(SATURDAY) SWPL PREMIER WEST                                                            Launceston 6 Bodmin Town 0

DOUBLES from Mike Steele, Mark Elvidge and Lewis Young gave Launceston their first home win of the season as they dismantled Bodmin Town 6-0 at Pennygillam on Saturday.

With both sides in the bottom four, a win was crucial, but it was the Clarets that got the all-important points to remain five points clear of second bottom Sticker who produced a shock victory over Newquay.

Clarets boss Neil Price named the same side that produced a season’s best performance in a brilliant game at Liskeard Athletic a fortnight earlier, but had a strong three-man bench in the shape of Lewis Young, Andy Watkins and Denham Guild.

On a bitterly cold afternoon at Pennygillam, the 78 that did brave the elements only had to wait nine minutes for the hosts to take the lead.

Mike Steele’s 20-yard free-kick from the left side of the box was hit low and somehow found its way into Piran Jones’ bottom corner.

Bodmin striker Joe Munday left the Clarets recently to return to his former club, and the teenager was denied an equaliser two minutes later.

Left winger Sam Eccleston sent in a superb cross that Munday headed back towards the near post from the centre of goal, but Lewis Slade got down brilliantly to tip it onto the post.

Launceston went close to a second on the quarter hour as Steele’s free-kick from a similar position on the right saw him slip, but Mark Elvidge touched it towards the near post, but Jones got down well to tip it behind.

Bodmin then enjoyed plenty of possession before midfielder Louie Taylor was booked for a poor tackle on home centre-half Archie Wall. 

On 25 minutes a cross from the right by Josh Chidley somehow evaded everybody at the back post, before Taylor was perhaps fortunate shortly after not to be sent off by referee Murat Kaymaz for another mistimed tackle on Dan Clifton, but a stern talking to was the punishment.

The rest of the half passed off without much incident before visiting skipper Cam Bidgood curled a shot just over from 15 yards in the dying stages after a good lay-off by Munday.

While the first half was attritional, the second 45 was anything but.

Denham Guild was brought on in central midfield at the break for the hosts in place of Wall, and the Clarets were celebrating a second on 53 minutes.

Steele’s corner in from the right saw Clifton have a shot blocked, but Elvidge was in the right place to guide a shot inside the far post from 15 yards.

Bodmin boss Simon Minnett soon brought on Kai Foster and Will Elliott for Ash Winkworth and Eccleston, before the Clarets missed a glorious chance to make it three.

Clifton stole the ball off centre-back Nick Salop, and although Jones was quickly out to deny him with a brilliant block, Guild attempted to place the ball over Jones, but put it past the post.

Visiting centre-half Callum Holder put a decent chance at the near post from a corner, before Launceston took off Chidley for the fit-again Andy Watkins on 58 minutes.

Within a couple of minutes there was huge controversy as Salop whacked the ball against Elliott which allowed Guild, who was returning from an offside position, to fire home, but despite it appearing to be a clear error by the linesman, Mr Kaymaz went with the offside call.

However it didn’t make much difference as within 30 seconds, the marauding Guild was taken out inside the box by right-back Keelan England, and Steele stepped up to plant a perfect penalty into the top right-hand corner.

Bodmin went close on 65 minutes as midfielder Dominic Murray saw his shot from 15 yards deflected up and on to the crossbar by Beardsmore.

Sub Lewis Young was introduced a couple of minutes later, and within five minutes had helped himself to a double.

First, an exquisite ball over the top found the former Torpoint man, who rounded Jones and slotted in on 70 minutes, before his second arrived four minutes later as he headed home after the goalkeeper had parried Watkins’ deflected shot up in the air.

Jones then stayed down and was replaced by Salop in goal for the final 15, and he excelled himself.

First, he somehow clawed out Elvidge’s goal-bound effort from Guild’s cutback, and then denied Ham and Young.

But the sixth was forthcoming and arrived in injury-time as Elvidge found the far corner from 15 yards.

Launceston won’t have an easier second half all season, but if they play like that then mid-table could be forthcoming as the campaign goes on.

Launceston are at home on Saturday (2.15pm) against a Mullion side only two points ahead.

LAUNCESTON: Lewis Slade; Mark Wilson, Jude Jago, Archie Wall, Declan Woodgate; Jacob Ham, George Beardsmore, Mike Steele (capt); Josh Chidley, Mark Elvidge, Dan Clifton. Subs: Lewis Young, Andy Watkins, Denham Guild.

Launceston man of the match: Mike Steele.