Preview: Sticker v Falmouth Town

Falmouth Town face their fourth away game in a week and a half when they head to Sticker for their latest South West Peninsula League Premier West outing on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

It is Town’s fourth successive away trip in the space of 11 days, having won 4-1 in their previous three outings – defeating Dobwalls in their Cornwall Senior Cup semi-final at Wadebridge Town before league victories at St Austell and St Dennis.

Victory against Steve Flack’s side, who are 14th in the division, this weekend will take Andrew Westgarth’s men ever closer to the SWPL Premier West crown, with Town requiring a maximum of 12 points to clinch the title.

It initially seemed that wins in their next three matches against Sticker, St Blazey and title rivals Liskeard Athletic would be enough for Town to clinch the title against the Blues. However, the potentially decisive fixture against the east Cornwall side has now been pushed back to April 26, which means Town now require wins in their next four matches to secure the crown.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match, Westgarth said: “It’ll be in stark contrast from the two pitches we’ve played on in the last two games, obviously both have been challenging but Sticker are renowned for a nice surface.

“I said I haven’t got an amazing record at St Dennis, it’s a tough place to go, and likewise I haven’t got an amazing record at Sticker – not a bad record, but we’ve had tough games up there.

“The lads know that we’re in touching distance but it’s important we don’t look too far ahead. Again, without wanting to repeat myself, the message is the same. We know what we’ve got to to do and you can see that winning mentality in their eyes at the minute, they’re just focused.”

He added: “I think if we look too far ahead then we lose sight of what is most important and the most important thing is three points on Saturday. We’ve got one eye on [the title situation] and we’re fully aware of it, but we’ve been aware of it for weeks.

“It is important that we do get a positive result on Saturday because you don’t want to have that seed of doubt or give Liskeard any confidence or any sniff.”

Town ran out 5-2 winners under the Bickland Park floodlights when the teams met in the reverse fixture in September 2021, with now-departed midfielder Harry Clarke coming off the bench to score twice while Jack Bowyer, Luke Brabyn and David Broglino also netted for Westgarth’s side.

Sticker come into Saturday’s game off the back of a heavy 6-0 home defeat to St Austell on Wednesday night – their first match in more than a month. Rory Jarvis’ hat-trick, Cam Bidgood’s brace and Liam Dingle’s strike condemned Steve Flack’s side to their 17th defeat of the season in only their fifth match of 2022.

Prior to Wednesday night, Sticker had not played since a 2-1 defeat at home to Camelford on February 12. In contrast, Town have played five times since then.

“It’s like trying to stop a moving train: we’re just going from game to game with momentum and confidence,” Westgarth said. “For them, they’re probably trying to stoke a fire again and it’s trying to ignite that confidence and winning mentality.

“There’s a fine line between playing too many games – Liskeard are probably in that trap in that they’ve got loads of games to play, whereas it’s not too bad for us.

“You don’t know what Sticker are going to be like: they could be really refreshed or they could be undercooked, whereas I know we’ll be full of confidence and raring to go. The boys are already talking about it and the game can’t come quickly enough. It’s another game I’m looking forward to.”

Last five games: Sticker

Mar 23: Sticker 0-6 St Austell (SWPL)
Feb 12: Sticker 1-2 Camelford (SWPL)
Feb 5: Sticker 1-0 Wadebridge Town (SWPL)
Jan 22: Sticker 0-3 Launceston (SWPL)
Jan 15: Wendron United 2-1 Sticker (Cornwall Senior Cup)

Last five games: Falmouth Town

Mar 22: St Dennis 1-4 Falmouth Town (SWPL)
Mar 19: St Austell 1-4 Falmouth Town (SWPL)
Mar 15: Falmouth Town 4-1 Dobwalls (Cornwall Senior Cup)
Mar 5: Newquay 0-3 Falmouth Town (SWPL)
Feb 26: Falmouth Town 2-1 St Austell (SWPL)