Preview: Saltash United v Falmouth Town

Falmouth Town will aim to sign off for 2022 with another three points when they visit table toppers Saltash United in the Western League on Boxing Day (kick-off 12pm).

This festive fixture at Waterways Stadium will be both sides’ final match of the year, with Town hoping to go into 2023 with an early present of back-to-back league victories for the first time since the middle of August.

Victory on Boxing Day could see Town jump as many as two places to eighth, while league leaders Saltash could lose their place at the summit if they fail to win and nearest rivals Bridgwater United do.

The two sides met at Bickland Park back in August when goals from James Swan and Alex Wharton gave Town a 2-1 victory in the FA Cup extra preliminary round. It is one of only three defeats in all competitions for the Ashes this term.

About the opposition

Saltash are led by Danny Lewis, who takes sole charge of the Ashes for the first time on Boxing Day following the departure of former co-manager Shane Krac two weeks ago.

The Ashes are playing their second successive Western League campaign after the east Cornwall outfit were one of four Cornish clubs to receive promotion from the South West Peninsula League in 2021.

Saltash are having a fine 2022/23 season thus far and sit at the top of the Western League Premier Division having won 15 and drawn five of their 21 league games to date.

The Ashes are enjoying an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions, with their last defeat – and only league loss – coming at second-placed Bridgwater United at the end of September.

Saltash have scored 62 goals in all competitions this season, with Adam Carter leading the way with ten strikes in 12 games, while Mike Smith is next with six goals this term.

Westy’s words

“I’ve never had to travel this far for a Boxing Day game. I’ve played at Helston, Porthleven or Penzance with Falmouth but this is obviously a different proposition. [Saltash are] top of the league and that itself will present a challenge. 

“You’d like to think we’re going to win an away game at some point and there’s no better place to try and do that than the current league leaders.

“Hopefully we can finish the year on a high. It’s a lot to take in, going into a new league and new challenges, but I think we’ve steadied the ship a little bit. Obviously we’ve had to deal with people leaving and stuff like that but I’m looking forward to it, you always want to play on Boxing Day – it’s always a game you look forward to.

“Potentially we could be ending the year playing first place and starting the [next] year playing first place if we beat Saltash [and if Bridgwater go above the Ashes] and there’s no tougher test than that.”

Last five games – Falmouth Town:
Dec 10: Falmouth Town 5-4 Barnstaple Town (League)
Dec 3: Torpoint Athletic 1-1 Falmouth Town (League)
Nov 19: Falmouth Town 2-1 Ashton & Backwell United (League)
Nov 12: Laverstock & Ford 2-1 Falmouth Town (FA Vase)
Nov 9: Falmouth Town 0-2 Wendron United (Senior Cup)

Last five games – Saltash United:

Dec 3: Saltash United 2-2 Ilfracombe Town (League)
Nov 19: Wellington 1-1 Saltash United (League)
Nov 12: Sherborne Town 0-2 Saltash United (League)
Nov 8: Saltash United 5-3 Mousehole (Senior Cup)
Nov 5: Saltash United 9-0 Welton Rovers (League)