Falmouth Town manager Andrew Westgarth was ‘immensely proud’ of his side, despite their agonising exit from the FA Vase at Christchurch on Saturday.

Jon Blake headed the Priory in front moments before half-time in the third round proper tie at the Hurn Bridge Sports Ground, with Luke Brabyn levelling for Town midway through the second half, only for Kyle Graham to head in the winner in the 70th minute.

Westgarth said: “Overall I’m immensely proud of the boys to get this far and we gave a good account of ourselves, but unfortunately we fell short with two uncharacteristic goals to concede from set pieces.”

READ MORE: Graham's header ends Town's heroic FA Vase run

Town fell a goal behind from Blake’s header with virtually the final action of the first half, barely a minute after midfielder Luke Johnson was denied a penalty at the other end after colliding with Christchurch’s Matt Neale on the left-hand side of the box.

Johnson was shown a yellow card for simulation and the hosts went up the other end and won the free kick from which they went on to take the lead, but Westgarth felt his side should have been given the chance to go in front from the spot.

He said: “It feels a little bit like Hamworthy last year, maybe a little bit of a missed opportunity. To concede just on half-time was very disappointing, especially on the back of when we thought Jonno [Johnson] should have had a penalty. Unfortunately, the referee didn’t think the same and he’s turned around and booked Jonno.

“[The penalty decision] was the turning point of the game. If we go in 1-0, and there’s no guarantee that Broggy [David Broglino] would have scored it, but you give yourself a great opportunity with a penalty before half-time. We score that, 1-0 and your tails are lifted, and we can hopefully see the game out.

“But unfortunately, on the flip side, 30 seconds after not getting the penalty, they go up and get, once again I thought, a very soft free kick, which I felt like happened a lot all game actually. They get a free kick, cross it in and score, so it felt like a massive sucker punch.

“The disappointing thing from us is that we dealt with a lot of their set pieces very well, but unfortunately they scored two, from our point of view, very soft ones.”

Brabyn got Town back on level terms in the 64th minute when he cleverly closed down a home defender’s attempted headed pass back to goalkeeper Lewis Gunstone-Gray, knocking the ball away from the defender with his head and striding in to coolly finish past the ‘keeper.

The goal was Brabyn’s 17th of a prolific season so far for the Town forward, with the former Penryn Athletic man netting 11 times in the last ten games in all competitions.

He also continued his reputation of scoring goals in big cup games, with Saturday’s goal his eighth in seven cup ties so far this season.

“He delivers, doesn’t he?” Westgarth said. “Brabyn’s been fantastic for us this season and I thought today he was excellent. He worked hard, gave the back line a lot of problems and I thought he took his goal so well. Clean through, so much composure, took his time and a lovely little finish.”

VIDEO: Watch the best of the action from Falmouth Town's FA Vase defeat at Christchurch

The winning goal came just six minutes after Brabyn’s goal, with a corner being headed home by Graham in the six-yard box.

The goal provoked some confusion across the ground with the linesman appearing to flag before the ball had crossed the line, but, to Westgarth and Town’s frustration, the goal stood.

“I was a little bit disappointed with the manner of which we conceded our second goal,” Westgarth said. “A little bit of confusion as the linesman looked like he flagged for offside and then nobody really knew what happened. Disappointing from that but we had enough chances in that game to probably see the tie out.”

But Town kept pushing for a leveller in an attempt to send the game to extra time, much like they had done in the previous round in their now famous 3-2 win at home to Longlevens.

They could not manage it on this occasion, but Westgarth was able to draw on their previous experience of coming from behind to reassure his side at half-time.

He said: “I said, ‘Don’t panic, we’ve been in this position before’, so there was nothing to phase us, and for the last five minutes, the siege we put on their goal with throw-ins and corners, you have to say full credit to them because they dealt with it and they came away with the win.”

“Full credit to Christchurch, their hospitality has been first class, they welcomed us and they’ve been brilliant.”

GALLERY: 67 photos from Falmouth Town's FA Vase defeat at Christchurch

Town’s run in this season’s competition saw them earn four impressive victories and captured the imagination of the team, supporters and even those in the wider sporting world.

The run began with a 3-1 victory at Bristol Telephones back on August 31, followed by a win of the same score at St Blazey two weeks later.

Then came a 5-1 thrashing of local rivals Helston Athletic, watched by 689 supporters at the Blues’ Kellaway Park, a figure which still stands as the largest in the Vase this season.

That was followed by a remarkable 3-2 win at home to Longlevens, in which Town scored goals in the 90th and 92nd minutes to send the tie to extra time, with a video of Jack Webber’s injury-time leveller subsequently going viral on social media.

“I can be immensely proud of the boys. The run we’ve had in this FA Vase, starting way back against Bristol Telephones, that in itself was a massive win for us because we had a few personnel difficulties at the start of the season.

"Then going to St Blazey, a local derby, was fantastic, then obviously Helston was magic, and Longlevens was fantastic, what an atmosphere that was.

“And today [Saturday], the boys will remember this. People will talk about it, saying, ‘Do you remember that game we had in Christchurch?’ That’s what football’s about."