Defeat in a cup competition is something of a rarity for Falmouth Town these days, having losing just four in their last 34 ties since the beginning of the 2017/18 season.

But Andrew Westgarth's side were powerless to prevent defeat number five, and with it the concession of their Cornwall Senior Cup crown, at the hands of Saltash United at Bickland Park.

Two second-half strikes from Sam Hughes were enough for Matt Cusack's Ashes, who are chasing a Cornish quadruple of league, Senior Cup, League Cup and Charity Cup titles, to book their place in the final four of the competition.

Westgarth said the league table never lies in his post-match interview, referring to Saltash's lofty position of third in the SWPL Premier West, having lost just once all season, with Town 13 points further back having played two more games.

A big feature of Saltash's success is their ability to put out the same team every week; anyone with a decent knowledge of Cornish football could have named most of Saltash's side yesterday without looking at the team sheet.

Town do not have the same luxury, with Westgarth regularly having to swap players and systems to accommodate those at his disposal from week to week. Luke Johnson, Matt Buchan, Ben Oliver, Jack Webber and David Blizzard were the absentees this week, while top-scorer Luke Brabyn was only able to play after rearranging a flight.

Brabyn highlights this issue the best; he is the club's top scorer despite not being a centre forward, but has played there for much of the season due to the regular absence of Matt Buchan and Jack Bowyer, with the latter recently moving to St Austell.

He was the biggest threat again for Town on Saturday, forcing a save out of Ryan Rickard inside two minutes, but was otherwise kept quiet by the Ashes centre-halves.

Olly Walker, making a return to the squad in Johnson's absence, was lively out wide but struggled to find anyone in the box when he did get into a good position, and fluffed one chance of his own when through on goal.

Saltash enjoyed the lion's share of the possession and had plenty of shots on goal without troubling Ryan Barnes. The Ashes could have been out of sight by the break but for some uncharacteristic profligacy and some determined defending.

Town looked better as the first half came to a close, but paid the price for a slow start to the second by conceding inside six minutes. Callum Martindale's corner was nodded down towards Hughes in the six-yard box, whose stab at goal was cleared off the line by Luke Barner, but was deemed to have crossed the line first.

Had it gone over? Given the lack of complaint from those in amber and black shirts, it probably had, but I certainly had no idea from my position on the halfway line.

Town are masters at turning around a deficit in a cup competition, but there was little of that usual spark going forward, despite the support of most of the 425-strong crowd.

Their best chance came from a foul on Walker, with the referee waving play on for Duff to slip the ball through to Brabyn, who beat the defence but could not beat Rickard.

A lot of possession followed but there was no sparking run, killer pass or convincing shot to be found. Credit has to be given to Saltash for this, they are an experienced side and did well to shut Town out and keep their lead intact.

They were rewarded with the all-important second goal 15 minutes from time. A lovely team move it was, too, with Ryan Richards holding up a pass for Sam Farrant to put Hughes through, with the striker beating James Ward and firing into the far corner.

Town have managed to chase two goals and force extra-time once already this season, but a Longlevens-like comeback never looked likely this time.

Makeshift right-back Barner was involved twice for Town late on, with his volley almost being turned in by Sam Pickup before hitting the deck as he marauded into the box shortly after, which Westgarth deemed a 'stonewall penalty' after the game.

The one big decision referee Paul Kempen did make was to show Martindale a second yellow card for a foul on Ryan Chinn late on, although it could have been a case of mistaken identity as it appeared the foul was made by Hughes.

Kempen blew his whistle to confirm what we already knew: Town's Senior Cup title defence was over.

The F-Troop knew it too, but noted that Town would still technically be champions until the final, singing, 'Champions of Cornwall, we'll sing it 'til May'.

Falmouth: R Barnes, L Barner, S Kellow, R Chinn, J Cooper, J Ward, O Walker, D Broglino (R Martt 78), L Brabyn, M Duff (S Pickup 65), T Nixon. Subs (unused): A Westgarth, O Moody.