Preview: Shepton Mallet v Falmouth Town

Falmouth Town will be hoping to extend their current unbeaten run to five games when they visit Shepton Mallet in the Western League for the first time on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Andrew Westgarth’s side are enjoying another fine run of form as the end of the season nears, having taken seven points on the road from their recent trio of trips to Cadbury Heath, Street and Wellington before triumphing 2-0 at home to Welton Rovers last weekend.

Town now find themselves in eighth position in the league, and a positive result on Saturday would go a long way to securing a top-half finish in what is the team’s first season back at Step 5 since 1983.

Opposition view

Somerset outfit Shepton Mallet are led by Aaron Seviour, who took over following the departure of previous managers Craig Loxton and John Durbin in November. The duo guided the side to a sixth-place finish last season – the joint highest finish since they were promoted into the division in 2014, and indeed the joint highest finish in the club’s history. 

After reforming in 1986 following the demise of Shepton Mallet Town, the Somerset side rose through the county leagues in the late 90s before joining the Western League in 2001, spending 13 years in Division 1 before winning promotion to the Premier Division in 2013/14. The Mallet recorded a sixth-place finish in 2017/18, which was their highest finish ever before that was equalled last season.

The side enjoyed a stunning start to the 2022/23 campaign, winning each of their first eight league games – scoring 18 and conceding just two along the way. However, the Somerset club have added just five wins to that figure in their 19 league games since, with Mallet now sitting in seventh – one place and five points above Town.

The Mallet have scored 70 goals in all competitions this season, with Joseph Morgan leading the way with 11 strikes in 20 games, while Danny Constable and Jacob Sloggett have netted eight goals apiece.

Westy’s words

“The away trips are coming thick and fast at the minute, off the back of those three long ones [at Cadbury Heath, Street and Wellington], to have one at home and then two on the bounce away again… but we knew this was coming.

“You couldn’t go to a harder place really, their record is unbelievable. They’ve only lost two at home all season and that was to Mousehole and Bridgwater, so no shame in that. You talk about fortresses, we’re going to one – but these are the sort of games we really look forward to, against these top sides.

“I’m really looking forward to the game, to see where we’re at. We’ve done all right with our away form, I wouldn’t say we’re flying but we hold our own away now. The Street one was a good result [1-1 draw] considering who we had out, and I don’t want to speak too soon but we seem to have got a bit of a squad back together now.

“If we can finish as high as we can then it gives us confidence going into next season, which is what you want. We definitely, as a club, don’t want the season to peter out, we’re still as hungry as ever.”

Last five games – Falmouth Town:
Mar 18: Falmouth Town 2-0 Welton Rovers (League)
Mar 11: Wellington 0-2 Falmouth Town (League)
Mar 4: Street 1-1 Falmouth Town (League)
Feb 25: Cadbury Heath 0-2 Falmouth Town (League)
Feb 21: Helston Athletic 2-1 Falmouth Town (Les Phillips Cup)

Last five games – Shepton Mallet:
Mar 18: Shepton Mallet 3-3 Mousehole (League)
Mar 14: Shepton Mallet 4-4 Torpoint Athletic (League)
Mar 11: Bridgwater United 1-0 Shepton Mallet (League)
Feb 28: Shepton Mallet 1-1 Street (League)
Feb 25: Shepton Mallet 0-0 Clevedon Town (League)