Rivals meet at high noon
TOWNSFOLK will pick sides this Good Friday as rivals Godolphin Atlantic and Newquay AFC prepare for battle at high noon.
The G Army hold all the cards having beaten the Peppermints twice this season, 1-0 in the traditional South West Peninsula League (SWPL) clash on Boxing Day and 3-0 in the Walter C Parson League Cup second round in October, each at Newquay’s Mount Wise.
However, with both sides in the middle of a rebuild, Jamie Lowry’s Godolphin have picked up only five points from a possible 39 since the festive victory, and have lost eight games on the bounce. Tony Mackellar’s Newquay have faired slightly better, taking 11 points from a possible 36, as they edge themselves away from the sole relegation spot.
Depending on other results, a win for Newquay could seal their Premier Division status for another season, although victory for Godolphin would relieve some of their own pressure and keep the chasing pack off their backs.
Lowry said: “My dad was heavily involved with Newquay when we were younger. We used to live on the back of the football club so I have got some good memories. He used to let me and my brother go and have a kick around on the pitch and we used to be up there watching all the games. That was how we were brought up.
“In more recent years, I don’t want to curse it, but I haven’t been involved in a losing side for two or three years. It is a nice rivalry. A lot of the players know each other and it is a chance for the young players to gain some experience. With the young local lads it will have more bite than in recent years having been not so local. I am looking forward to it and hopefully we will have a good turn out, some nice weather and a good day.”
Mackellar added: “It has always been a rivalry more so off the pitch than on. What people forget is that a lot of the players and management know each other. Regardless of what is said, we are all friends. Off the pitch it is probably made a lot worse than it actually is. Is that a bad thing? Probably not. That is what makes the rivalry - you just have to have a little laugh at it.”
Utilising his role as head football coach at Bodmin College and the impressive youth set-up at the club, Lowry has called upon a selection of superstar teenagers to aid his team of late as he beckons in the next generation of Godolphin’s Army. Indeed, the G will be fresher of the two teams having had a 10 day break since their 4-1 loss at Plymouth Parkway.
He said: “We started off brightly against Parkway and took the lead but, as it has been going lately, we made silly mistakes and are getting punished for them. There were some positives though, Charlie Rooney who is only 16 started and did really well. Young Tiago Soures did well and we had another lad, George Ellis, who is only 17 that scored.
“George is in my team at Bodmin College and has been doing really well. I have been waiting for the right time to get him involved. He is a really quick striker who creates a lot of chances with his pace and direct style. We had quite a lot of players out so we got the young players in there. They have done really well in training so hopefully we can keep them around.”
The Peppermints go into the game on the back of two defeats on the bounce, conceding a total of 14 goals and scoring only once, falling to St Austell (1-7) and Saltash United (7-0). Not for the first time this season, Mackellar was left facing a selection headache prior to both fixtures with a number of players sidelined for different reasons.
He said: “We need everybody at the races to compete against teams like St Austell, this result shows us where we are compared to them. They are a good side, I can’t take that away, we tried to have a go. Putting pressure on them was our defence but we didn’t apply it well enough. We had eight out against Saltash and you can’t go to a team like that without having that first choice eleven. One was banned, two were working, two were injured and three were away. That is just the way it is.
“With the Newquay sides, at the beginning or the end of the season, I have always found that you struggle because the young players are working seasonal jobs. We went there with a patch up side. You always know that if I am on the bench then we are not at full strength! We can’t hold a bigger squad and have eight out, financially you can’t do it.”
One player who will be out more longer-term is goalkeeper Joe Crane who suffered mild concussion and a broken nose after a collision with St Austell’s Liam Eddy. The custodian came out to contest a loose ball with the striker whose boot connected with Crane’s face, knocking him unconscious.
In a social media post, Crane’s mother Karen said: "Thanks to all the staff and supporters at Newquay AFC for concern and assistance. Nose still swollen and broken but fairly straight, two black eyes and probably out for rest of season. Best football club in Cornwall for care and support for players, members and supporters - thanks.
“To the player who thought it was OK to kick a rival in the face, knocking him unconscious, breaking his nose and then claiming he didn't mean it - this sort of violent behaviour and attitude from a player from one of the top of the league clubs is totally unacceptable and undermines the hard work of every SWPL club who uphold qualities of decency, respect and fair play. Good luck Newquay in your battle to stay up!”