Preview: Falmouth Town v Liskeard Athletic

Falmouth Town can take another huge step towards the South West Peninsula League west division title when they host second-placed Liskeard Athletic this weekend (kick-off 3pm).

Town welcome the Blues to Bickland Park on Saturday knowing that victory will put them 17 points clear of their nearest rivals, who have two games in hand and ten games left to play after Saturday.

Victory would see Town complete the league double over Lee Mann’s side, with goals from James Ward, Luke Barner and David Broglino sealing a 3-1 win at the Blues’ Lux Park at the start of December.

The game marks the start of an important double-header for the Bickland Park outfit, with Town set to face Dobwalls in the semi-final of the Cornwall Senior Cup three days later.

Speaking ahead of the game, Town manager Andrew Westgarth said: “It’s the start of a defining week for us. Hopefully the weather does clear up because the last time we played them it was played on a pudding, although obviously it came out in our favour.

“St Blazey was also played on a tough pitch which is a bit of a spoiler, but it’s a game we’re all looking forward to. We all knew it was coming on the horizon and whatever the outcome, a positive result can really shape both of our seasons.”

On the mouth watering prospect of the team’s crucial league-cup double-header over the next few days, Westgarth added: “That’s where we want to be. If you want to be in and around the trophies, this is what happens, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I was disappointed to lose in the League Cup, we want to be fighting on all fronts. It should be nothing to be feared, this week, it should be exciting. 

“I want to be in top-of-the-table clashes, I want to be in semi-finals and finals. It’s a great time to be playing for Falmouth Town at the minute and these moments should be relished.”

The Blues have enjoyed an excellent 2021/22 campaign, with that defeat to Town in December their only league reverse to date. Mann’s charges have won 16 and drawn four of their other 20 league games this term, with their most recent win coming last weekend when goals from Nick Aplin (2) and James Lorenz secured a narrow 3-2 win at home to Godolphin Atlantic.

That goal for Lorenz takes him to 22 for the season and moves him up to third in the league’s goalscoring chart, level with Luke Cloke of Callington Town and St Blazey’s Liam Eddy.

“I’ve been in Liskeard’s position myself when you’re chasing and sometimes it’s the hope that can kill you,” Westgarth said. “Naturally we’ll be the first fixture they look for and the pressure is on them not only to keep pace but not to fall away themselves. 

“I think they’re aware that if we get three points [on Saturday] then it’s a tough ask [for them to win the title from there]. I know there’s still a lot of football to go but it can put us in a very good position, but on the other hand if they beat us, it’s game on again. There’s a lot riding on it.”

Last five games: Falmouth Town

Mar 5: Newquay 0-3 Falmouth Town (SWPL)

Feb 26: Falmouth Town 2-1 St Austell (SWPL)

Feb 19: Falmouth Town 2-3 St Blazey (SWPL)

Feb 12: Falmouth Town 7-1 Godolphin Atlantic (SWPL)

Feb 5: Bodmin Town 1-4 Falmouth Town (SWPL)

Last five games: Liskeard Athletic

Mar 5: Liskeard Athletic 3-2 Godolphin Atlantic (SWPL)

Feb 26: St Dennis 1-6 Liskeard Athletic (SWPL)

Feb 12: Penryn Athletic 1-3 Liskeard Athletic (SWPL)

Feb 5: St Austell 1-1 Liskeard Athletic (SWPL)

Jan 29: Liskeard Athletic 2-2 Camelford (SWPL)