Falmouth Town recovered from their midweek disappointment at St Blazey with a hard-fought victory against a physical and effective Brixham side in front of a crowd of 400+ at Bickland Park on Saturday.

Falmouth Town manager Andy Westgarth opted to make some changes from the line-up against St Blazey with James Swan coming in for Jacob Grange. James Ward who came off injured on Wednesday was not risked. Andreas Calleja-Stayne instead dropped in to central defence which meant a first start since his injury for Jack Webber. Luke Brabyn replaced Cam Hutchinson which allowed Oscar Massey to play in his preferred central role behind Rubin Wilson.

It was a slow start for Falmouth as Brixham’s physicality, especially in forward areas, meant that they were causing Falmouth problems whenever they attacked. On five minutes, they broke down the left with their impressive No:9 Charlie Johansen. He crossed the ball in and a Brixham forward hit a shot low to the right of Morgan Coxhead in the Falmouth goal. He got down well to parry the effort and the ball fell to another attacker who saw his effort saved on the line by Bradley Leivers. Seven minutes later and it was another attack, this time down the right with Brixham’s Scott Robinson, which resulted in the ball breaking to Kieran Parkin who steered it past the left-hand post. Another let-off for Falmouth.

There followed a series of attacks with Brixham managing to bombard the Town defence with numerous crosses and a succession of corners which were well-defended, but Falmouth were under pressure. Brixham were winning the midfield battle with the majority of the second balls being claimed by the away side. However, Falmouth were gradually getting into the game and playing a bit more in the Brixham half without creating any chances of note. Jack Webber started to get on the ball more and in fact had an effective game considering his long lay off. The half finished at 0-0 and Falmouth must have been slightly relieved that they could now go in and re-group.

Falmouth made a change at the start of the second half with Max Everall replacing Bradley Leivers at left back, Leivers having sustained an injury to his ankle. The early exchanges were again edged by Brixham as Town still struggled to retain possession. After 10 minutes, Johansen carried the ball past an onrushing Coxhead and squared it dangerously. A Brixham forward got a shot on goal but it was cleared off the line and Town breathed again.

The turning point of the game came on 15 minutes. Brixham’s left back Harvey Field, who had been booked in the first half, went in late on Oscar Massey and the ref went to his back pocket to pull out the resulting red to put Brixham down to 10 men. Within a minute, Falmouth had opened the scoring. Luke Barner found some space wide on the right and drove the ball in to the Brixham area. The defenders tried to clear but the ball fell to Oscar Massey just outside the 6-yard box who made no mistake with a low shot to the keeper’s left. Before the re-start, Johansen overstepped the mark with a comment to one of the officials and the referee sent him to the sin-bin. Within an instant Brixham were down to nine men.

Falmouth seemed to have subtly changed their formation for the second half with Oscar Massey playing much closer to Rubin Wilson and Massey was looking more dangerous than ever with his electric pace and shoot-on-sight policy. The Town defence, particularly James Swan from right back, started to knock some longer balls over the top of the Brixham defence for Massey to chase. It was after one such ball that Town extended their lead on 80 minutes. A long ball was played from within Falmouth’s half and it came down to a foot-race between Massey and a Brixham defender. Despite having at least a five yard start, the defender was out-paced by Massey as he impressively turned on the after-burners. Massey got to the ball first, rode a challenge, got to the by-line and then drove the ball across the area. Brixham’s Ryan Beattie tried to deal with it but failed to stop Massey’s strike going into the back of the net. A great piece of play from Massey who has been an exciting addition to the Town side. A player of his quality can sometimes be the difference in a tight contest such as this and that was the case on this day.

The game finished with Falmouth in the ascendancy, and they came away with the three points, an outcome that looked unlikely at times during the difficult first half.

Falmouth now look forward to the visit of Millbrook on Tuesday night, with the long-awaited trip to Jersey soon after and the question will be, how many of the likely starting line-up against Jersey Bulls will Andy Westgarth risk against their lowly next opponents? A selection headache of a different type as Falmouth will still want a convincing win to keep the pressure on the teams ahead of them in the league.

(Massey 61’)

(Massey 80’)

Att: 402.

Falmouth Town: Morgan Coxhead, James Swan, Tom Annear ©, Andreas Calleja-Stayne, Bradley Leivers, Luke Brabyn, Jack Webber, Jared Sims, Luke Barner, Rubin Wilson, Oscar Massey. Subs: Max Everall, Cam Hutchinson, Jacob Grange, Tom Fisher, James Ward.

Brixham: Grant Fisher, Ben Hopkins, Harvey Field, Ryan Beattie, Sean Adderley, Reece Somers, Charlie Johansen, Kieran Parkin, Scott Robinson, Josh Parry, Aaron Wellington. Sub: Tom Mortimore, Morgan Harford, Ben Aldous, Jaden Maslen.