Two encouraging results away to Sidmouth Town last weekend saw the first team beat Their Devon peninsular league one opponents 2-0 with second half goals from player manager Andrew Westgarth and centre back Tom Whipp.
Town, with players away on holiday etc, played five of this seasons Combination league side in this fixture, four of whom were only just sixteen.
There were first team debuts for Max Everard who started in midfield and Adam Dower in goal, both acquitting themselves well with Everard hitting the post early on and Dower calm and collected deputising well for the on holiday Ryan Barnes.
Ollie Walker and Fin Cross came on as substitutes and both looked dangerous, Walker with many runs beating his opposition fullback and the hard working striker Fin Cross setting up the second Town goal after beating a defender to reach the dead ball line before unselfishly cutting the ball back for Tom Whipp who slammed the ball home from ten yards.
In Addition Calum Grahamslaw, this seasons newly appointed Combination team captain was solid as a rock in his substitute defensive role.
A good first friendly for our Peninsular Premier league side and manager Andy Westgarth, the travelling supporters and the first team squad, can surely feel pleased that there are a good crop of youngsters emerging from the Combination side in readiness to support and try to earn a place in Westgarths squad next season, if not occasionally this season if needed to be called upon.
Both the Falmouth Peninsular Premier first team and the Jollys Combination team travelled together on the coach to Sidmouth creating a great squad team bonding exercise and there is a great deal of unity being shown this season already between the two sets of players. There was no , ” them and us” atmosphere, rather it was a FALMOUTH TOWN TOGETHER which was good to see and experience.
The Combination side, playing later in the afternoon, recorded a 0-0 draw in their first ever game together. New players drafted in from around the county quite literally with players from Newquay, St Austell, Truro, Camborne, Redruth and of course Falmouth, had a tough opening twenty minutes against a big physical Sidmouth side who went close to scoring with a couple of set play free kicks, and an excellent free kick from just outside the box which crashed off the upright.
As Towns new boys started to settle they started to pass and retain the ball a little better and gradually took over the dominant offensive role with Fin Cross looking the most dangerous element with his pace, strength and direct running. It was hard up at the point of the attack for Fin on his own, and playing in his second game of the day, but he always looked like he might bag or create first Town goal.
Changes at half time saw Ollie Walker, Max Everard, Rob Donald and Will Hart come on and with a slight change in formation. Cross now had Walker and Donald coming up the flanks to join the attack, and the footballing traffic became more one sided, particularly with Will Hart providing good support as an overlapping wingback.
A much improved and more settled second half performance saw Town unlucky not to score with the Sidmouth keeper in outstanding form, and the last twenty minutes pulling off many fine saves from close range to deny Town a victory.
A good first outing which should particularly be noted for the defensive bedrock which the senior players, Kevin Morris, Steve Winnan, Steve Retchford, along with Callum Grahamslaw and sixteen year olds Archie Fryer and Gabe Hamshore provided. That solid spine allowed the other youngsters to play, and play without fear.
A great day out for Town as a club was followed by much merriment on the long coach trip back.. Many thanks to our superb hosts Sidmouth Town, whose facilities and welcome would be credit to any sporting club.
Also special mention and thanks to the supporters who made the long journey up and back to support both teams.
Lastly great to see former Town manager Wayne Hughes also making the journey from his Exeter home to watch both teams play.
Falmouth first teams next friendly is at home this Friday evening against Truro City, whilst on Saturday the combination side are away to West Cornwall over at Pool college.