Falmouth Town manager Andrew Westgarth was a relieved man after Jack Bray-Evans’ stoppage-time goal rescued a point in their Western League opener at home to Wellington.
Town fell behind to the Somerset outfit midway through the first half via Tom Stone’s strike, with Jack Bray-Evans’ equaliser on the hour being cancelled out by Miles Quick less than a minute later.
The newly-promoted hosts were given a lifeline when Eli Collins received a second yellow card with just under 20 minutes to go, with Town then having an equaliser ruled out when goalkeeper Rob Hall’s spilled catch was adjudged to have not crossed the line.
However, the ten men’s resistance finally ended in the second minute of stoppage time when Bray-Evans turned James Ward’s cross past the visiting goalkeeper to salvage an opening-day draw.
“It was definitely a game of two halves,” Westgarth said. “[In] the first half we were not at the races at all. We were so far off it, it was frightening. I think I said to the boys at half-time that Barnesy’s made a good save at 0-1 and that’s probably kept us in it, and then in the second half I thought we were excellent.
“We came at them and obviously I was delighted to get the point towards the end because I didn’t think it was going to be our day. I think Wardy’s hit the bar, [it was] questionable whether another chance went over the line – he said it went over, most of the supporters said it’s gone over.
“But we kept plugging away and we threw the kitchen sink at it in the last couple of minutes. We put Wardy up there, [he made] a great header across goal and Jack Bray-Evans gets on the end of it. Even that just squeezed in and the way our day was going I thought that might have been disallowed or something.
“I’m 100 per cent taking the point, we’re off the mark. There’s definitely lessons to be learned, lots of positives, but definitely areas we need to work on.”
After a quiet first half by his own standards, Bray-Evans came alive after the break and went on to score the goals that rescued a point for his side.
The 2021/22 South West Peninsula League Premier West golden boot winner opened his account for 2022/23 just after the hour with a sublime header, rising highest to guide Tim Nixon’s corner past Hall and into the far corner.
And he doubled his tally for the campaign deep into stoppage time after finishing off a lovely team move. Kayden Gordon-Dunn’s long punt forward was expertly nodded down by Ward into the path of Bray-Evans, who produced a wonderful header of his own to steer it past Hall.
“He knows that I challenge him a lot and I expect a lot from him, and I’d like to think he’d be the first to admit that in the first half he wasn’t at it,” Westgarth said. “In the second half, he does what he does. If you’re in the right area, you score goals and too often he was losing personal battles and not in the game enough, but I thought Charlie Edney was excellent when he came on and led the line really well and we just grew into the second half.
“[There were] moments of madness, they’ve gone down to ten men and then nine men, it was chaotic. [There was] gamesmanship from them, and you can’t blame them, they’ve done what they’ve got to do, but that’s what we’ve got to expect at this level of football now, and like it or not, that’s probably what we’re going to be up against most weeks.”