Foxhole Stars 5 North Petherwin 2

FOXHOLE took control of the ECPL title race as they outlasted North Petherwin in a seven-goal thriller to go top of the table.

In a fiercely competitive game in the Clay Country, Petherwin took the lead 20 minutes in when Brandon Stott’s corner was glanced on by Reece Goodman for Nathan Farrer to half-volley home. 

Foxhole instantly hit back with a long ball over the defence which their quick winger Cam Bidgood superbly lofted over the advancing Tom Coles. 

Both sides had chances to score with Petherwin missing two of the half’s best chances which included Josh Sanders hitting the bar. 

Foxhole were lucky to have all 11 players on the pitch on several occasions during the opening 45 as the tense affair heated up in front of a hostile home support. 

The second half started at a slower pace but was Foxhole who scored first with a superb left-footed drive from Luke Damerell from outside of the box as Petherwin failed to clear their lines properly. 

It was then Petherwin’s turn to instantly respond on 56 minutes with Ben Sharpe getting to the by-line and cutting it back to Sanders who jinked calmly past one defender, then ignoring the away bench cries of shoot, jinked past another defender, to fortunately score after scuffing his left-footed shot into the corner. 

Petherwin then conceded from a set-piece as a hopeful ball by Bidgood was missed by all the defenders with the ball squeezing inside the back post.

Influential Petherwin skipper Joe Reeve then had to make way due to injury after an unpunished dangerous tackle, and within minutes Petherwin found themselves 4-2 down with an identical goal conceded from a set piece, this time scored by sub Brodie Mitchell.

Petherwin did rally and did strike back with ten to play from Ben Sharpe, however the home linesman disallowed for offside.

Sub Kev Hatch then went close but an excellent save from home keeper James Prynn kept Petherwin out, and from pressing to get back into the game, the Badgers were caught on the break with a superb finish from Aaron Beresford.

Manager Nick Heywood felt his side more than matched their hosts for long spells, but admitted the Stars were worthy winners.

He said: “It was a hard one to take, Foxhole are the best side in the division with many players who really could play at a higher level, but we came here and matched them and arguably were the better side in the first half and should have led. 

“We didn’t get going in the second half and if you make mistakes you will get punished against sides like that and we did. So based on that, they deserved the win!

“But what I’ve said to the lads is that we need to put this into perspective. We only came up to the ECPL this season, so to be up there challenging with the favourites shows us how far we have come!”