1:00 p.m. January 26, 2022
Sam Price was the hero again after his first-half goal secured Ashton & Backwell United their second successive 1-0 victory, this time against Mousehole on Saturday.
Like on January 3 against Cadbury Heath, when Price sealed the victory in the 88th minute, the Stags showed determination and courage to collect three points and remain unbeaten in 2022.
On a cold, overcast afternoon at Lancer Scott Stadium, which survived an overnight frost, second bottom United faced third place Seagulls, who entered the contest with 12 wins from their last 14 and had recorded seven triumphs successive.
And the long coach journey to Backwell certainly did not tire the visitors as they had started much better, reflecting relative league positions.
Tony Beecham’s side failed to take a shot while at the other end the visitors dominated, being very quick to advance and distribute the ball, the home defense looking very static and the home attack lacking in fluidity.
A Tom Anthony block stopped a certain Kyle Fraser goal before Hayden Turner crossed from the line for Mark Golosworthy, but Lewis Coombes was too quick.
Joe Bishop’s header then took the ball from Golosworthy, ready to strike into a pass from Tallan Mitchell, before Louis Price beat the defence, only to fire wide and a tackle from Bishop blocked Turner’s strike.
Charlie Saunders found Henry Sady, 17, making his full debut, in the box for his first shot after 30 minutes before two minutes later Saunders found Hardidge but he could only find the post.
But nine minutes before half-time, the turning point of the match, Hardidge took the ball from his own half, bottom right, crossed to Price who made no mistake, striking home from the edge of the surface for his sixth goal of the season. .
The rest of the match was much more of a war of attrition, as the hosts defended in numbers and attacked when given the chance.
That frantic butt created few extra chances, Price could have added to his tally, combining with Cordell Young and Hardidge on the right flank with his narrowly looping effort.
Turner beat his marker, Mitchell fired wide and Connor Saunders blocked a close range shot from Turner.
After doing so much, the 96th-minute free-kick concession from around 30 yards out certainly added to the worries of the 85 supporters.
When that threat was quashed and the final whistle sounded, the celebrations could begin on the pitch.
The task at hand now is to remain unbeaten in January by hosting local rivals Clevedon Town this Saturday.