Preview: Penryn Athletic v Falmouth Town

Falmouth Town head to local rivals Penryn Athletic on Good Friday (kick-off 11am) knowing that they are just 90 minutes away from securing their first league title in 22 years.

Town will be making their first visit to Kernick Road for a league match since the 2006/07 campaign, and one point for Andrew Westgarth’s side will be enough to be crowned South West Peninsula League Premier West champions at the home of their rivals.

That would see Town record their first league title since the 1999/2000 season, when they claimed their 14th and final South Western League championship by the barest of all margins, edging out St Blazey on goal difference.

That could kick off a memorable bank holiday weekend for the club, with Town set to face Wendron United in the final of the Cornwall Senior Cup at Poltair Park on Easter Monday.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s game, Town manager Westgarth said: “It could be one of the most memorable Easters I’ve had in a long time, and not just on a personal level but for the club as well. 

“We’re within touching distance now of potentially having two trophies, which is great. On the flip side we could end up with defeat at Penryn and not win the Senior Cup, which shows the fine margins of sport. 

“It’s a game that everyone’s looking forward to, not just the players but the whole town and the club. It’s a thing that doesn’t come around very often. The club haven’t won the league in 22 years and we’ve only won two Senior Cups since 1979, so it shows how difficult they are to win.”

Town’s relentless domination of the league this season, having dropped just three points all year, means they have kept their destiny firmly in their own hands throughout the campaign.

And after hopes of being crowned champions at Bickland Park last weekend were dashed by a late equaliser for second-placed Liskeard Athletic at Wadebridge Town, this Friday, for the first time, it is solely down to what they do.

“That’s exciting, isn’t it?” Westgarth said. “I think that shows how well we’ve done this year in that it’s in our hands. We’ve just got to be patient and if it doesn’t happen on Friday we don’t need to panic. 

“I’d like to think it would happen [on Friday] but I don’t think we can be too het up if it doesn’t happen on Friday because we’ve put ourselves in a great position.”

Penryn come into Good Friday’s game off the back of what has been a challenging few weeks for the Kernick outfit following the departure of manager Harry Pope.

Pope called time on his spell at the helm of Penryn in January with the managerless outfit defeating struggling Penzance 3-2 in their first match without their former boss, but have lost seven of their eight games since then.

The most recent was a 4-1 defeat to Liskeard on Tuesday night, with Ben Collins, Nick Aplin, James Lorenz and Tom Savigar scoring for the Blues at Lux Park.

That said, Westgarth is all too aware of how the significance of a derby game can be a leveller, with Penryn no doubt eager to play the role of party poopers on Friday.

“It’s been a difficult period for them since Popey left,” he said. “For them it will be like a cup final: the potential league champions are coming to town.

“Naturally, all players raise their game for those sorts of games so we know it’s going to be tough. They gave us two hard games in the previous two [meetings] so we’re expecting no different.”

He added: “They are our rivals so they’re not going to make it easy for us, so we are expecting a tough game. We can’t take anything for granted.”

Last five games: Penryn Athletic

April 12: Liskeard Athletic 4-1 Penryn Athletic (SWPL)
April 9: Penryn Athletic 0-2 St Austell (SWPL)
April 2: Godolphin Atlantic 3-4 Penryn Athletic (SWPL)
March 5: St Blazey 5-0 Penryn Athletic (SWPL)
February 26: Camelford 3-2 Penryn Athletic (SWPL)

Last five games: Falmouth Town

April 9: Falmouth Town 4-0 St Dennis (SWPL)
April 2: St Blazey 0-2 Falmouth Town (SWPL)
March 26: Sticker 1-3 Falmouth Town (SWPL)
March 22: St Dennis 1-4 Falmouth Town (SWPL)
March 19: St Austell 1-4 Falmouth Town (SWPL)