Falmouth Town manager Andrew Westgarth admitted that discipline ultimately cost his side in their 2-0 defeat at home to Mousehole on Wednesday night.
Goals in either half from Max Hill and Andrew Elcock secured the points for Jake Ash’s side, with Elcock’s goal coming while Town had just eight players on the pitch after Luke Brabyn had been sent off and Tom Annear and Tim Nixon had been sin binned.
Hill fired the Seagulls in front in the seventh minute of the Western League encounter before Luke Brabyn was shown a controversial red card for Town shortly before half-time.
Andrew Elcock doubled the visitors’ lead midway through the second half while Town were temporarily down to eight men with Annear and Nixon in the sin bin, with Scott Kellow also seeing red following a scuffle between the two teams after the final whistle.
Town drop one place to 14th in the Western League table as a result of the defeat, which also ended their previously unbeaten record at their Bickland Park home this season.
“I’m obviously bitterly disappointed to lose the game,” Westgarth said at full-time. “It was probably discipline that cost us in the end. We got off to a bit of a slow start and they’ve scored early doors from a set piece, but as the game grew on I thought we had some good chances.
“We always know what they’re about, they keep the ball for fun and Louis [Price] had a chance early doors and they had a header, but other than that I thought we had some great chances.
“Jack Bray-Evans had a golden chance in the second half and that could have made it 1-1, but we’ve killed ourselves going down to ten men with Brabyn getting sent off and then within a heartbeat we were down to eight.
“It’s just always the way it goes, they get the second goal, the killer goal and we couldn’t really recover.”
The evening got off to a less than ideal start with Hill firing the visitors in front in only the seventh minute. Mousehole won a corner and the delivery was headed down on the edge of the six-yard box, with Hill reacting quickest to rifle the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
“We normally pride ourselves on our set pieces. We’re normally really solid so it was disappointing to concede that,” Westgarth said. “I think we dealt with the first initial header and it was just a rebound that landed to the lad and fair play he finished it well and smashed it into the roof of the net.
“It’s always disappointing to concede off set pieces but I thought as the game went on I thought we did well. We created a lot of chances and I can’t fault the boys’ application and effort because for large spells of the game we were outnumbered.”
The turning point of the game came in the 37th minute when Brabyn was shown a straight red card. The Town skipper lost possession on the edge of the Mousehole box and brought down visiting midfielder Tallan Mitchell as he attempted to recover it.
To the surprise of Brabyn and many inside Bickland Park, referee James Long instantly brandished a red card to the Town winger, with the home side’s hopes of getting something out a game that had until then been very even taking a major turn for the worse.
“I’ll back Brabyn to the hilt, he reckons he didn’t touch him and Brabyn’s probably never had a booking for us, let alone a straight red,” Westgarth said. “It’s disappointing and I’m going to watch it back but Brabyn’s adamant he didn’t touch him, but it didn’t help us at all.”
Town initially responded positively with Bray-Evans shooting over from six yards after getting on the end of a fine cross from Nixon as the hosts began the second half brightly.
But Westgarth’s side were dealt another blow on the hour when Annear, now wearing the armband in Brabyn’s absence, was sent to the sin bin by Long, with Nixon following suit for a ten-minute time-out of his own only two minutes later.
All of a sudden Town were temporarily down to eight players, and they were within a whisker of riding out the storm until Elcock fired in the Seagulls’ second from the edge of the box in the 70th minute to clinch the win, mere moments before Annear was to return to the pitch.
“It was an agonising goal,” Westgarth said. “There’s only so long you can try and keep it out [with eight men], it was a valiant effort up to that point and they were obviously throwing a lot at us, but it was disappointing that probably the one shot they did have on target in that period they scored from it.”