FOR the second time in three matches, Ilfracombe Town were beaten by an own goal.
The Bluebirds bowed out of the FA Carlsberg Vase when Liam Craze scored at the wrong end in a 3-2 defeat at St Blazey.
Wasteful finishing proved costly for Combe as the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League side went through after extra time.
It was another harsh lesson after losing in similar circumstances to an own goal from Lewis Ovey against Street in the Toolstation Western League.
“Lady Luck is not with us at the moment,” said Ross Middleton, the manager. “It was gut-wrenching to go out like that.
“To lose to an own goal is soul destroying for the lads.
“We have only got ourselves to blame because we never really stepped it up and finished it off like we should have done.”
Despite dominating for long spells, Ilfracombe only had a goal from Stan Paxton to show for their efforts. Dave Painter, the home goalkeeper, was in fine form and St Blazey equalised against the run of play when Danny Zalick lobbed Kurtis Parkin in the 72nd minute.
The response from Paxton was instant with a ferocious finish restoring Ilfracombe’s advantage.
But they failed to finish off their opponents who hit back again with a fine left-footed strike from Josh Sims six minutes from time.
The tie was settled in the first half of extra time when Craze, the substitute, could only turn an attempted clearance past his own keeper.
Although Parkin was required to make two excellent saves in 120 minutes, his opposite number was regularly tested. “We must have had 20 shots on target, and that’s no exaggeration,” said Middleton.
Ilfracombe will still be without James Mayne, their captain, for the trip to Cadbury Heath in the Western League on Saturday.
The defender has not played since injuring his ankle on the opening day and struggled during a fitness test this week.
Craig Allan, who has done well in the absence of Mayne, is on holiday but the squad has been boosted by the return to fitness of Frank Paxton, Josh Heafield and Kevin Darch.
Middleton is unhappy with a fixture list that will not see Ilfracombe play another home game until September 28.
That will be only their second match at Marlborough Park on a Saturday this season.“It is a new team and it is not making things any easier,” said Middleton. “The lads are getting used to seeing that bus.”
On Tuesday, Ilfracombe travel to Torquay United for the second round of the Devon St Luke’s Cup.
The club is running a coach to Plainmoor. To book a place, speak to Matthew Hayne, the club chairman.