Westgarth’s Bridgwater United reaction

Boss Andrew Westgarth heaped praise on a ‘fantastic’ performance from his Falmouth Town side after they defeated Western League high-flyers Bridgwater United 4-1 at Bickland Park on Monday.

Town led after quarter of an hour courtesy of Luke Barner, only for Jack Thorne to equalise for the Robins from close range just before the half-hour mark.

Tim Nixon gave the hosts a slender half-time lead with a fine finish from outside the box before Luke Brabyn gave Town breathing space midway through the second period.

Marcello Jones came off the bench to cap off a fantastic result from the spot late on as Town earned their third win on the bounce and climbed to eighth in the table.

The win was also an excellent one for Town’s league rivals Mousehole, who have gained points on both Bridgwater and Saltash after Westgarth’s side saw both sides off over the festive period, and the irony was not lost on the Town chief.

“I think Mousehole are probably as happy as we are,” Westgarth quipped at full-time. “They’ve had a fantastic Christmas without really having to play any of the top sides. They’ve taken our striker and then we’ve gone and beaten Saltash and Bridgwater for them!

“But all jokes aside, that was fantastic today. I thought, to a man, from the word go we were excellent. It’s 4-1 but without being too derogatory we’ve had a lot more chances than 4-1 would suggest. I know you’re not going to score every chance you have but I thought we looked so comfortable today.

“Defensively we were a little bit lighter today but I think the strength of our side and our togetherness [carried us through]. It was a joy to watch at times. I thought we just looked so good going forward. [We were] compact, didn’t give away a lot, showed the fighting side of our game and fully deserved the three points.”

The superb victory over the title contenders – who had dropped just five points and conceded only six goals in ten matches on the road prior to Monday’s game – was the latest high point in a fantastic series of results for Westgarth’s side.

A slow start to a first Western League campaign in 40 years saw Town pick up just nine points in their first ten games, with the Bickland Park outfit regularly failing to make chances pay as they recorded only two wins in that period.

But Town have written a very different story since the start of October, with Westgarth’s charges winning five and drawing three of their eight league games since October 1 to double their tally from their opening ten games in two fewer matches.

The loss of star striker Jack Bray-Evans to Mousehole and the departure of first-team coach Charlie Davis within a day of each other in early December threatened to derail the momentum the team were building, but the reigning South West Peninsula League Premier West champions continued to shift through the gears.

An incredible 5-4 victory over Barnstaple Town appeared to provide the perfect tonic to their off-pitch setbacks at the time, only for the team to follow it up with a superb 3-1 win at leaders Saltash United on Boxing Day before Monday’s impressive dispatching of the Ashes’ fellow title contenders Bridgwater.

Westgarth regularly stressed that it was always going to take time for the team – and himself – to adapt to their new surroundings in the early weeks of the season, and the Town chief, who recently celebrated his 300th match in charge, is thrilled to see his side reaping the rewards now.

“It took us a while to get going and understand the league,” he said, “and I’m a little biased in that I think the Cornwall sides [in the league] are stronger and we played a lot of the Cornwall sides to start with, and without wanting to repeat myself, we always said home form has to be so important. 

“But what I was really pleased with the lads is that at the start of the season we were throwing leads away or we’ve been in great positions and not held onto it, whereas [on Monday] I never once felt in danger of us giving up our lead. It just shows the team is progressing.

“I hold my hands up, I’ve learned so much as a manager this season. I’ve learned a lot about the team and the decisions I’ve made. It’s great, the fact we’re evolving as a team.

“Overall, there were so many positives there [from Monday’s game] and a lot to build on. There’s no point getting carried away, we’ve got a big game on Saturday [at home to Cadbury Heath] but we need to enjoy this period and reflect on it. 

“There’s probably been a lot of eyes on us, having lost Charlie [Davis] and lost Jack [Bray-Evans] – how are we going to cope? And I think we’ve answered that in the best way.”