Preview: Helston Athletic v Falmouth Town

Falmouth Town have the chance to avenge Saturday’s FA Cup preliminary round defeat to Helston Athletic immediately when they return to Kellaway Park on Tuesday night (kick-off 7.45pm).

Just three days after the Blues prevailed in a dramatic first-ever FA Cup meeting between the two sides, the teams will do battle again  with Western League Premier Division points up for grabs this time.

It looked as if Town were going to be the ones to advance on Saturday thanks to Tom Moxham’s fortuitous first-half goal, only for Rikki Shepherd to net twice in the dying embers of the tie to send the Blues through.

The Blues will need another saviour this time with Shepherd serving the first of a three-game suspension, but Town boss Andrew Westgarth is optimistic that his team – as long as they put in a similar performance – can get the job done this time.

“It is a little bit strange [playing them for a second time in a row]. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before in my time as manager, but I suppose you’ve got to treat it like a second leg,” Westgarth said. 

“We’ve just got to lick our wounds. We were bitterly disappointed to lose the game but I’m proud of how we played. I thought for large spells of the game we were excellent, but we just fell short in both boxes.”

He added: “We know where we fell short – you’ve got to kill teams off. It was a bit like déjà vu when we lost 4-3 [at Helston in 2020], we were in cruise control at 2-0 and never got the third goal and it came back to bite us.

“The way we played [on Saturday], I’ve got no doubt that we can turn up and put on a performance, we’ve just got to get that mindset right.”

Saturday’s loss ended Town’s run of successive victories, with the Bickland Park outfit having won their three matches prior to the FA Cup tie. After defeating Saltash United 2-1 in the previous round, Town went on to record two league wins against Clevedon Town (4-0) and Torpoint Athletic (3-1).

Those two league wins have taken Town to ninth in the fledgling Western League Premier Division table, with Westgarth’s side just four points behind second-placed Saltash.

“Going into the Helston game [on Saturday] we were on a good run of three wins,” Westgarth said. “Our league form has picked up, and if we were to get a positive result on Tuesday it puts us in a good position in the league.

“I don’t think the spirit is too bad among the boys because we’re a year behind the curve with Helston. They’ve been in the Western League as a club for a season longer than us, they’ve got a lot more experienced players in this division, if not higher.

“Some of our lads haven’t even played SWPL football, they’ve just come straight from the St Piran League. Charlie Edney, Swanny [James Swan] and Kayden [Gordon-Dunn], it’s a great step up for them and I don’t think they looked out of place. Cam [Hutchison] made his first start for us on Saturday and I thought he was excellent, the future’s looking bright for us.”

Last five games (Helston)

Aug 20: Helston Athletic 2-1 Falmouth Town (FA Cup)
Aug 16: Saltash United 1-1 Helston Athletic (League)
Aug 13: Helston Athletic 3-2 Wellington (League)
Aug 6: Street 1-2 Helston Athletic (FA Cup)
Jul 30: Helston Athletic 0-4 Bridgwater United (League)

Last five games (Falmouth)

Aug 20: Helston Athletic 2-1 Falmouth Town (FA Cup)
Aug 17: Falmouth Town 3-1 Torpoint Athletic (League)
Aug 13: Falmouth Town 4-0 Clevedon Town (League)
Aug 6: Falmouth Town 2-1 Saltash United (FA Cup)
Aug 2: Millbrook 3-1 Falmouth Town (League)