Falmouth Town 2, Saltash United 1

JAMES Ward's late header ensured that Falmouth Town lifted the Cornwall Senior Cup for the first time in 22 years on Easter Monday.

Ward's header ten minutes from time completed their comeback from a goal down to see off defending champions Saltash United at Bodmin Town's Priory Park.

Ryan Richards had put the Ashes ahead inside three minutes, but Joe Cooper levelled for Town just three minutes later.

Saltash were reduced to ten men early in the second half when Richard Maddison was shown a second yellow, before Ward's late goal clinched Town's first Senior Cup title since 1997.

The defending champions raced into an early lead with the first shot of the game. Lethal striker Richards showed why he has 27 league goals this season when he raced onto a through ball and fired into the bottom corner past Ryan Barnes.

Any questions over whether Town could respond were answered within three minutes as they hauled themselves level almost instantly. David Broglino's corner was cleared as far as Cooper, who volleyed the ball into the top corner from just inside the box.

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Town edged the majority of the first half but had a couple of scares, with David Barker almost finding himself in on goal before Ward stepped across to clear in the nick of time.

Falmouth entered their period of dominance after that and they almost profited from a slip in the Ashes defence on 15 minutes. Martyn Duff was quickly on the scene but his cross was too long for Luke Brabyn, with Tim Nixon doing brilliantly to keep the chance alive before testing Ryan Rickard from the edge of the box.

The lively Nixon fired another shot on target shortly after while Cooper nodded just wide from another corner as Town looked to turn the screw, but they had Barnes to thank for making an important stop after they were caught in possession in the middle of the park midway through the half.

Duff and Johnson were the latest to take aim on Rickard's goal as the game ticked past the half-hour mark, before Saltash finally enjoyed some sustained pressure at the other end with Richards firing well wide with one effort forcing a save out of Barnes with another.

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Town will have been hoping for the half-time whistle to come as Saltash edged closer to a second. Daniel Lewis also sent an effort wide of the mark before Sam Hughes dragged his effort past the post.

The last act of the half almost saw Town ship a second, with Barnes' punching Richards' header towards Callum Martindale, who fired over the crossbar to the relief of the hundreds of Town supporters in attendance.

One of the first acts of the second half was for Saltash to lose Maddison, with the midfielder being shown a second yellow card following a collision with Duff near the halfway line.

Falmouth immediately set about making the most of their extra man, with Johnson having a curling strike well saved by Rickard down to his right, who then brilliantly turned Nixon's follow-up away for a corner.

It was now one-way traffic with Brabyn shooting wide before Broglino missed the target with a header.

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Town boss Andrew Westgarth threw on striker Matt Buchan, who almost set up a goal instantly when he teed up Nixon, whose low cross from the left flank was gathered by Rickard before Brabyn could hammer it home.

Martindale offered some respite for the Ashes with a shot at the other end before Buchan missed a glorious chance to score, putting the ball wide when one-on-one with Rickard.

A huge moment came 13 minutes from time when Saltash won a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Chris Menhenick stepped up and his effort was destined for the bottom corner but for a fantastic diving stop from Barnes to tip it around for a corner.

That save was proved to be even more valuable three minutes later when Ward got the all-important goal. Broglino's free-kick clipped the wall and went out for a corner, with his delivery reached the unmarked Ward who headed in at the far post before being mobbed by his team-mates.

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Town had chances to make the game – and the trophy – safe, with Nixon testing Rickard with a free-kick before substitute Jack Bowyer hit the deck when he tried to round Rickard, with his penalty appeal being waved away.

Five minutes of added time were shown on the fourth official's board, and Saltash almost grabbed a late, late leveller in the fourth of those. Richards surged forward and drilled the ball into the six-yard box, with it eventually popping back to Lewis who fired it agonisingly wide from close range.

That proved to be the final chance, with the referee blowing the full-time whistle to confirm Falmouth's status as champions of Cornwall for the first time in 22 years.

Falmouth: R Barnes, D Blizzard, O Moody (J Webber 73), R Martt, J Cooper, J Ward, M Duff (M Buchan 68), D Broglino, L Brabyn, L Johnson (J Bowyer 78), T Nixon. Subs (unused): A Westgarth, C Davis.

Saltash: R Rickard, D Barker, C Martindale, L Russell, C O'Brien, C Menhenick, R Maddison, S Farrant, S Hughes, R Richards, D Lewis. Subs: D Trott, S Leary, L Edwards, H Wilson, S Cleary.

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