Bodmin 3, Brislington 2
THE sound of the final whistle brought sighs of relief all round from the Bodmin faithful after they watched their favourites hold on for a slender victory.
It had all looked so straightforward at half-time with Darren Gilbert's side boasting a 3-0 lead against the Western League premier division leaders thanks to goals from Olly Brokenshire (2) and Adam Carter.
But Brislington showed their character to launch a rousing comeback in the second half, and it was almost enough to force extra time in a hugely entertaining first round tie.
High quality finishes from Frank Gingell (54 minutes) and Alan Mahidi (81) put the Bristol visitors right back in the tie and they spent the remaining minutes battering the Bodmin penalty area.
Mahidi came desperately close to equalising in the 84th minute with a shot which looped over Bodmin keeper Kevin Miller onto the bar, and with the game moving into time added on, Brislington carved one more golden opportunity.
An intricate passing move led to the ball falling at the feet of the unmarked Luke Meacham ten yards out. He simply had to score – but somehow screwed his low shot inches wide.
He held his head in his hands all the way back to the halfway line, clearly aware of the enormity of his miss. The referee's whistle soon followed.
Brislington were a far stronger outfit than they had looked on the opening day of the season in August when they arrived late at Priory Park for an FA Cup tie and were soundly beaten 3-1.
This time they were at the ground in plenty of time and, as Western League leaders, went into the game full of confidence.
They certainly didn't expect to be trailing by three goals before half-time and the ease with which Bodmin scored their goals concerned Brislington boss Jeff Meacham.
After a fairly featureless opening 25 minutes, Bodmin swept ahead when Brokenshire took advantage of some sloppy defending to outpace a couple of opponents before driving in a low left foot shot.
The next two goals came about through Brislington's failure to defend properly at corners. Steve Colwell's 37th minute cross went to the far side of the box where Brokenshire was allowed time to bring the ball down, knock it up and send a volley into the net.
Four minutes later another Colwell corner to the far post was headed back across goal by Tom Chambers to Carter. His first header struck the bar but the big striker reacted quickest to prod the rebound in.
Brislington needed a swift response after half-time and it was provided by their most gifted player, left-sided midfield man Gingell, who needed little time or space to whip in a stunning shot to reduce the arrears nine minutes into the second half.
Bodmin, held together by the superb Shane Krac in central midfield, continued to create half chances but most were on breakaways, with Brislington hugging possession.
Such was their dominance Mahidi's 81t minute goal came as no surprise, a superb strike from the edge of the penalty area giving Miller no chance, and you could sense the panic within the home team, and especially the defence.
You don't see that very often in a Bodmin side but they have been more vulnerable at the back so far this season, conceding two goals on four occasions before Saturday.
It is an area which will concern Bodmin boss Gilbert. On the positive side, the club pocketed £900 and they are still in the Vase, a competition they regard as very important to their season.