FALMOUTH Town boss Andrew Westgarth says he is "immensely proud" of his team despite their penalty-shootout defeat at Christchurch in their FA Vase third round proper tie on Sunday.

Town captain James Ward's late header cancelled out Ash Pope's early strike to take the tie to penalties, but despite leading the shootout early on Town ultimately lost 6-5 on spot-kicks.

It means Town have been knocked out of the tournament by the Wessex League club in the third round for the second year running.

Westgarth told the Packet: "I'm obviously disappointed to lose, and it's a really disappointing way to do it – to go out on penalties is never nice, but I think on reflection we can hold our heads up high. I don't think we disgraced ourselves with our performance and we gave a really good account of ourselves."

He added: "They're no mugs and for us to go toe-to-toe with them, on another day [we may have beaten them], chances-wise I would say that we had the better chances. You never know in cup football, if one of them goes in.

"Overall I'm immensely proud of the lads and their effort. For the second consecutive season to be the Cornish team [to go the furthest in the Vase], along with Millbrook this year, there's a lot to be proud of."

New Vase rules brought in this season saw the tie go straight to penalties at the end of the 90 minutes instead of the usual period of extra time.

With Town scoring a late equaliser and enjoying the lion's share of the play late on, Westgarth had fancied his side to have gone on to win had the usual rules been in place.

"We had a lot of possession, we had a lot of the ball and scoring then [late on], does that give us the momentum?" He said. "[It was] very much like the Longlevens game [in 2019] when Webby [Jack Webber] scored in the last minute of injury time to go into extra time and we went on and got that winner.

"Just the way the game was going I'd have felt confident if it went into extra time."

Scott Kellow and Olly Walker were the unlucky two Town players to have their penalties saved by Christchurch 'keeper Lewis Gunstone-Gray, ultimately handing the home side the victory in the shootout, but Westgarth praised the players for having the bottle to step up in the first place.

"They're disappointed and there's only so much I can say, but they both had good games," he said. "It's just a shame someone had to miss.

"Fair play to them. I think the biggest thing about penalty shootouts is having the minerals to take them."

Westgarth also paid tribute to the intrepid band of supporters who made their way to Dorset to cheer on the team for the tie.

Around 30 members of the F-Troop joined the team in making the four-hour journey from Cornwall and made their voices heard during the game.

"It was brilliant," Westgarth said. "They were behind both goals and the noise they make, it's second to none. They just made such a racket.

"Everywhere they go they're a bit of a spectacle and it all adds to the atmosphere of making it a decent game, whether it's league or cup."