JERSEY BULLS 0-3 FALMOUTH TOWN
Falmouth Town upset the form book in this memorable overseas cup-tie against Jersey Bull’s in the Channel Islands who were second favourites to win the FA Vase outright. Roared on by the raucous F-Troop who had descended on the island using all means of transport available, the players responded to that massive show of loyalty with a performance right out of the top drawer to book a place in the FA Vase Quarter-finals for only the second time in their history.
With talismanic defender Tom Annear unavailable due to the questionable FA Vase rule regarding two yellow cards resulting in a one game ban, Andreas Calleja-Stayne started at centre-back with Jack Webber replacing him in the midfield. Olly Walker came in at left midfield and Jacob Grange started in the No. 10 role with Luke Brabyn assuming his normal Vase role as the lone striker.
In front of the near 1,000 capacity stand, and on an unfamiliar 4G surface, Falmouth may have been forgiven for starting the game nervously, but instead they went toe-to-toe with the home side in a very even first 15 minutes. However, the game was soon to change following a controversial decision by the referee on 17 minutes. Olly Walker was looking a threat in the opening exchanges as he seemed to have the Jersey right-back for pace. The ball was played over the top and Walker raced to get to it before Roche in the Jersey goal. They both seemed to reach it at the same moment but the referee ruled that Walker had got their first and Roche had subsequently fouled him. The penalty was given, Roche was booked and Jared Sims stepped up to take the penalty in front of an expectant F-Troop behind the goal who had totally out sung the superior numbers of the Jersey supporters. Jared Sims confidently placed the ball to the keepers right to make the score 1-0 to Falmouth Town and then the Bulls assistant manager was sent to the stands for contesting the original decision.
The game continued with neither side really dominating, but Falmouth were indebted to keeper Morgan Coxhead for keeping their lead towards the end of the half when he saved low to his left from a promising Jersey attack. Jersey No:11 Miguel Carvalho particularly looked menacing when he received the ball wide on the left and ran at James Swan but without managing a decisive end-product. The Bulls influential No.9 Lorne Bickley, was a key player for the home side but James Ward put in a magnificent performance throughout to ensure Bickley could not get into the game at all. Ultimately, this was to earn him the man of the match title in front of many other impressive Falmouth performances.
The second half again started evenly although Jersey earned a couple of free-kicks in promising positions just outside of the Falmouth box which ultimately came to nothing. After 12 minutes, Falmouth forced a corner from the right-hand side. Luke Barner took it short to Jared Sims who swung the ball over to Olly Walker at the far post who struck it past the keeper first time to make the score 2-0 to Falmouth.
One minute after the goal, Falmouth manager Andy Westgarth then made his first change withdrawing James Swan and replacing him with Cam Hutchinson. Jacob Grange dropping to right-back and Hutchinson replacing Grange in his favoured No:10 role. The Falmouth faithful looked on nervously expecting their highly rated opponents to step up their play but it never really happened. In a curious move, the dangerous Carvalho was replaced on 23 minutes. Falmouth then replaced Jack Webber with Tom Fisher to maybe strengthen defensively.
On 27 minutes, the Bulls took a quick corner from the right which resulted in a powerful goal-bound header, however Coxhead saved Falmouth again with a superb save to calm Falmouth’s nerves as he turned in one of his best performances when it mattered most.
Alex Wharton replaced Olly Walker on 31 minutes but it was Jersey who had the next chance. From another free kick just outside the area, the ball was struck goalwards and it seemed to go over Coxhead and the net rippled. The big stand cheered as they thought Jersey had scored but in fact it had cleared the crossbar. A nervous moment for the Town faithful.
The game continued with Falmouth looking increasingly comfortable but the coup de gras was to come in the 87th minute. Luke Brabyn, who as usual had worked tirelessly all game occupying the Bulls defenders and retaining possession when needed, slotted a through ball in to Cam Hutchinson, he beat his man and carried the ball to the left-hand side of the area and calmly side-footed the ball past the keeper. A great goal and a reward for a player who would have been disappointed not to have started. He fell over in relief and then embraced the F-Troop behind the goal as everyone knew there was no way back for the home side from there.
Falmouth saw the game out to achieve a historic victory and earn their place in the last eight of the FA Vase. Whilst the players and management were being interviewed by the various commentators and reporters, the F-Troop gathered in the main stand to go through their repertoire of songs in some amazing and memorable scenes for the club. What a day!
Looking forward to the FA Vase draw on Monday, the quality of opponents will no doubt increase and Falmouth will be hoping for a home tie in front of a big crowd to gain any advantage they can. After having beaten the second favourites, Town have been installed as joint 3rd favourites to win the whole thing behind Worcester City and Emley. Only two more ties to negotiate to achieve the remarkable feat of a Wembley final!!!
DARE TO DREAM!!!
Jersey Bulls: Pierce Roche, Johnny Le Quesne, Fergus Boyle, Ben Le Rougetel, Luke Campbell ©, Joe Kilshaw, Fraser Barlow, Kamen Nafhka, Lorne Bickley, Luke Watson, Miguel Carvalho. Subs: Trotter, Giles, Carr, Tobin, Lekimamati, Mendes, Naka.
Falmouth Town: Morgan Coxhead, James Swan, James Ward©, Andreas Calleja-Stayne, Bradley Leivers, Luke Brabyn, Jack Webber, Jared Sims, Luke Barner, Jacob Grange, Olly Walker. Subs: Max Everall, Cam Hutchinson, Tom Fisher, Ryan Barnes, Kian Thomas.