Westgarth hails ‘perfect response’ to cup heartache

Falmouth Town boss Andrew Westgarth felt his side provided the ‘perfect response’ to last week’s League Cup defeat in their dominant display in their 4-1 hammering of Bodmin Town on Saturday.

South West Peninsula League Premier West leaders Town, who are yet to drop a single point this term, suffered only their second defeat of the season in their Walter C Parson League Cup third round tie at Okehampton Argyle least weekend.

All eyes were on Town to see how they would react to that rare loss when they made the trip to Priory Park on Saturday, with the league leaders allaying any concerns with a dominant display from start to finish.

Tim Nixon’s strike inside two minutes set the tone for a dominant afternoon from a Falmouth perspective, with Luke Barner doubling the advantage midway through the half.

Levi Landricombe halved the deficit from the penalty spot shortly before the interval, only for Jack Bray-Evans to swiftly restore Town’s two-goal lead deep into first-half stoppage time, with James Ward heading home late on to cap off a fine afternoon’s work.

“It was a perfect response after the disappointment of last week,” Westgarth said. “I probably took it a bit personally last week, at the end of the day it’s down to me to motivate the guys and get the guys ready for the game and I take full responsibility for last week, so to get the response we got [against Bodmin] was really pleasing.”

He continued: “Literally from the first minute, scoring so early in the game settled us down and I thought we were at it all game. I suppose the one blip would be the penalty which was a bit soft, but I think that’s the only shot they had on target. 

“I thought the guys that came in, Ade [Thompson] and Tom [Moxham], and our attacking play, some of the moves we made in the second half were excellent. Some of the goals we scored were really, really good team goals. 

“I suppose the key goal was Jack Bray-Evans’ goal just before half-time just to give us that buffer because we were in total control in the first half. To go to 2-1, to concede like that, you don’t know how the game is going to play out, but to go in 3-1 up made the team talk a little bit different.

“I was really proud of the lads because questions would have been asked of us, ‘how do we respond after a bad defeat?’ All eyes would have been on our result and I’m sure people might have been thinking, ‘Are Falmouth going to suffer another defeat or are they going to respond to it?’

“Anybody watching that game would have seen complete dominance all over the park, our fitness levels were brilliant, a really, really good performance – a great way of bouncing back.”

A familiar face proved to be a thorn in the side of Town’s attackers throughout the game. Home goalkeeper Adam Robathan, formerly of Falmouth, was making his debut for Bodmin having joined from Penryn Athletic earlier in the week, and while he had to pick the ball out of his net four times, his excellent shot-stopping display meant he prevented the score from being a lot heavier.

“I thought Adam had a great game,” Westgarth said. “I suppose from his point of view it’s an odd one because they lost 4-1, but he can be really proud of his efforts. 

“It’s a difficult start for him, I think in his head he probably would have thought, ‘I’d love a nice easy start, keep it tight, take a couple in my hands or a couple of goal kicks just to get a touch of the ball,’ and then we’ve scored within about ten seconds!

“[Despite being limited to one goal in the second half] I was still really, really pleased with our attacking play and some of the football we played. But I was more pleased with our defence – we just did not give them a sniff. I can’t remember anything they had in the second half, I thought we were so dominant.

“It’s a really good away win because Bodmin is a really tough place to go and you’ve got to give Darren [Gilbert] his dues, they’re always well-organised and he always gets a team together.”

After coming off the bench in last week’s cup defeat, Ade Thompson came in for Kirk Davies at right-back to make his first start for Town since a 3-0 win at home to Callington Town at the end of September.

The right-sided man, who arrived at Bickland Park in the summer after moving down to Cornwall, sustained an injury in that game and had not featured at all until last week’s substitute appearance across the border.

Some four months and 15 matches had passed between then and Saturday, but he slipped back into the starting line-up seamlessly and earned the man-of-the-match award from his team-mates, with his manager echoing his players’ sentiments.

“His attitude has been brilliant,” Westgarth said. “He trains every week and he’s kept in good shape and I thought he fully deserved his start and I thought he repaid that with a great performance.”

Saturday’s win was made all the more sweet when news filtered through that title challengers Liskeard Athletic had drawn 2-2 at home to Camelford.

That result means Town are now 15 points clear of the second-placed Blues, having played two more games than the Lux Park outfit.

“All we can do is look after ourselves but obviously it was well-received when we heard they had dropped points,” Westgarth said. “To be fair, at full-time we thought they had lost 2-1, but by the time we got back in the changing room it was 2-2, but either way it was still nice that they dropped points. 

“Obviously it makes that result [against Bodmin] massive, because if we had a disappointing result and they had won, then the pressure would have been on us. 

“But that’s where we’ve been really good this year: even when we score goals, teams have a little sniff of getting in the game, then we blow them away. Overall, it was a good afternoon’s work.”