Dobwalls 0 St Austell 3

TITLE-chasing St Austell overcame arguably their toughest remaining hurdle by beating a stubborn Dobwalls at Lantoom Park on Wednesday night. The Lillywhites finished the evening with their four-point lead over Liskeard Athletic intact with three games to play, all in the space of six days next week. A three-goal victory sounds relatively comfortable but St Austell, who led early on thanks to Matt Searle’s goal, had to wait until eight minutes from time to score the crucial second goal.

They added a third two minutes from time to end Dobwalls’ resistance.

How different things might have been had Hayden Baugh’s close range effort in the 80th minute gone in instead of rolling agonisingly inches wide of the far post.

It seemed to take an age for the ball to inch across an unguarded goal and some on the St Austell bench looked away thinking Dobwalls were about to equalise.

Two minutes later from a corner on the right, the Lillywhites’ top scorer Adam Carter found a yard of space to produce a sweet volley which crashed into the net to make it 2-0.

Carter was then well placed to wrap things up in the 88th minute but impact substitute Tom Guest, breaking clear along the right, went for glory and smashed the ball into the far corner.

St Austell had started on the front foot and it was no surprise when midfield man Matt Searle was on hand to power home a far post shot to break the deadlock after eight minutes.

The visitors dominated the first half and on another night Carter might have been well on his way to a hat-trick, but for once his finishing was wayward.

Dobwalls had much more of the ball in the second half while St Austell visibly wobbled for a nervy 20 minutes, unable to keep the ball as they had done.

Baugh’s missed opportunity was the signal for the Lillywhites to press the accelerator for one last push in atrocious conditions – and it was enough to secure three crucial points.

DOBWALLS: James Morley; James Forrest, Hayden Baugh (Anthony Davey 83), Tom Strike, Ryan Geach (Joe Cook 59), Alfie Wotton, Jeff Forkuo, Cam Patterson, Josh Johnson, Charlie Hardcastle, Kaycee Ogwu. Subs not used: Oscar Larrieu, Callum Bleasdale, Tyler Davey.

ST AUSTELL: Andy Collings; Kieron Bishop (Ed Timmons 90+3), Martyn Duff, Henry Wilson (Rhys Hooper 90+2), Ollie Brokenshire, Tom Whipp, Neil Slateford (capt, Noah Teagle 90), Matt Searle, George Marris (Tom Guest 82), Adam Carter (Connor Wharton 88), Jake Miller.

Men of the Match. Dobwalls – Tom Strike; St Austell – Matt Searle.