Falmouth Town ended a run of three successive Western League defeats after a hard-fought goalless draw with Helston Athletic in awful conditions at Bickland Park on Wednesday night.
Intermittent spells of torrential rain contributed to what was a turgid affair between the two local rivals, with 420 hardy souls braving the wet weather to witness Town’s first stalemate since the opening day of the 2019/20 South West Peninsula League Premier West season.
In-form winger Tim Nixon came closest for Town when his free-kick smashed against the crossbar in the first half, while Rubin Wilson and Sam Carter had the best chances for the visitors after the break when they were thwarted by Ryan Barnes – who earned his second clean sheet of the season – and Kayden Gordon-Dunn respectively.
The point sees Town rise two places to 13th in the Western League Premier Division table, while Helston climb one place to seventh.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the opening quarter of the game as both sides got to grips with the challenging conditions on the rain-soaked Bickland Park surface. The first real effort at goal in the 23rd minute perhaps should have brought the opener, with Luke Barner steering the rebound wide from six yards after Tom Annear’s header was blocked by a blue shirt.
Another downpour after the half-hour mark made conditions even tougher, and Helston were almost caught out when Isaac Burdon’s overhit backpass left Cory Harvey scrambling, with the Blues gloveman just about managing to scramble the ball away before Alex Wharton could pinch it.
The visitors had to wait until the 42nd minute for their best opportunity of the half. Rikki Shepherd slipped Blues debutant Teigan Rosenquest through on the left of the box but the new recruit’s heavy touch forced him wide, with his effort from a narrow angle being headed away.
Town almost broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time and it would have been in some style if it had been. The hosts won a free-kick 25 yards from goal towards the corner of the box, and Nixon, who has already scored three free-kicks this term, proceeded to thunder it against the crossbar.
Both sides stepped up their efforts after the turnaround with Jack Webber rolling one shot wide before drawing a save out of Harvey with another, with Tom Payne testing Barnes’ handling at the other end with an audacious volley from distance.
The hosts almost had a way through when Blues defender Harrison Jewell nodded Annear’s pass into the path of Nixon, who bore down on goal before seeing his effort blocked by a last-ditch challenge.
Helston were looking dangerous on the break and it looked as if Wilson might have been set to grab the opening goal with 15 minutes to play when he wriggled free inside the box and drove at goal, with Barnes doing brilliantly to tip the ball behind.
Nixon was involved again as the game entered the final ten minutes with his corner finding Annear, whose header was scrambled off the line, but it was Helston who almost stole it late on when Sam Carter’s shot beat the onrushing Barnes, only for Gordon-Dunn to provide a crucial block inside the six-yard box before Scott Kellow bundled it away from danger.
Falmouth: R Barnes, S Kellow, T Moxham, J Webber, T Annear, K Gordon-Dunn, L Brabyn, A Calleja-Stayne, A Wharton (C Edney 77), L Barner (C Hutchison 68), T Nixon. Subs (unused): J Swan, O Pickup, A Westgarth.
Helston: C Harvey, I Burdon, T Rosenquest, J Bentley (T Hands 67), H Jewell, A Bentley, T Payne (K Cornish 60), M Bye, R Wilson, R Shepherd (J Copp HT), S Carter. Subs (unused): N West, F Walter.