Penryn AFC 0-4 Helston Athletic
by Paul Parfitt
Paul Parfitt’s Helston side arrived at Kernick Road knowing a point against second placed Penryn Ladies would be enough to secure a maiden League title.
Penryn themselves have been in superb form since the end of the lockdown registering three wins and a draw meaning a win for them would leave them in with a chance of winning the league themselves, this was a clash of the two best teams in the division.
Both teams fielded strong squads and as the match started Penryn took the initiative and had the success in the early exchanges winning 50/50 balls. Although their link up play wasn’t quite working for them and perhaps showing signs of nerves in the context of the match, Helston still looked dangerous albeit from broken play. Penryn had the first clear chances to score but a last ditch tackle from Georgie Sweet and a save from Eve Moore did enough to keep the score even.
On 19th minute Helston’s Abi Locke chased an expertly weighted through ball from Ellie Brewer and lobbed the on-rushing keeper to make it 1-0 Helston and settle some nerves for the travelling side.
Penryn stayed in the game and their physical and determined approach winning 50/50 ball and pressing and harassing Helston still featured in their game. Another through ball saw Abi Locke caught accidentally with studs in the follow through of Penryn keeper Clare Churcher, this injury required treatment and brought an end to the goal scorers game. Locke was replaced by the teams second top scorer Katy Barker-Thomas who immediately caused Penryn problems.
There was a phase of play in the first half where Helston were caught offside eight consecutive times and captain Sasha Sparkes spoke with the referee during a break in play which resulted in a yellow card and 10 minutes in the sin bin for the Helston captain to the bemusement of many onlookers.
Down to 10, a galvanised Helston started to take the upper hand, Penryn still looked dangerous but the energy of substitutes Alice Rae and Keri-Ann Moxom added to Helston’s ability to retain the football and play their style. It remained 0-1 at Half Time.
Parfitt had made four changes going into the second half and Helston started brightly seemingly finding their rhythm, Sparkes re-joined the side in the 50th minute and it was just three minutes later that the familiar combination that has brought Helston 60 goals across all matches this season were back at it again; Katy Barker-Thomas hitting a super cross that beat the punch of Churcher in goal and saw Sparkes rise at the far post to head in Helston’s second.
With a front three now looking to get after Penryn, Helston enjoyed a good period in the game, Katy Barker-Thomas delivered another superb cross three minutes later and in a desperate attempt to prevent it falling to the striker a Penryn defender headed into her own net to make it 0-3, the away side then had a couple of penalty shouts went by before one was awarded for a late challenge. The Helston skipper hit the post with her effort and Penryn were let off. The home side themselves then pushed forward winning a corner and testing both the Helston defence and keeper in what was still a fairly even game.
Helston made further changes utilising the roll on roll off substitutions and they looked to push on and improve the score. Helston were utilising the superb throw of Kim Yould and were regularly causing the Penryn defence issues, still blighted with offsides there was frustration for the team in blue. The Penryn keeper again keeping the score respectable with a string of saves and coming off the better in one to ones with Helston missing one or two open goals also.
As the game crept into time added on there was still opportunities coming and it was somewhat befitting that Helston scored in the 92nd minute to wrap up their League Title Win in Paul Parfitt’s inaugural season; typically fitting too was the goal scorer, with Jade Sweet sliding a pass through for Captain Sparkes to collect and outwit both defender and keeper to slot home and secure the CWFL Trophy for her team.
The game was a representation of desire and hunger in the Women’s game in Cornwall and the match was played in a manner of that befitting the top two sides in the division. Penryn’s season is now finished having played all their fixtures, Helston have two remaining away games at Mousehole and Culdrose on the next two Sundays as they undoubtedly look to finish the season unbeaten in the league.
This Helston side look to take promotion to SWRFL for next season and manager Paul Parfitt has already stated his intentions to enter a Development Side in the CWFL which will be managed by the experienced and popular Kev James. If you fancy taking up football or playing for Helston next season keep an eye on their socials and go along to their open trials on Sunday 6th June.
Helston Athletic: E Moore, C Sparkes-Bond, C Demouy, E Brewer, G Sweet, G Lane, D White, K Yould, S Sparkes (c), A Locke, S Sparkes-Bond. Subs Used: J Sweet, K Barker-Thomas, A Rae, K Moxom, S Clouter.
Scorers: Locke 19, Sparkes 53, 90, OG 56