Western League runners-up and FA Vase quarter-finalists Falmouth Town managed to fashion the perfect finale to a very successful and eventful season by twice coming from behind to overcome recently crowned South West Peninsula West champions St Austell, in this thrilling encounter at Wendron’s Underlane ground.

Falmouth were without cup-tied strike duo Oscar Massey and Rubin Wilson, and as has become normal in these circumstances, Luke Brabyn assumed the centre-forward role with Cam Hutchinson coming into the starting line-up in the No.10 position behind Brabyn. St Austell started with a number of ex-Falmouth Town players in Adam Carter, Martyn Duff, Neil Slateford, George Marris and Tom Whipp, with Liam Eddy on the bench alongside current Falmouth U-18s player Noah Teagle.

St Austell started brightly as they looked to put one over on their higher league opponents, and after 3 minutes it was Jake Miller, who looked lively all match, that broke down the right and hit a shot that beat Morgan Coxhead but could not beat the Falmouth crossbar, much to the relief of the Falmouth defence.

Hutchinson was the pick of the Falmouth players early on with his intelligent use of the ball and his willingness to run at the St Austell defenders. On 7 minutes he provided the pass to Luke Brabyn down the left who beat his man and cut the ball back to Luke Barner who was arriving late in the box. However, it was Martyn Duff, playing at left-back for St Austell, who made a terrific last ditch tackle to prevent Luke Barner from getting his shot in. Another pass from Hutchinson a minute later found Jared Sims in the St Austell box who cleverly hit a curling shot past Collins in the St Austell goal, but this time it was St Austell that were saved by the woodwork as Sims’ shot hit the foot of the far post and was cleared.

It was proving to be a genuinely even contest, but it was the underdogs St Austell who took the lead in the 13th Minute. A misplaced pass from the heart of the Falmouth defence could only find Henry Wilson, who was declared man of the match at the end of the game. He took one touch and hit a powerful shot low to Morgan Coxhead’s right and it was 1-0 to St Austell.

One minute later and Falmouth came close to an instant reply. Hutchinson again had possession and ran at the heart of the St Austell defence beating 3 or 4 players until finding himself in the left-hand corner of the area. Looking up, he curled a shot just wide of the right-hand post and the St Austell lead remained intact.

Falmouth then started to get their passing game together and after 22 minutes, Luke Barner picked the ball up down the right and ran at the defence before finding Luke Brabyn. Brabyn chipped the ball behind Duff for Barner to run on to and shoot. Collins could only parry Barner’s effort into the path of Cameron Hutchinson who scored from 5 yards out to make it 1-1.

Falmouth continued to have slightly the better of the possession for the remainder of the half but the score remained 1-1 at the break.

There were no changes at half-time for either side, but in the second-half, with Falmouth playing down the slope and with the wind, they struggled to recreate their passing game. In a bid to force the win, Falmouth boss Andy Westgarth swapped Cam Hutchinson for Kian Thomas, who pushed out wide left with Jared Sims taking over Hutchinson’s No:10 role. On 31 minutes Andy Elcock was replaced by Jack Webber and with 4 minutes to go, Charlie Edney replaced Brabyn but it was all to no avail as the half finished at 1-1 with neither side looking very threatening.

Thankfully, common sense prevails in this competition and extra time was allowed to be played. The game continued to be very even, and it looked like a mistake may be the only way the deadlock was to be broken. This proved to be the case after 4 minutes when the Falmouth defence were unable to deal with a high ball and it ran through to the experienced Adam Carter. Carter had been kept very quiet by the excellent central defensive pairing of Tom Annear and James Ward, but his class shone through as he carried the ball forward a few paces and rifled it past Coxhead to make it 2-1 to St Austell.

As the game progressed, Falmouth were really struggling to break down the St Austell defence and with a few minutes to go in the 2nd period of extra time, Westgarth threw Ward up front. Falmouth started to play it long and forced St Austell to defend deep. Andreas Calleja-Stayne was tireless in midfield in an amazing display of energy and commitment and within the last two minutes, he unleashed a great half volley from outside the area which crashed against the far post. It was looking like St Austell’s day, but with one minute left, another long ball forward resulted in a deep cross from near the right touch-line. Bradley Leivers rose beyond the far post and headed it back across goal, and St Austell could only clear the ball to James Swan in the 6-yard box who crashed it past Collins for the equalising goal.

Surely the game was to go to penalties, but in the 122nd minute, Tom Annear and Luke Barner had other ideas. Annear crafted a well-weighted ball over the top of the St Austell defence for Barner to run on to. Luke Barner was forced wide to the left of the goal but somehow dragged the ball back and on to his right foot before calmly passing the ball past Collins and into the net for another famous victory for Falmouth Town.

It was very hard luck for St Austell who were excellent throughout the game and surely they must have thought they had won it. They will undoubtedly be a strong addition to the Western League ranks next season on this showing.

What an amazing season it has been for Falmouth Town. Play-off success in the league, an epic run in the FA Vase and culminating in this win in possibly their last outing in the Senior Cup for the foreseeable future, as they will no longer be eligible for this competition given their promotion. Thoughts will now turn to making the changes to Bickland Park and possibly strengthening the team further, in preparation for their first ever season at the heady heights of the Southern League Division One South.

Goal Scorers:

Falmouth Town

Cam Hutchinson 22’

James Swan 119’

Luke Barner 122’

AFC St Austell

Henry Wilson 13’

Adam Carter 94’


Line Ups:

St Austell: Andy Collins, Jake Shaw, Martyn Duff, Henry Wilson, Ollie Brokenshire, Tom Whipp, Neil Slateford, Matt Searle, Adam Carter, Jake Miller, George Marris,

Subs: Liam Eddy, Harvey Hann, Tom Guest, Kieran Bishop, Noah Teagle.