Falmouth Town 3, Helston Athletic 1

THIS was far from a classic, but Falmouth will care little about that as their bid to finish in the top four of the SWPL Premier continues to gather pace, writes Matt Dixon at Bickland Park.

Groundstaff forked a sodden pitch for three hours on Saturday morning and their hard work paid off, but the pitch was understandably heavy after torrential rain on Friday.

It resulted in a game in which neither side was able to keep the ball with confidence for any length of time and Town’s superior fitness was probably the difference, scoring twice in the last ten minutes to secure maximum points.

Phil Cattran, leading the line for Helston for the first time since mid-November after serving a four-match ban, might have done better with an early chance had he had more time on the pitch in recent weeks.

He produced a great turn 30 yards from goal and burst towards the edge of the area, but with space to shoot, he chose to try and pick out Mattie Buchan. The ball fortuitously ended up falling to Buchan, but his scuffed shot was cleared off the line.

The hosts took the lead in spectacular fashion after 20 minutes. Rob Wearne was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and Dave Broglino stepped up to curl a beautifully executed free kick into the top right hand corner of Barrie Wyatt’s net.

It would have been an all too familiar sight for Helston’s assistant manager Steve Jewell, who managed Broglino for several seasons at Penryn. This time, though, it would have given him far less pleasure.

The match had lacked any “derby” moments until the 40th minute, when Kirk Davies’ lunging tackle on David Blizzard earned him a stern word from referee James Gallagher.

Helston pressed in the closing stages of the half but Town’s pacy counter attack almost brought a second goal when Luke Brabyn fed Harry Clarke, but he rather lashed at his shot and it flew well over the crossbar.

On the stroke of half time, a long free kick from Davies was headed by Hugh Howlett into the path of Charlie Young, whose dangerous cross eluded everyone. Cattran picked up the ball beyond the back post, but his angled shot found the side-netting.

In the second period, half chances came and went for either side from Joe Wright and Broglino, before Howlett headed over the bar when totally unmarked from a Kyle Marks corner.

Another deep free kick from Davies eluded heads and found Marks at the back post, but his low cross-shot was cleared by Brabyn, before Annear’s fierce low cross was cleared from danger at the other end.

 Ten minutes from time a delicious cross by substitute Ollie Moody picked out Broglino six yards out, but the ball bounced just in front of him and he skied his shot high over the bar.

Six minutes from time Town scored a second when Tim Nixon, who had a real impact as a second half substitute, won the ball 20 yards from Helston’s goal and teed up Annear for his 30th goal of the season.

Four minutes later Wearne was tripped by Davies in the area and Annear despatched the resulting penalty low into Wyatt’s left hand corner.

Helston did score a consolation in the seventh minute of an inexplicably large amount of stoppage time, when Cattran’s low free kick found a way through the wall and into the net via Barnes’ right hand.

Packet Points (out of 10):

Falmouth: Ryan Barnes  7, DAVID BLIZZARD 9, Tom Annear 5 (O Moody 7), James Ward 7, Joe Cooper 6, Ryan Martt 8, Luke Brabyn 6, David Broglino 7, Harry Clarke 6 (T Nixon 7), Rob Wearne 7, Jordan Annear 7.

Subs not used: Adam Williams, Andrew Westgarth

Helston: Barrie Wyatt 6, Harrison Jewell 8, George Roberts 7, Kirk Davies 6, Hugh Howlett 6, Tom Russell 5 (T Oliver 5), Kyle Marks 6, Charlie Young 7, Mattie Buchan 5 (K Cornish 6), Phil Cattran 7, Joe Wright 6 (Sam Young 6).

Sub not used: Dan Stidwell