Boss Andrew Westgarth felt aggrieved after his Falmouth Town side conceded a controversial penalty in their 2-0 defeat at home to Buckland Athletic in the Western League on Saturday.
Town fell behind after just eight minutes at Bickland Park when Buckland forward Jared Lewington fell to the turf inside the box, with his subsequent spot-kick proving too hot for Town goalkeeper Ryan Barnes to handle despite the home gloveman guessing the right way.
The hosts had the chance to level with a penalty of their own on the half-hour mark when captain James Ward was bundled over during a corner, but Tim Nixon’s effort was expertly saved by Bucks custodian Andy Collings.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between throughout the afternoon, with home defender Scott Kellow doing well to block visiting skipper Rob Farkins’ goalbound effort on the line.
Town huffed and puffed in the second half but were eventually undone in the 78th minute when Ryan Bush broke free down the left and fired the ball into the far corner for his 18th of the season.
The rare home defeat – only their second from 12 league games – leaves Town in ninth position in the Western League Premier Division, and Westgarth admitted that it was a tough one to take.
“It’s a bit of a sore one to take,” he said after the game. “It almost feels like déjà vu as well, there wasn’t a lot between the sides, but the first goal has got to be up there with one of the biggest shocks of the season.
“How they’ve given that as a penalty, I don’t know if I’m more embarrassed for the referee or the lad who’s gone down.
“But we’ve got to deal with it. To find ourselves 1-0 down is really, really frustrating, but again I thought in the first half we played well: we played good football and had some decent chances.
“Obviously, the game swings on big moments, with them scoring a penalty and then we miss a penalty. You have to say it’s a great save, and we only have ourselves to blame for not getting back in the game as we had chances other than the penalty.
“In the second half we huffed and puffed. They’re very hard to play against: they stop the game, slow it down and they were playing for time straight away, so we’ve got to do more to break these sides down.
“I can’t fault the boys’ effort and application, but we just lacked anything in the final third and didn’t create anything of note to warrant feeling hard done by.
“From Buckland’s point of view it’s a perfect away day: a 2-0 win, a clean sheet and three points, so full credit to them. It’s been a tough week but we go again on Wednesday.”
A positive for Town was a first-team debut for 16-year-old Ethan Jorey, who came on in place of James Swan in the 85th minute on Saturday.
Jorey has six goals in four games for Town’s under-18s team this season – as well as two in 15 for the reserves in the St Piran League – with the reward for his form being a spot on the bench for Saturday’s visit of Buckland.
With fellow teenagers Oli Pickup and Charlie Edney also coming off the bench, the forward line that finished the game for Town offered the club a glimpse into the future.
“You look at the front three in the last ten minutes, that’s the future of this football club,” Westgarth said. “Ethan Jorey is flying for the under-18s and doing really well, and you’ve got Oli Pickup and Charlie Edney as well, which is great for the club.
“It’s great for Ethan and I’m absolutely delighted for him. It’s hard bringing him on when you’re losing and chasing the game, but what a moment for him to make his debut.”