Hambly rues missed chances as Camels exit cup

Boss Reg Hambly was ‘disappointed’ that his Camelford side twice surrendered the lead to St Blazey in a pulsating League Cup tie which saw the Green and Blacks eventually prevail on penalties, writes Gareth Davies.

In front of a healthy bank holiday crowd of 186 at Trefrew Park, the home side deservedly led 1-0 at the break thanks to Ed Harrison’s measured low strike. The second stanza saw St Blazey improve and they equalised through substitute Jed Smale’s back-post header.

The game appeared to be heading towards extra-time before Harrison grabbed his and Camelford’s second with a free-kick inside the final minutes. There would be one more twist in the tail during normal time when Blazey were awarded a penalty. The tireless running of Liam Eddy resulted in the former Helston and St Austell striker tumbling under the challenge of home custodian Josh Colwill. The ball was placed on the spot by Callum McGhee, he sent Colwill the wrong way and the game into extra-time.

The additional 30 minutes saw very few chances created and after the score remained locked at 2-2, the winning side would progress into the last eight on penalties. McGhee started the shoot out by missing for Blazey with Harrison giving Camelford the lead. However, from the moment Smale levelled for the visitors, they seized control. Camels’ skipper Adam Sleep blazed horribly over and two saves from veteran Blazey custodian Jason Chapman gave Callum Kenny the chance to tuck home the winning penalty. He duly obliged and his side prevailed 3-1 on penalties.

“I don’t think that anyone could argue with two each after extra-time,” Hambly told Cornwall Sports Media at full time. “It was a good cup tie on a heavy pitch as both sides gave their all I thought. We probably had the better chances – it just needed a finish on one of them – but St Blazey are a good footballing side and I was disappointed that we could not hold on to a lead twice.

“I was disappointed with the second goal as our player – seen by everyone in the ground – was fouled in the corner and they broke away and won a penalty, which the referee and linesman were 10 yards away from. That was very disappointing, but the officials can’t see everything I suppose, and we just have to put up with that.

“Credit to our boys though as we had six or seven regular players out and brought in players from lower leagues to help us. They all did a great job, and I was delighted with them and their application. Somebody must win a penalty shoot-out and unfortunately, it wasn’t us.”

Hambly’s frustration at his side not being able to shut the back door was mirrored by the veteran Trefrew chief’s assessment of his side’s first-half performance when they could only find a way past Chapman once.

Looking positively, though, he also backed his charges to match their promising form displayed in the first half of 2021-22, whilst admitting that despite occupying second place in the league table, runaway leaders Falmouth Town can’t be caught. 

“I said at half-time that we were 1-0 up but it could have been two or three to be honest,” Hambly added. “That usually comes back to bite you and we are a great attacking side – we’ve scored 60 goals this season and they are all spread about pretty evenly. We have five players around the 10 mark which is great but sometimes you want that 30-goal centre forward that does nothing else other than poke the ball in the back of the net. 

“Again, credit to all our lads as we have gone out there today and battled against an in-form team. Hopefully we can get players back and put together a good run in the league.

“I don’t think anyone with half a brain will think that they can put a run together and overtake Falmouth though. They will have to lose a lot more games than anyone else although I presume Liskeard have got games in hand. Liskeard may have a chance, but spots two to five are going to be quite a battle. We need to get our players back, fit and available and I think we can go on a run like we did in the first 15 games.”

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