Joint-manager Matt Hayden was left full of praise for the ‘togetherness’ that saw Bodmin Town to a 4-1 win over St Blazey on Bank Holiday Monday, thus extending their unbeaten record to some eight games, writes Tom Howe.
Town’s rediscovered resilience saw them absorb plenty of pressure from their visitors in the early stages, with memories of the recent 6-0 humbling by the same opposition still fresh in their minds.
Having weathered the storm, they hit Blazey with two quick fire goals at the end of the first-half with Isaac McCue and George Tucker on the scoresheet. However, old habits could well have set in when, after seeing a penalty saved, Callum McGhee netted to halve the deficit early in the second.
This Bodmin side have come a long way in the ten weeks since their thrashing at Blaise Park though, and were rewarded for sticking to their guns with strikes from Jake Miller and Finn Harrison securing a welcome win – a seventh in eight games with the other a draw – against Hayden’s former side.
“It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination and we were probably lucky to go in at 2-0,” said Hayden at the final whistle. “Blazey bombarded us in that first-half to be fair. They were relentless, putting balls into the channels and constantly trying to turn the back four.
“We said our back four and the ‘keeper need to be switched on at all times because they will play a couple passes in midfield and clip everything forward. It was a completely different game to the last [against Wadebridge Town] when we came up against a team that wanted to play and were really well drilled.
“Today we faced a team who were a bit more old school, wanting to clip and pin you in, and wanting to get Liam Eddy in all the time because he is on fire. Adam [Robathan] pulled off some great saves and we scored two in quick succession, hitting them on the counter. We played them at their own game, soaking up the pressure and having the quality to pick the right passes at the right time.
“The transition from front to back had to be quick. We told the boys that Blazey would come out flying [in the second-half] and we maybe fell asleep for the penalty and for the goal. All four of our goals were on the transition though, all taken quickly and keeping a real quality about us as we were doing it.”
Bodmin’s triumph takes them above Callington Town, another of Hayden’s former sides, and into seventh spot in South West Peninsula Premier West, a far cry from the lowly standing of a team who couldn’t buy a point let alone a win not that long ago.
“A few weeks ago these boys would have crumbled,” continued Hayden. “Now they have a togetherness, an understanding of how to play and their work rate is unbelievable to see. Adam is man of the match because he has pulled off some unbelievable saves, including the penalty save. If that had gone in, all of a sudden our backs are against the wall.
“We were able to play exactly the same XI, probably for the first time this season. When I came in I said this was going to take time, that we needed consistency and to get to a point where we stop needing to bring people in to cover gaps. We needed to baulk the squad up and now we are seeing the same boys through the door each and every week.
“It’s all that we needed. It brings a togetherness and the boys start working for each other. You could see that today. We have got a system of play now and can show that we have different sides to our game. We are at home now for the rest of the season. Sixth will be a stretch because we need Dobwalls to drop points if we are going to get anything near that but, if we keep going on this run, we can still finish seventh.
“A few boys are carrying niggles but we are managing it correctly. To finish the season at a poor level and with a depleted squad would have been horrible but to see it going as it is is amazing. Hopefully we carry on right the way through to the end of the season and end on a high. That is all we can ask for now.”
If social media is anything to go by, the team that everyone seems to loves to hate has fallen in love with itself once again – and it shows.
• Hayden and the team return to action at home to Newquay on Wednesday evening (7.30 pm) before concluding the 2021-22 season with further home ties against Wendron United, Sticker and St Dennis.
[Featured image: Colin Bradbury / Cornwall Sports Media]