TOWN returned home to Bickland at midnight after a very long but pleasing day of football, writes

When we left at 7am, in the pouring rain, there was a little apprehension as to whether we would get the dreaded phone call to say the game was off as a pitch inspection the previous afternoon gave the odds as 50/50.

The journey itself was straightforward, no holdups with Westy entertaining us with his 100-question quiz. Thanks must also go to Mike for providing the history of Falmouth Town questions.

On arrival, we were greeted by a club official who was pleasantly surprised at the amount of supporters that were getting off the player's coach, and we were pleasantly surprised at the facilities and welcome. It's always good to see a level pitch, too.

The game started with both sides cautiously psyching each other out. After the first 15 minutes, Town were getting into their stride, stroking the ball around with James Swan and Bradley Leivers making probing runs down the wings. After 20 mins, Luke Brabyn saw a header hit the crossbar while the tireless Luke Barner was causing problems with his running at the Fareham defence.

Fareham also had reasonable passages of play which mostly involved lead scorer Sam Kessick, but any threat was quickly snuffed out by captain James Ward and the impressive Kayden Gordon Dunn replacing the absent Tom Annear.

The second half saw Fareham come out fired up and for the first 10 minutes, Town had to repel some dangerous attacks with keeper Morgan Coxhead making some important saves.

As the half wore on, Fareham were visibly tiring on what was now becoming a heavy pitch and made three substitutions. Town manager Andy Westgarth responded with three changes of his own, bringing on impact subs in Olly Walker, Cam Hutchison, and Jayden Gilbert.

Olly Walker was soon terrorising the Fareham right back with his pace and trickery, delivering cross after cross into the box which either just eluded a Falmouth player or were hacked clear by desperate Fareham defending. Olly also had a goal-bound dipping drive tipped over the bar.

With five minutes of normal time remaining and fans fearing the lottery of penalties, an Olly Walker cross was cleared out to the right wing where James Swan calmly collected the ball, cut inside the box, and rifled the ball inside the post past the despairing dive of the Fareham keeper.

Cue the celebrations of the 39 traveling F-troopers who never stopped willing the boys on throughout the game, as a Fareham supporter laughingly said "You had a 12th man out there today."