FOOTBALL: Packed Homers Heath watches Bucks progress through Vase

DREAMS of a Wembley appearance are still alive for Buckland Athletic after their 3-1 FA Vase victory over Falmouth Town on Saturday.

The runaway leaders of Peninsula Premier West were undefeated in 18 games heading into their second round at Homers Heath.

But after equalizing at the break, goals from Charlie Johansen and skipper Rich Groves saw the Bucks overtake their visitors from Cornwall and enter the hat for the final 64.

The hosts didn’t wait long to knock on Falmouth’s door – with Johansen grazed in the first minute before Tor Swann directed a Josh Webber cross against the bar.

Tim Nixon had the ball in the back of the other net with 20 minutes left, but the linesman’s flag was disallowed, and top scorer Luke Brabyn forced a good save from Bucks stopper Andy Collings seven minutes later. .

But after half an hour the game scored its first goal, and it was no question for the traveling vocal contingent to scream.

Webber recovered the ball in midfield before beating two players and fighting back against goalkeeper Ryan Barnes in the lower right corner.

Cieran Bridger had a shot blocked by Barnes before Falmouth came back to a tie with three minutes left.

Jack Bray-Evans embarked on a galloping race of his own half and eventually found Dave Broglino, who completed the counterattack with a simple finish.

Buckland raised the bar after the break – with Swann in particular seeking to have the bit firmly between his teeth on the right side.

And just after the hour mark, Bridger’s teasing ball through the goal was left untreated and Johansen claimed the finishing touch at the far post to put his side back in the lead.

Brabyn and Luke Barner saw their efforts quickly followed by Collings before the home side dealt the fatal blow just under 25 minutes from time.

Swann, who was always doing himself a nuisance, beat his man up and sent a low cross for Groves to shoot home the first time around.

Tom Annear rolled a Falmouth free kick over the bar with 13 minutes left, but it was as close as his team came to a consolation.

After the game, Bucks boss Paul Froude pointed to the halftime break as the turning point with both sides at anchor.

“We got into the guys a bit at halftime because it was a series of events similar to what we’ve been through in recent weeks,” Froude said.

“But thanks to them, our players took the ball and made a difference. Their determination to make things happen for us was key in the second half.

Tor [Swann] have the beat of most full-backs. He’s still a young boy so there are ups and downs but especially in the second half today he showed why we think he has all the tools to go as high as he wants.

Buckland was deprived of the services of long-term injured Ryan Bush and Nick Milton Jr, as well as Cup-tied Levi Landricombe.

“It’s a good part of a team that is missing,” admitted Froude. ‘But Mani [Skett] got up when he arrived.

‘NOT A WORD [Evans] didn’t have as much playing time as we would have liked, but still showed what he can bring to the group.

“We’re missing a few like we’ve been week after week, but we have the strength in depth to stay strong and win tough games like this.

“And it was a tough game. They [Falmouth] Would easily do in the top half of our championship standings, in my opinion.

The crowd at Homers Heath was bolstered by a strong contingent from the F-Troop – Falmouth’s large vocal fan base that made the team a force to be reckoned with at home.

“Their fans were all as good as gold,” Froude said. “You’re always going to have a bit of a joke with hundreds of people like that, and there’s always the risk of a few idiots – but there wasn’t that at all.”

“They applauded our guys at the end, we spoke to a number of them in the clubhouse and they are all very complimentary about us and the way we played.

“They have seen the level to which they want to aspire. It was a very positive day for the club as a whole.

Buckland has since been drawn at home against compatriot Wellington of the Western League in the third round of FA Vase, with the draw set to be played on Saturday, December 11 (3 p.m. ET).

“The Vase allows you to dream a little,” added Froude. “We’re not in the final stages yet, but I’m a bit of a dreamer, guys are dreamers and the longer we are, the longer this dream can last.

“We have a very good squad and I know we will be a better team in 12 to 18 months. We just want to keep them together and days like these will help to do that.

Froude and his players look again to the Western League this Saturday for the visit of Cadbury Heath (3 p.m.).

“Football is all about doing the right things at the right time all the time,” said Froude. “If we do that, everything else will take care of it.

“I don’t get too excited if we win four on the rebound and I don’t worry too much if we don’t collect points.

“If you keep doing the right things with a bunch of guys who want to run through brick walls, you’ll win more than you lose.”

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