FALMOUTH Town lifted the Cornwall Senior Cup for the first time in 22 years in 2019 following a dramatic 2-1 victory over Saltash United in the final at Bodmin Town’s Priory Park.

The Ashes, defending their title from 2018, led inside three minutes but Town were on terms another three minutes later via captain Joe Cooper, before his central defensive partner James Ward headed in the winner with ten minutes to play.

Town's cup journey began on October 6 when they travelled to Looe Town's Barbican Sports Field.

For many it was a case of how many Falmouth would score, and the answer was 12. Jack Bowyer provided one third of them with four goals as Town eased to victory against their less-fancied opponents.

Strike partner Matt Buchan also grabbed a hat-trick and substitute David Broglino bagged two, with Jordan Annear, Tim Nixon and Martyn Duff scoring one each. Noah Phillips did at least manage a consolation for the East Cornwall Premier League Division One club.

The story could hardly have been more different five weeks later when Falmouth welcomed St Dennis to Bickland Park for the second round.

The South West Peninsula League Division 1 West club provided much sterner opposition and enjoyed a half-time lead - albeit against the run of play - thanks to Carl Rickard, who got on the end of Martin Sleeman's free-kick shortly before the break.

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Staring an early exit in the face, Town picked themselves up in the second half and were back on terms on 57 minutes when Ryan Martt's flick-on was nodded home at the back post by Broglino.

Just when it looked like the Saints had done enough to secure an additional 30 minutes of extra-time, Broglino popped up again to break the visitors' hearts, volleying home Luke Johnson's cross with five minutes to go.

Another lower-division opponent rolled up at Bickland when the third round arrived in early January, with East Cornwall Premier League Premier side Polperro intent on upsetting the odds.

Falmouth eventually ran out 3-0 winners, with Marcello Jones, Luke Brabyn and Tim Nixon netting for Town, but it could have been very different had Ryan Barnes not made a magnificent fingertip stop from Matt Barton's six-yard header when the game was still goalless.

That result confirmed a third consecutive Senior Cup quarter-final and a third consecutive home tie for the boys in black and amber. Fellow SWPL Premier club Launceston were the opponents on February 2, and although the Clarets were enduring a difficult season at the bottom of the table, they had managed a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Town on the same pitch back in September.

There was to be no repeat of that result, however, as Town sealed their second semi-final appearance in three seasons, with Brabyn opening the scoring early on before James Ward doubled the lead before the break. Brabyn added another in the second half before Nixon completed the 4-0 victory.

The Senior Cup had now become Falmouth's biggest chance of success this season. A mixture of poor form and injuries had put paid to their hopes of league glory, with Town now well off the pace of the top three clubs.

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But further success in the Walter C Parson League Cup – which Town had lifted the previous season – quarter-final at St Austell set up two mouth-watering opportunities for some end-of-season silverware.

The Lillywhites were the opposition yet again for Falmouth in the final four of the Senior Cup, with the two sides playing out their eighth encounter inside 18 months at Newquay AFC's Mount Wise stadium.

St Austell were the form side going into the tie, having won six out of their last seven league games, with a 5-0 thumping of title favourites Tavistock among them.

Town, meanwhile, had lost four out of their six league games in the same period. The omens were certainly pointing the way of St Austell, who will have also been determined to avenge that League Cup exit two months earlier.

But that form book flew right out of the window when Joe Cooper headed Town in front inside two minutes, and although the Lillywhites dominated much of the first half and levelled through Jack Calver, it was Falmouth who returned to the dressing rooms with the lead thanks to Brabyn.

Those in attendance were expecting a St Austell onslaught when play resumed, but Town were having none of it.

Instead they went on the attack and extended their lead on 53 minutes through Annear, with a fourth goal arriving just after the hour when Calver turned Johnson's cross into his own net.

Much like that Looe game in October, although not in the same context, it now seemed like a case of how many this relentless Falmouth side would go on to score.

The answer this time was none, although it certainly could have been more.

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It won't have mattered in the slightest for Town come the full-time whistle, which confirmed their place in this season's final for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century.

Standing between Town and a 12th Senior Cup crown were defending champions Saltash United, who had graced the showpiece match six times since Falmouth's last appearance in 1997.

And the Ashes were first to strike in the Easter Monday finale, with lethal striker Ryan Richards putting the reigning champions in front in the third minute at Bodmin Town’s Priory Park.

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 to the delight of the majority of the 592 in attendance.

Chances came and went in the remaining 39 minutes of the first half, but it remained all square at the break.

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

It was largely one-way traffic for the next chunk of the game as Town looked to make use of their extra man but could not find a way past Ryan Rickard, while Ryan Barnes did brilliantly to tip Chris Menhenick’s goalbound free kick away from the bottom corner.

That save was proved to be even more valuable when James Ward got the all-important goal ten minutes from time. David 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.

Town had chances to make the game – and the trophy – safe but could not do so. But it did not matter, with the referee soon blowing the full-time whistle to confirm Falmouth's status as champions of Cornwall for the first time in 22 years.

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