After a highly commendable second place in Division 2 which secured a promotion place, Bude Town have had a fine season in their very first venture into veteran’s football, but they were put to the sword by a rampant Downderry Rovers in the Supplementary Cup Final at a fine and sunny Lux Park, Liskeard.
In the build up to the game, Bude were hit with injuries to key players and could only muster a squad of 13 for the match. As if their preparations couldn’t get any worse, a minibus hired for the day out broke down at the start of their journey and they were forced to abandon the vehicle. As a result, the team arrived in their own cars at 10:50 so the game kicked off a quarter of an hour late at 11:15.
Rovers were on the front foot from the opening with Jim Moynan forcing a good save from Gary Burnard in the Bude goal. From the resulting corner Darren Gilbert fired across goal and his effort was deflected out for another corner. This time Rovers took an early lead when Neil Mullis stooped at the near post to head home and give Downderry a 3rd minute 1-0 lead.
Rovers had the bit between their teeth and went close in the 14th minute when Gilbert’s effort clipped the bar. They probably should have extended their lead a minute later, but Burnard once again saved well with Mullis through on goal.
They didn’t have to wait long to double their lead though, when a short corner routine saw George Pengelly fire home through a crowd of players to make it 2-0.
Just when Bude Town were thinking their day couldn’t get any worse they found themselves 3-0 down on 20 minutes. This time Paul Kessell was on target, prodding past Burnard.
Just before the 25-minute mark the overworked Burnard was on hand once again to deny a deflected Gilbert effort as Rovers threatened to turn it into a cricket score.
After their wretched start, gradually Bude began to play themselves into the game. Lee James fired over after good work on the right hand side by Patrick Hawkins and after 33 minutes they gave themselves a glimmer of hope when James neatly finished an Ian Marks cross at the near post to bring the score back to 3-1. Bude were now enjoying their best moments of the game and were creating more chances with James once again going close. On 39 minutes they probably should have reduced the arrears to 3-2 when top scorer Marks jinked inside keeper Barrie Collings, but somehow put his effort over the bar.
Right on the stroke of half time, Rovers stretched their lead to 4-1. Bude’s Pete Lovett was robbed in midfield and the ball was fed to Rob Bilsborough, who cut in and fired home to restore the 3 goal advantage.
In warm conditions it was probably too much to ask for the second period to serve up a repeat of the goal bonanza first half. Moynan went close for Rovers, firing into the side netting early in the half and Lovett volleyed wide for Bude.
Bude’s hopes of a recovery were dealt a further blow when Bude’s top scorer Marks departed the action with a calf injury although he did manage to return in the latter stages.
Gilbert’s strong running was a constant thorn for a tiring Bude side and he went close to extending the lead just before the hour when his shot struck the post. Burnard once again was called into action at the mid point of the half to once again deny the evergreen Gilbert, but with 6 minutes to go he was powerless to deny Mullis who notched his second of the match finishing off a neat move to make it 5-1.
Mullis probably should have been celebrating a hat trick in the last minute when he seized upon a loose back pass, but after rounding the keeper his effort trickled agonisingly wide.
It didn’t take the gloss off a polished Rovers performance and their healthy band of supporters were given an enjoyable afternoon celebrating with the players in the pleasant sunshine.