Stoke Gabriel 3, Falmouth Town 1

THIS was a game to quickly forget for Town, who were already missing top scorer Jordan Annear through injury and then lost fellow striker Rob Wearne after he fell awkwardly just ten minutes into this SWPL Premier clash.

With Wednesday's Walter C Parson League Cup semi-final at Sticker on the horizon, the injuries added to the insult of their first league defeat since October 28.

The hosts took the game by the scruff of the neck and on a day when the snow blew in on a strong wind, it was ironic that Town were without the aptly-named David Blizzard (wedding) and keeper Ryan Barnes (work).

Wearne’s early departure after he fell awkwardly saw Luke Brabyn brought on in attack, but Falmouth were unable to make significant in-roads into Stoke’s formidable defence.

The hosts took the lead after half an hour when a good cross found Stuart Bowker and has Harry McMellon came out to narrow the angle, he chipped the keeper from the edge of the penalty area.

Five minutes before half time Stoke doubled their lead when Nathan Hebbes was allowed to carry the ball a long way and his fierce shot squeezed between McMellon and the post.

Any thoughts of a second half recovery were all but ended three minutes after the break when Danny Gaze’s quick free kick found Bowker, who teed up Frazer Clark to shoot low into the corner via a post.

Substitute Ollie Walker cut in and shot into the side-netting as Town toiled for a consolation, but they did register in the 88th minute when Marcello Jones was pushed over in the box and picked himself up to despatch his 15th goal of the season.

Straight from the kick off Falmouth won a corner and from that, James Ward’s header was cleared off the line as Stoke saw out the final moments.

Falmouth: Harry McMellon, Tom Annear, Ollie Moody (Dave Broglino 60m), James Ward, Joe Cooper (capt), Ryan Martt, Tim Nixon, Jack Webber, Rob Wearne (Luke Brabyn 10m), Marcello Jones, Harry Clarke, (Olly Walker 60m). Unused sub: Andrew Westgarth