Falmouth Town's resurgence in 2014 under manager John Dent has been impressive, but surely no one expected Saturday’s result against Launceston at Pennygillam.
An Andy Westgarth goal, bundled over the line in the second half, was enough for Town to snatch all three points against one of the Peninsula League premier division’s in-form sides, a team unbeaten since October. The news prompted a veritable Mexican wave of raised eyebrows up and down the county.
In the hours after the whistle blew Dent said he received phonecalls and text messages congratulating him on a result which, it seems, no one saw coming.
Except perhaps for Dent’s players, and anyone who has seen Town play in the last three months.
The names on the team sheet are the same, but this is a very different Falmouth Town side to the one that ended 2013 locked in a relegation battle with Liskeard.
“We’ve had one game since I’ve been at the club when we had heavy defeat, and that was when we lost 6-2 against Plymouth Parkway,” said Dent.
“There were a few heads down when I joined the club. I think a lot of them felt they weren’t good enough, and they’d been told they weren’t good enough. But we’ve had four or five players come in since then and that’s really helped make a difference to the team. Now the attitude’s totally changed. We don’t fear anyone in the league anymore.”
Saturday’s result was characterised by a superb man-of-the-match performance from centre back Joe Cooper.
Cooper found the step up from Combination League football jarring, but his recent displays alongside Tom Whipp at the heart of Falmouth’s defence have pleased Dent.
“The back four were exceptional,” he said. “The two holding lads were excellent, and Joe and Tom won just about everything. I think you could have made any one of them man-of-the-match.”
The result leaves Town sitting 17th in the league, seven points above Cullompton Rangers in 18th, and an enormous 16 points above bottom club Liskeard.
But Dent is canny enough to realise that his side are not safe - yet.
“To me it’s not over until it’s mathematically over,” he said. “We’re taking it game by game. We’re ten points better off than Tavistock, but we won’t get complacent. We want to keep going and catch Elmore.”
It is testament to his side’s new-found confidence that, for the first time this season, Falmouth Town are finally casting their eyes upward.