Having drunk in the ‘last chance saloon’ earlier this season, a mentality change has since seen Shaun Vincent’s Callington Town transform into one of the South West Peninsula League’s most feared opponents, writes Tom Howe.
Vincent joined the Pastymen in September, rejoining former St Blazey compatriot Matt Hayden who subsequently left a month later with Callington having won just once in 14 Premier West outings.
Quite incredibly, the side from Marshfield Park haven’t lost in the league since, with their last defeat coming against Sticker on October 5 and Saturday’s slender 1-0 win at Newquay their tenth game unbeaten.
Gino Garside’s second-half strike proved the difference between the two sides at Mount Wise, with back-to-back wins against top six opposition leaving Callington only outside of the top ten on goal difference.
“We know we can play football and create chances but it’s not all roses in this game sometimes,” said Vincent at full-time. “If you want to be a good side, you have to show a bit of character. It was tough to get the lads to change their mentality because I think they felt a bit defeated [at first].
“You come to places like we have the last two weeks…Camelford and Newquay are both sides around the top. You know you are going to get quality from them and that you have got to win battles all over the pitch. You have got to defend solidly and play with a bit of character.
“In both games we have kept a clean sheet and anybody watching again today would have said that we deserved it. Luke [Cloke] has missed two great chances early in the game and the goalkeeper has made a great save from him early on.
“In the second half he has gone through one-on-one and had a header off the post so we have created enough chances to win the game. After what felt like hanging on for dear life in those last ten minutes, the reality is that I felt we deserved [the win].”
The form table has Callington behind only Falmouth Town and Liskeard Athletic over the last ten games, a period which began under the radar but is now anything but following big wins over some of the more fashionable sides at step six level.
“We couldn’t get the players going and fitness was an issue,” recalled Vincent. “We have addressed that and told them they’re on their last chance saloon. If we don’t make it right now, as a group they are going to have to go their separate ways.
“That shook them into life and we are getting little bits of quality out of them. The resilience is there, these boys will die for any shirt that they wear but can we get that little bit of quality and character into our performances?
“The players were with Matt and I originally. He has decided to go and I have brought in Ryan Fice and Brad Richardson. They have been around the block and are giving the players an insight of how they need to be and getting them as fit as they possibly can without burning out.
“We are ten unbeaten, on the back of wins away at Camelford and Newquay, and that might turn a few heads. People might turn around and say, ‘can they sustain it’ and ‘can they do it next year’? That is the challenge we have got to set ourselves to be honest.”
[Featured image: Colin Bradbury / Cornwall Sports Media]