Falmouth Town wrote another chapter in the story of this most exciting of seasons last night, with a well-deserved win against Barnstaple Town in the semi-final play-off to determine who will gain promotion into the Pitching-In Southern League Division 1 South next season. In front of another healthy crowd of 480, the star of the show was Oscar Massey who Falmouth in fact signed from Barnstaple Town late last year.

Home manager Andy Westgarth opted for a change in formation and personnel to recent games by resting Rubin Wilson and playing Massey as a lone striker, with Luke Brabyn and Luke Barner providing some pace and width as part of a five-man midfield.

The game started with the visitors on the front foot and they immediately won a couple of corners and a free-kick, but they were dealt with comfortably by the Home defence. Barnstaple set up with a high defensive line which was surprising given Massey’s pace and within the first 10 minutes he was found with a ball over the top which he carried forward but could only force a corner. The game was fairly even with the experienced away line-up more than equalling Falmouth’s physicality, but the referee, who had a good game throughout, managed it well and it did not escalate.

Within 15 minutes, Falmouth had opened the scoring. Again, it came from a ball over the top to Oscar Massey. Jared Sims gained possession wide on the right and a few yards inside his own half. He looked up and hit a raking ball beyond the Barnstaple defence to Massey. Massey ran at his defender but was halted by a last-ditch challenge before he could get his shot in. However, he retained the ball and passed it back to Luke Brabyn who hit a powerful right-foot shot from just outside the area past Jack Arthur, the Barnstaple goalkeeper.

Matt Bye then started to get into the game for Barnstaple where he seemed to be picking up any loose balls and finding space in front of his centre-backs, before starting most of his side’s periods of possession, although they were unable to create any chances of note. It looked like the half was going to end with Falmouth one goal to the good, but Barnstaple’s high line again proved to be their downfall in the second minute of stoppage time. A well-weighted through ball from Andy Elcock found Massey just inside the opposition’s half. He raced clear and bore down on the visiting keeper, and as the keeper came out to narrow the angle, Oscar Massey coolly passed the ball just inside the far post to make it 2-0.

The second half started with Barnstaple looking to play with a bit more tempo with the introduction of Exmouth striker Ace High and within a few minutes ex-Helston schemer Billy Tucker. Tor Swann was also proving a test down the right for his near namesake James Swan with his pace and trickery, but still Barnstaple were unable to create much of note. After around 23 minutes, Luke Brabyn was replaced by Rubin Wilson who went into his centre-forward position and Massey replaced Brabyn down the left. Falmouth’s third goal came after 78 minutes. Jared Sims again found Massey who ran at the opposing full-back and cut inside to shoot. However, he did not strike it cleanly and instead the ball broke to Rubin Wilson on the edge of the 6 yard box who gratefully guided it past the keeper. 3-0 to Falmouth Town with a goal and two assists from Oscar Massey.

With 12 minutes to go, Barnstaple changed their tactics and started bombarding the Falmouth defence with high balls. It was from a long ball on 40 minutes that Barnstaple got their goal. James Ward could only get a slight touch on it as it went over his head and it fell to a Barnstaple forward, Morgan Coxhead made a save from the resulting shot but captain Brodie Montague smashed the rebound into the net. There followed a nervous few minutes and in the last minute of stoppage time another deep cross found Tor Swann on the back post, his looping header beat Coxhead but there from nowhere appeared Tom Annear, voted man of the match for another classic display of defending, who threw himself at the ball and guided it over the bar. Within a few seconds, the referee ended the game for another historic victory for Falmouth Town and they are now just one game from promotion and the chance to play at the highest level in the club’s history.

Once the final whistle was blown, the triumphant Town players bowed to recent tradition and addressed the masses in the Packet End where they were treated to an impressive rendition of “Town All Over” as well as “Pump it up – The Town are going up!” Unprecedented levels of support for a Cornish football club.

Falmouth Town now look forward to the play-off final on Saturday, again at Bickland Park, no doubt in front of an even bigger crowd. With much of the local football season having come to an end, they will hope to attract a few extra fans looking for a last fix of football before the long summer drought.


Falmouth Town

Luke Brabyn 15’

Oscar Massey 46′

Rubin Wilson 78′

Barnstaple Town

Brodie Montague 85’

Att: 480.

Line Ups:

Falmouth Town: Morgan Coxhead, James Swan, Bradley Leivers, James Ward©, Tom Annear, Andreas Calleja-Stayne, Jared Sims, Andy Elcock, Luke Barner, Oscar Massey, Luke Brabyn.

Subs: Kian Thomas, Cam Hutchinson, Max Everall, Jack Webber, Rubin Wilson.

Barnstaple Town: Jack Arthur, Joe Belston, Scott Laird, Matty Bye, Brodie Montague©, Archie Heywood, Matt Andrew, Tor Swann, Harvey Dorothy, Nelson Iseguan, Charlie Prentice.

Subs: Aiden Whitfield, Billy Tucker, Ace High, Tommy Rogers, Liam Kingston.

Highlights from Will Hedgecock