Preview: Ashton & Backwell United v Falmouth Town

Falmouth Town face the second leg of their Bank Holiday weekend double-header as they make the trip to Ashton & Backwell United this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Less than 48 hours after securing victory over St Austell to reach the second qualifying round of the FA Vase on Saturday, Town are back in Western League action on Monday afternoon with league points on offer on this occasion.

Two games in three days isn’t something Town have been used to facing in recent seasons, with the last time Town faced two games in such quick succession coming at the tail end of a rain-affected 2017/18 campaign when the Bickland Park outfit played 12 times in the final 35 days of the season.

With the temperature expected to reach the mid-20s again and pitches being typically rock-hard at this time of year, two games in three days is hardly ideal, especially with a long bus journey in Bank Holiday traffic, but first-team coach Charlie Davis insisted that the team will prepare for the game as best they can.

“Physically for the boys, it’s really difficult at the moment with the pitches: it’s hard on the joints, your muscles, it’s difficult on your feet with blisters and it’s difficult to manage that,” Davis said after Saturday’s victory. “But the boys look after themselves. We approach games in the right way, I feel, or as best as we can as a group and we’ll do the same on Monday. 

“Hopefully with the way we’ve lined the team up [on Saturday] we’ve got a few people that are fresh for Monday’s fixture and we can alter the squad and make use of it.”

The two teams have only met once since the Somerset side became Ashton & Backwell United in 2010, following a merger between Backwell United and Ashton Boys, with that coming in the 2014/15 FA Vase second qualifying round, with Town prevailing 3-2 at Bickland Park on that occasion.

The Stags finished second from bottom in their debut Western League Premier Division campaign under their new name last season, which would have been enough for relegation had Brislington not asked for voluntary demotion at the end of the campaign.

Tony Beecham’s side won seven games last season but have already triumphed three times in their seven outings this term, with the Stags sitting three places and three points above Town – albeit having played two more games.

After a series of home fixtures in league and cup with their furthest away day so far coming at fellow Cornish club Millbrook, this game could be seen as Town’s first real Western League trip, with Town making the 334-mile round trip to Somerset this afternoon.

These trips towards Somerset and Bristol will become a fairly regular occurrence as the season progresses, but Davis feels these journeys could actually have a positive effect on his tightly-knit squad.

“I think that is where I start to think that we’ve got something good here as far as our team spirit,” Davis said. “Those bus trips are where some of your memories are made and we’ve had some great times away as a group so far, and to take that further afield is a new experience for everyone. 

“Hopefully we can get some success from going away from home this year, but it’s also a bit of an unknown, so we can only prep as best as we can and hopefully we’re successful.”

Last five games – Ashton & Backwell United:

Aug 27: Ashton & Backwell United 2-1 Knaphill (FA Vase)
Aug 24: Street 1-0 Ashton & Backwell United (League)
Aug 20: Ashton & Backwell United 4-0 Welton Rovers (League)
Aug 16: Bitton 1-2 Ashton & Backwell United (League)
Aug 13: Ashton & Backwell United 0-0 Mousehole (League)

Last five games – Falmouth Town:

Aug 27: Falmouth Town 3-1 St Austell (FA Vase)
Aug 23: Helston Athletic 2-1 Falmouth Town (League)
Aug 20: Helston Athletic 2-1 Falmouth Town (FA Cup)
Aug 17: Falmouth Town 3-1 Torpoint Athletic (League)
Aug 13: Falmouth Town 4-0 Clevedon Town (League)