was once again impressed with much of the play – clearly young Connor (Pengelly) was the stand-out player. There were others who I thought put shifts in – and yes, I know two or three had spent the night before attempting to be beer drinkers – Dan Foweraker has been out of action for a long time and he was solid in that back line, it’s good to have the young lad back. Baddsie was – well Baddsie, he always seems to be carrying on his shoulders the potential pain of a goal being conceded and so does his upmost to ensure it does not happen! There was also another super shift (in my humble opinion) from Josh Mclean who really does give us something extra in this particular Rovers team in 2015. It’s a fine squad that, based on a 4-0 win when playing on a weather hit surface and with a few under the weather (!), and winning 4-0, well, that suggests we are on the right road.”
Next up is SUNDAY JANUARY 25 and a home game with BRIDGWATER VPR.