Liskeard Athletic 0, Falmouth Town 2 – FA Vase fourth round, January 1995

WHAT a performance by Falmouth Town. They stormed into the fifth round of the FA Vase with such a terrific display they left Liskeard wondering what had hit them in a nerve-tingling encounter.

The Great Mills Premier League side were given a footballing lesson by Town and in the second half, when they tried to rescue the tie, found the visitors were made of sterner stuff.

The final whistle brought scenes of great jubilation for Town who were swamped by their army of supporters.

Town’s reward is an exciting home tie in the fifth round against Belper Town, only their fifth Vase game at home.

Doubts over Andy Parr and Paul Kneebone were resolved and both took their places in their line up, although Kneebone was given a fitness test during a training session at Wadebridge in the morning.

The clash in styles made for an ideal tie, but if Liskeard thought they were going to boss the game, they were given a rude awakening.

Playing up the slope, Town took control from the opening whistle and dominated the first half to such an extent it was almost one-sided.

Their passing, movement, use of space and determination put them on a different level to Liskeard who just couldn’t get into the game.

With little possession Liskeard’s front men hardly saw the ball while the impressive looking Town buzzed around the box looking for that vital opening.

Town almost took the lead as early as the fourth minute when Matt Albery had his goalkeeper Ian Baker diving full-length across his goal to keep out a header by the defender from Ian Gosling’s cross.

Liskeard were forced to soak up pressure and after 10 minutes escaped again when Martin Sullivan cleared Justin Ashburn’s header off the line.

The best chance of the half fell to Liskeard in a rare attack from a free kick.

Unmarked Neil Penwill threw himself at a cross to head goalwards from six yards, but Dave Philp saved with his legs only for Gary Wotton to somehow fire wide of the target when under no pressure.

Town’s approach work was a delight to watch, but unfortunately they were always one pass away from creating a real opening that would have brought the breakthrough.

Andy Street and Mark Rowe established a firm grip in midfield while at the back Paul Kneebone and Andy Parr both played well.

Liskeard somehow survived until half-time but even then were grateful that a Gosling cross-cum-shot grazed the bar instead of going in.

Former Town manager Jimmy Hargreaves obviously did some tough talking during the interval as Liskeard showed a much livelier side to their game in the second half.

They began to enjoy an even share of the game, but all too often relied on the long ball tactic.

Their strikers towered over Town’s defenders, but the challenges were so tenacious very little came from the aerial threat.

Town were still the more impressive footballing side and attacked with great fluency but still without creating the vital breakthrough.

The ground erupted after 56 minutes when Town scored from one of the less likely avenues open to them.

Mark Rowe swung over a perfect free kick and there, among a clutch of players, was Paul Kneebone who beat Baker with a header into the far corner of the net.

Liskeard increased their efforts, but they were matched by a Town side unwilling to concede an inch in ground and who battled for every ball.

Substitute Mark Rapsey, not involved in the game, was booked by the referee for kicking the ball away when he was returning to the changing room.

Town could have gone two up when Gosling put Ashburn through wide on the right. He cut in but from a tight angle hit his shot into the side netting.

Liskeard’s best efforts were coming from Micky Fallon, but in general he lacked support.

He had one good shot which Dave Philp saved and then Philp had to dive at Fallon’s feet, a brave save that left him with a cut above his eye.

In the last 10 minutes the tackling bordered on the ferocious with Street, Ashburn and Norton all booked.

Liskeard’s only hope looked to be in the air with Neil Penwill and Nigel Pugh (who played at Wembley for Taunton in the FA Vase last season) bolstering the forwards, but it never materialised.

David Sweet replaced a limping Dale Band after 79 minutes, the non-stop, thumping tackles taking its toll.

Three minutes from time a pulsating tie was eventually settled with an opportunist goal from Andy Waddell.

Liskeard tried to build from the back, but Mark Rowe won a key tackle in midfield and knocked a pass into the path of Andy Waddell to chase. Chase he did. Outnumbered, he fought his way through the defenders to get a sight of goal and with the ‘keeper making a move hit a terrific goal.

He was engulfed by ecstatic supporters who were celebrating Town’s place in the fifth round of the Vase, the third time they’ve reached that stage.

Although the referee played what appeared an indeterminately long period of injury time, the game was over and Town were home and dry.

The bouquets flowed after the match, but one of the most welcome came from legendary Town manager Richard Gray who watched the match with Colin Chegwyn. “If this was one of my teams in the past I would have been very proud of them,” said Richard.

On Saturday, Town have to come back down to earth when they visit Holsworthy in the Jewson SWL.

Town: D Philp, D Ball, A Parr, N Rowe, P Kneebone, D Band, A Street, A Waddell, J Ashburn, M Rowe, I Gosling. Sub: D Sweet.