Boss Andrew Westgarth was delighted for his players after his Falmouth Town side came from behind to defeat Western League leaders Saltash United on their own turf on Boxing Day.
Town, who played in Saltash’s blue away kit due to a clash with their white away strip, bounced back from missing a first-half penalty and conceding the first goal to score three times in the final 15 minutes to achieve a first away league win of the season and inflict a first home defeat on the Ashes.
Luke Brabyn passed up the chance to put Town in front from the spot shortly before half-time when his kick was saved by Ashes gloveman Jordan Duffey, with the hosts promptly going up the other end and taking the lead via Adam Carter’s finish into the far corner.
Town then had Ryan Barnes to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 at the break when he pulled off a fine save to deny Mike Landricombe, with Westgarth’s side eventually drawing level in the 75th minute when Tim Nixon fired in from Olly Walker’s cross.
The visitors completed the turnaround eight minutes later when substitute Marcello Jones, making his first appearance of the season, played a one-two with Brabyn before his strike found the net via a deflection.
And Brabyn was provider again in the 88th minute when his cross was superbly headed home by Walker to cap off a fine victory, end the Ashes’ 11-game unbeaten run and extend Town’s own unbeaten league run to seven matches.
Westgarth, who was joined in the dugout at the Waterways Stadium by both James Miller and Toby Clark, was understandably thrilled with his team’s display.
“It was brilliant for the lads considering how many times we’ve been in front [and not gone on to win] and it’s really pleasing for the lads to see it out,” he said. “We looked really comfortable for the last five minutes and defended really well and the boys in the middle of the park were excellent. It’s really hard to fault the side.”
He continued: “There was a key five-minute spell. Brabyn’s had a penalty in the 42nd minute and he’s normally the pressure man, he’s good with that, but he missed it and it felt like 30 seconds later they hit the post and then they scored.
“Barnesy’s then made an unbelievable save from a corner and tipped it over the bar, so in one breath we could easily have been 1-0 up and on the other hand we could have been 2-0 down.
“It was quite an even first half with not a lot in it, but those key moments just before half-time could have defined the game. But then in the second half I felt like we were into the game, we were stronger and our subs definitely made the difference.”
Those substitutions saw Kayden Gordon-Dunn replace long-serving skipper James Ward, who had suffered a dead leg, while the returning Marcello Jones, who is available for selection for the next few weeks, replaced Luke Barner, with both substitutes having an impact at either end of the pitch.
“You’ve got to praise Kayden [Gordon-Dunn],” Westgarth said. “Wardy’s come off injured and he’s a young boy, he’s probably never been to Kimberley Stadium let alone played against a side like that away from home, but it’s great for him to play against someone like Adam Carter, one of the most experienced centre-forwards in this league and I thought he dealt with him really well.
“You’ve got to praise Tom Annear for marshaling the back four like he did, and Marcello [Jones] came on and just added that bit of quality. We created so many opportunities once he came on, and with Olly Walker and Tim Nixon in form and Brabyn leading the line again our attacking players really shone. I thought our front three were frightening at times.”