FALMOUTH Town ended the 2017/18 season in the best way imaginable on Saturday, May 12, beating Tavistock 4-2 after extra-time to lift the Walter C Parson League Cup.

Andrew Westgarth’s side’s journey to their first League Cup crown in almost 20 years and first-ever in the South West Peninsula League era began back in September 2017, when rivals Helston Athletic visited Bickland Park under the Friday night lights.

Falmouth took the lead after 12 minutes when Ollie Moody’s low cross fell to Marcello Jones, who calmly stroked the ball past Barrie Wyatt. Buoyed by that goal, Falmouth dominated the remainder of the half and threatened to extend their lead.

But whatever was said in Helston’s dressing room at half-time appeared to work as Charlie Young missed two chances before Ryan Barnes saved from Dan Stidwell within minutes of the restart.

But just as Helston were building up a head of steam, Falmouth doubled their lead. Luke Brabyn’s surging run found Jones whose shot was saved, but Harry Clarke slotted in the rebound.

Falmouth had the chance to wrap up the game from the spot when Jones was brought down in the box. He stepped up but Helston keeper Wyatt saved the kick, but it mattered little as Town safely booked their spot in the second round, where they would face holders St Austell.

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David Broglino shields the ball for Town as Helston’s Phil Cattran closes him down. Picture by Colin Higgs

Falmouth almost took the lead on nine minutes at the Lillywhites’ Poltair Park when Jones flicked Ollie Moody’s throw-in into the path of Jordan Annear, but his shot was blocked by St Austell keeper Jason Chapman.

Town’s opener came on 20 minutes when Annear led a counter-attack into the St Austell half before playing in Jones, who fired into the top corner from just inside the box. Jones nearly grabbed a second six minutes later but was superbly denied by Chapman, before Ryan Barnes performed similar heroics to deny Mark Goldsworthy shortly after.

St Austell were level moments after half-time when Joe Cooper brought down Liam Eddy in the box. Barnes tipped Chris Reski’s spot-kick onto the post but Reski converted the rebound.

The hosts began to dominate but found themselves behind again in the 64th minute, when Jones took advantage of a howler from Chapman to tap into an empty net. St Austell began to lay siege to the Falmouth goal, but Barnes was equal to all that they threw at him, saving Eddy’s shot before tipping Will Tinsley’s effort onto the crossbar.

Falmouth put daylight between themselves and their opponents on 74 minutes when Luke Brabyn’s through ball split the St Austell defence, and Annear stroked the ball into the corner.

A disappointing afternoon for the home side was complete when defender Martin Giles was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Jones.

That set up a third-round tie back at Bickland, where SWPL Division 1 East club Torridgeside would provide the opposition for the very first time.

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Town forward Marcello Jones terrorises the Torridgeside defence. Picture by Colin Higgs

Town took the lead after 12 minutes when the outstanding Jones linked up with strike partner Annear, whose low shot squirmed under the body of keeper Adam Williams.

Town doubled their lead midway through the half when Olly Walker’s cross met the head of Brabyn, whose firm downward header went in via the legs of a defender.

Three minutes later Jones and Annear produced a stunning one-two inside the area and Jones slotted home the return pass as Falmouth threatened to run riot.

With 22 minutes to go, a pinpoint clearance from Harry McMellon sent Jones away and he produced a sublime finish, clipping the ball low past Williams’ left hand to put Falmouth out of sight at 4-0.

The visitors did grab a consolation through Rob Holland, but Town were long since safely through to the last eight, which would prove to be a feisty affair with Torpoint Athletic at Bickland Park.

The big talking point of the tie came on the half-hour mark, when a scuffle between the two sides resulted in Jones picking up a second yellow card after he was booked 10 minutes earlier. Torpoint boss Dean Cardew was also sent to the stands.

Town took the lead in first-half added time when David Broglino sprinted down the left flank and crossed to Annear, who steered the ball into the far corner.

Their momentum continued into the second half as Brabyn struck to double the hosts’ lead on 48 minutes.

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Tempers flare during Town’s 2-1 win over Torpoint. Picture by Colin Higgs

However, their celebrations were tempered four minutes later when Torpoint’s Gary Hird saw his shot blocked, but it fell to Curtis Damerell who smashed home.

