Three goals, three points, a record-breaking win, a two-point lead at the top of the table and local bragging rights restored. Saturday was a memorable day for Helston Athletic.

A well-worked free-kick goal from Olly Brokenshire, a devastating counter attack finished off by Phil Cattran and a fine solo effort from Neil Slateford secured Steve Massey’s Blues’ victory over local rivals Falmouth Town, and with it a South West Peninsula League record 18th consecutive league win.

Having said that, and those of a Helston Athletic persuasion may argue otherwise, but as thrilling local derbies go this was certainly at the more forgettable end of the scale.

Both sides struggled to play any kind of decent football with the strong winds, with both goalkeepers sending several goal kicks straight into touch. Several Helston free-kicks were swept out of play, while Falmouth’s diagonal cross-field balls were repeatedly blown off course.

The Blues were still good value for their latest win, and while it was hardly a vintage display, it was clear that they had learned from their two recent cup defeats as they nullified Town’s dangerous outlets right from the get-go, something that Massey has since credited to new assistant boss Glynn Hooper.

But you only need to beat what is in front of you and Andrew Westgarth’s side contrived to serve up one of their poorest performances in recent times, with Blues goalkeeper Jason Robertson barely having a save to make all afternoon.

You wouldn’t have thought that after the first 15 minutes, during which Town were the better side and looked lively going forward.

They could only muster one shot on goal in that time in right-back Scott Kellow’s blocked effort, however, as the Blues’ plan of ‘Operation: Nullify Falmouth’ began in earnest. Harrison Jewell made life difficult for Luke Johnson on the left wing, while Dan Harrison and Damon Mulready did well in shepherding Luke Brabyn and Matt Buchan out towards the opposite touchline on several occasions.

Town’s inability to deal with this was not helped by the lack of their usual creativity, but Lady Luck was hardly shining on them either. They could point to a fairly soft free-kick which brought about the home side’s first goal, with Mark Goldsworthy going down under minimal contact from Martyn Duff 35 yards from goal.

Nothing lucky about the goal itself though, with Tucker, in an off-the-cuff move, playing it short to the advancing Brokenshire, who arrowed a fine shot into the far corner.

The goal was somewhat against the run of play, but it kickstarted a dominant second half of the first half for the Blues, who probably should have netted a second time before the interval after good chances for Slateford and Goldsworthy went begging.

The first action of the second half resulted in the Blues doubling their lead, and it wasn’t without controversy either. Town may well have felt hard done by for a second time, with Chinn going down in the Helston box moments before a counter attack resulted in Cattran tucking the ball away at the other end.

A replay on Piran Films’ highlights suggests more than a hint of offside against Cattran, but it was marginal, and with VAR not expected to make an appearance at this level any time soon, you have to give the officials the benefit of the doubt.

The goal had knocked even more stuffing out of Town, who finally forced Robertson into some sort of action soon after, with the ‘keeper making a routine save from Johnson’s looping header.

That proved to be Town’s sole effort on target in the 90 minutes, with the Blues back four doing well to keep the front three of Brabyn, Buchan and Johnson – the same trio that terrorised them in their 5-1 mauling in the teams’ FA Vase tie in October – quiet for almost the entire game.

Helston’s latest promising youngster Liam Short had come off the bench to join that defensive effort in the 56th minute, but his game lasted barely 15 minutes before he was stretchered from the field to respectful applause from the F-Troop following a collision with Johnson.

The next applause would be for man-of-the-match Neil Slateford, who capped off an impressive display with an equally impressive finish, driving the ball into the far corner after being given the freedom of Kellaway Park to pick his spot from the edge of the box.

The F-Troop’s chants of “Three-nil to the referee” were amusing but clutching at straws. Soft free-kick and possible penalty/offside aside, Derek Hughes and his linesmen’s decisions had hardly changed the course of the game.

Give the F-Troop their dues though; even at 3-0 down against their bitter rivals, they still sang to the end.

Their team’s disappointing day was completed a few minutes from time when Chinn saw red for his part in a melee, which came about after Dan Harrison made a very late sliding challenge on the midfielder.

That would see him deservedly pick up a yellow card, but he also appeared to be struck by former Blues man Chinn during the brawl, which left Hughes no alternative but to send him off once order had been restored.

The rest of the game petered out largely without incident before the final whistle confirmed the inevitable. Eighteen consecutive league victories, a new SWPL record at Step 6.

It is one phenomenal achievement for Steve Massey’s side, who remain two points clear of St Austell at the top of the table.

Helston’s win also makes it 2-2 after four matches in the two rivals’ series of fixtures this season, following Town’s pair of wins in the FA Vase and Cornwall Senior Cup and the Blues’ victory in the reverse league fixture.

The teams could yet meet in the Cornwall Charity Cup final should Helston beat Newquay and Falmouth see off Penzance and Saltash. Best of five, anyone?