Curtis Damerell recovered from a missed penalty to score at the second attempt and earn Torpoint Athletic a first Western League point in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Cadbury Heath, writes Tom Howe.
A crowd numbering more than 130 watched on as the game, played in red hot conditions, proceeded to turn on a sixpence inside the space of just four fiery first-half minutes.
With 25 on the clock, Ryan Richards’ header was stopped by a hand, prompting referee Andrew Glanville to point at the spot, with Damerell proceeding to strike the crossbar from 12 yards.
Moments later, at the other end of the ground, a free-kick swung in from the right eventually bounced into the path of William Obeng, who unleashed an effort into the far corner to open the scoring.
Damerell grabbed the opportunity to redeem himself three minutes before the break, sending Jordan Schofield the wrong way and levelling the scoreline, before telling Cornwall Sports Media: “There was a little bit of doubt but I will always back myself.
“I wanted to make up for it. I knew I was going the same way with it, I just took a lot more off it. It was tough in the heat but I think we started the game well. We got the ball down and played quite well considering the pitch is really bobbly. We got a penalty but I missed it and that dropped us a bit. Our heads went down and we then went and conceded.
“I felt bad but once we conceded we picked ourselves straight back up and got on top of the game. We had another penalty just before half-time. It was nice to make up for [the earlier miss] and to go in at 1-1. At half-time we felt that we were the better side but in the second-half we didn’t really get going or create much.
“Considering today’s heat and with people missing, it is still a point on the board. Hopefully we can kick on now, get some of our influential boys back in and get some more points on the board. We are not kidding anyone. It’s going to be a tough season but, when we work as a group, I think we can beat anyone.”
The 2021-22 Golden Boot winner, who helped fire Torpoint to a South West Peninsula League and Cup double, sat out the team’s season opening 5-1 loss against Mousehole due to suspension.
He returned for the 1-1 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round draw against local rivals Millbrook, before putting in another 90 minute shift in the subsequent 1-0 replay win at Jenkins Park three days later.
In a quirk of the fixture list, last weekend’s visit of the Heathens was the first test Torpoint have had to face from outside of Cornwall since their step up to Western League Premier Division football and many more lay on the horizon as they go in search of a first win at step five.
Serial winners over the past few seasons, Dean Cardew’s men are unlikely to have it so one-sided this campaign, but therein lies a challenge that Damerell and his team-mates are prepared to hit head first.
“We just have to relax a little bit more,” explained Damerell, who scored an eye-watering 54 times last term. “We have had a couple of seasons where we have had it all our own way and we need to learn that, when it is not going our way, we need to chill out. We are going to concede but we cant drop our heads.
“Playing up front with Ryan is great. He scored loads of goals last year. We link up really well and get on well which is massive for two strikers. We need to be creating a little bit more but it is early on and we have players coming back in, some new signings too and we are all still trying to gel.
“It is going to take time. Coming off the back of the league and cup last year, we are confident and we are not going to come here and be rolled over as such. It is all going to be a learning curve, understanding when to sit in at the right times and not go gung ho, get caught out and go a couple of goals behind.”
• East meets west this evening as last season’s respective South West Peninsula League champions, Torpoint Athletic and Falmouth Town, face off at Bickland Park (August 17, 7.45 pm).
[Featured image: Matt Friday / Cornwall Sports Media]