Carey resignation caps dismal week for Town
Blake, Corin, McWililams, Dent
Falmouth Town 3 (aet)
Vercesi (2), Devine.
Falmouth Town crashed out of the Throgmorton Cup on Friday night after losing away at struggling Penzance in a game which proved to be manager Alan Carey’s last in charge of the club.
After almost four years in charge of the club, Carey stepped down from his position on Sunday night.
Falmouth Town director of football Steve Kimberley paid tribute to Carey, with whom he enjoyed a close working relationship.
“I just want to thank him for everything he’s done,” Kimberley said.
“The man worked incredibly hard both on and off the field and I wish him all the best for the future.”
Town welcomed several players back from the treatment table after last week's successful trip north to Cullompton Rangers, but even with their numbers bolstered Carey's side lacked any real fluency in midfield, or a cutting edge in attack.
The game was bitty, even frustrating at times, with both sides seemingly incapable of stringing more than a couple of passes together before giving the ball away.
Penzance for their part oscillated wildly between the sublime and the shambolic, the latter exemplified by the total absence of marking which allowed Town skipper Mark Vercesi to rise unchallenged in the six yard box and nod in the opener on two minutes. It was enough to send Magpies manager John Dent into an arm-waving fit of rage on the touchline.
Carey remained motionless in his technical area, hands shoved deep into his pockets as he watched his side celebrate. Speaking earlier in the week, the Falmouth manager had warned that he expected the home side would prove stern opposition - for Carey, a single goal was never going to be enough.
Even so, when Vercesi popped up in the six yard box to nod in another Wayne Quinn corner and put Falmouth two up, it was difficult to see a way back for the Magpies.
But perhaps because this was a cup game, or perhaps because expectations are so low around Penlee Park at the moment after seeing their side ship an astonishing 69 goals in the league, Dent's side seemed to shrug the two goal deficit off.
They pressed forward, with Harry Corin particularly lively down the right, though in doing so huge gaps appeared at the back which Town did their best to exploit with a series of long balls for Vercesi and Squires to chase.
Elsewhere for Falmouth Lewis Caspell was making a nuisance of himself down the left, and for a time it seemed that for all Penzance's huffing and puffing, their naivety at the back would be their undoing, as the tricky Town winger fired a series of crosses deep into the box that the hosts were lucky to scramble clear.
Then two minutes into the second half everything changed.
Jeremy Blake put Penzance back into the game with a decent finish from close range, and suddenly Falmouth's aura of invincibility seemed to evaporate into the night air. The Magpies sensed an upset in the offing and began to cycle up smoothly through gears no one knew they had.
Spurred on by Dent, whose constant barracking of the referee incensed Carey and director of football Steve Kimberley on the Falmouth bench, Penzance played their way back into it and suddenly it was Falmouth who found themselves on the back foot.
Corin went close, forcing a fingertip save from Jason Chapman in a one-on-one with the Falmouth 'keeper. Then Liam Dent, on as a second-half substitute, spooned a shot over from eight yards out when he should have done better.
By this point Falmouth were doing some huffing and puffing of their own as tackles flew in from both sides. Even so, it seemed Penzance were destined to crash out of the only competition in which they have registered a win this season, until two minutes from time Corin slotted in from wide on the right after turning his marker inside out, to put the game into extra time.
Carey paced out into the centre of the pitch to deliver what would be his final team talk as Falmouth Town manager, hands still shoved deep in the pockets of his overcoat, brow furrowed.
And whatever he said seemed to have worked as after the restart Falmouth enjoyed a spell of pressure.
But Corin would again prove Town's nemesis as he teed-up substitute Joel McWilliams to put Penzance 3-2 up, before Ryan Holland saw red for a push on Blake.
And it was left to Liam Dent to seal an astonishing comeback, heading home a perfectly weighted cross at the back post with ten minutes to go.
Town pulled one back at the death courtesy of Jamie Devine's late strike to set up a frantic finale which saw Vercesi go close, but it was too little too late.
“I felt we took them for granted,” said Carey after the game, “our mental approach wasn’t right. We thought we were going to walk it and you just can’t do that.
“But take nothing away from Penzance, I thought they totally deserved the win.”