Circumstance was against Newquay as they embarked on their furthest away day of the season. Notable absentees included top scorer David Santos, defensive rock Tristan Muller-Forster, circle player Paul Beasley, right back Jon Hyatt, and inspirational player-coach Jürgen Koenen. Newquay drafted in former players Ben Preston, and Paul Iacco to fill the gaps in their squad.
League leaders Oxford were looking to inflict a crushing victory in their quest for the title and promotion. After 10mins they were on course, taking full advantage as the makeshift Newquay team bedded in. In what seemed like no time, Oxford sailed to a 10-1 lead. But Newquay gathered themselves together, lead on the day by Adolf Botar, who stepped up to the mark, leading by example and getting his team on the board.
As the first half progressed Newquay continued to claw their way into the game, good link up play between Botar and circle player Kevin Welsh was rewarded with goals. In tandem, Newquay’s defence improved, keeping the Oxford tally down to just 17 at the break. Eddie Percy-Hughes grabbed a signature fast break goal on the stroke of half time, taking advantage of a long pass from goalkeeper Geoff Muskett.
The Welsh and Botar partnership continued to be fruitful for Newquay in the second half. Plus goals from the highly promising Ben Hadrell, the always efficient Lee Springett, and the impressive Ben Preston in his competitive debut. Meanwhile the experienced Oxford outfit kept the score chart ticking along despite saves from Muskett. Heading into the last 3 minutes Newquay pushed forward looking for goals, but left gaps at the back which Oxford capitalised on. Newquay, however were able to get a goal back through Welsh, taking him past Koenen as the clubs second top scorer.
The final score is an improvement from their first encounter; with an inexperienced team playing away from home, this is something Newquay can be proud of. Other positives are the performance of Ben Haddrell, a young player is who is improving at a stratospheric rate, the leadership qualities of Adolf Botar, and the performance of team still learning the game.
Next up for Newquay is Southampton at home on the 22nd March. With senior players due to return to action this should be an epic encounter.