The visitors had chances to equalise, with Danny Zalick seeing his effort tipped over by Barnes, before Damerell headed wide shortly after as a relieved Town sealed their spot in the semi-finals.

Their opponents at Sticker’s Burngullow Park were 2015 winners Godolphin Atlantic, and what a tie it would prove to be.

A quiet first 60 minutes were in stark contrast to the second 60, with Broglino giving Town the lead on 64 minutes with an unstoppable shot from 25 yards that flew into the top corner.

Falmouth looked to be heading to the final, but Godolphin sent the game to extra-time in the 77th minute when substitute Kyle Brown scored on the half-volley.

Falmouth dominated extra-time and came close to regaining the lead with Brabyn and Wearne both forcing saves out of Godolphin goalkeeper Ethan Fearn.

But in Godolphin’s sole attack of the first half, Brown went down under a challenge from David Blizzard and referee Lee Dudman awarded a penalty, which Ben Colquhoun fired into the roof of the net.

Time was running out for Falmouth, but they managed it in the 108th minute with a penalty of their own. Olly Walker was sent tumbling and Broglino stepped up to level the scores.

Only four minutes passed before Town had turned the tie on its head once again, with Walker crossing for Brabyn to head home at the far post and send the Falmouth bench wild.

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The first extra time goal for Falmouth in the League Cup final. Picture by Colin Higgs

Town were given another penalty when Wearne hit the deck in the 118th minute, with Broglino completing his hat-trick and apply the finishing touch on an excellent night for him and the club.

The final hurdle in Town’s path to the title was a formidable one, with the previous year’s SWPL Premier champions and that season’s runners-up Tavistock providing the opposition for Westgarth’s men at the showpiece match at Wadebridge Town’s Bodieve Park.

What made the match all the more notable was that Stuart Henderson’s Lambs had inflicted a 7-0 hammering on Town at their Bickland Park home on the opening day of the season. Now Town had their chance to exact the ultimate revenge in the final game of the campaign.

Both sides started well in Wadebridge and had early chances, with Marcello Jones scoring for Town only for it to be disallowed after Annear had collided with Tavistock goalkeeper Josh Oak moments earlier.

Jones fired wide shortly after as Town began to stamp their authority on the game, but Tavvy took the lead when Grant slid in to steer Dave Hallett’s free-kick past Ryan Barnes at the near post.

Oak was a key reason for Tavistock’s half-time lead, stopping Jordan Annear’s powerful drive and James Ward’s header before producing a marvellous reaction save from Brabyn in the last seconds of the half.

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The victorious Falmouth Town team of 2018. Picture by Colin Higgs

Town’s pressure continued into the second half and they got their reward in the 51st minute, when Ryan Martt flicked Brabyn’s throw-in towards Annear who fired an unstoppable acrobatic volley past Oak from six yards.

Tempers began to flare on the pitch following a foul on Falmouth right-back David Blizzard, with Lambs duo Warren Daw and Josh Robins both fortunate to only receive yellows for their part in the incident.

Town channelled their frustration positively and took the lead in the 68th minute. Oak tipped Brabyn’s shot towards Annear who returned the ball to the six-yard box towards Jack Webber, but it was Brabyn who steamed in to fire the loose ball into the net.

Falmouth just had to hold out for another 20 minutes or so, but the Lambs were level on 79 minutes thanks to super-sub Sullivan, who struck a brilliant effort past Barnes.

Tavistock had the better of the first half of extra-time, but Annear scored what turned out to be the winner moments before half-time when he slotted past Oak after good work from Brabyn.

Annear completed his hat-trick in the second half when Rob Wearne forced an error out of Oak, allowing his strike partner to lob into an empty net and get the Ambers’ party started.

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Town captain Joe Cooper lifts the League Cup. Picture by Colin Higgs

“It’s been an unbelievable year,” manager Andrew Westgarth said. “At the start of the season our objective, being at the time a mid-table side, was to win a cup or get to a final.

“If someone had said to me you could win the cup and come third, I’d have bitten their hand off.”