As we move into the new year and the second half of the football season, Packet Sport looks back on the season so far and the major football titles in the 2021 region.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the relevant restrictions, the second half of the 2020/21 season has been canceled.
However, promotions have always taken place as Helston Athletic ascended into the Toolstation Western League along with neighboring rivals Mousehole AFC, and Penryn Athletic was first promoted to the South West Peninsula League (SWPL).
Penryn got his hands on the silverware in late May when they won the St Piran League Cup.
The trophy was hastily assembled as restrictions eased and Athletic beat AFC St Austell and Illogan RBL reserves 3-1 en route to the cup final.
Wendron United’s home in Underlane was the venue for the day, and goals from Jack Rapsey and Ryan Reeve saw Penryn clinch the trophy with a 2-0 victory over Polperro.
The 2021/22 season started in August, Helston was the first to kick off his campaign and did so with a comfortable 7-1 away win at last place at Bridport.
In their first campaign at this level, Helston matched the ambition of their manager Steve Massey who has consistently said he aims to be on top this Christmas.
As of this writing, Helston is fifth in the standings, losing just twice during the league season. They also have games in hand on the sides around them in what is a hotly contested league with just three points separating second from seventh.
Stu Bowker’s signing turned out to be a shrude affair of Massey, the leading scorer has been an integral part of Helston’s season.
The Blues are, however, out of the FA Cup and FA Vase. They were beaten 3-1 to rivals Mousehole in the FA Cup preliminary round in August, before being beaten in the FA Vase second round by Oldland Abbotonians on penalties.
They are, however, still in the Cornwall Senior Cup (CSC) quarter-finals and will face another WHL club Saltash in January.
The South West Peninsula League got underway soon after, and the current Falmouth Town leaders scored their first of 18 straight league wins so far when they beat local rivals Wendron 2-0 at Underlane thanks to a double from Tim Nixon.
Falmouth has gotten stronger and stronger this season, fueled by the noisy F-Troop that has traveled in numbers this campaign, Town smashed their winning streak record with a 3-0 win over Launceston securing their 22nd straight win.
Their boxing aftermath pounding local rivals Penryn was seen by 1,171 supporters who broke the SWPL record for attendance and was the biggest crowd for a competitive match at Bickland Park as 1,526 gathered on the ground for watch FA Vase Quarter Final against St Helens Town in the 1986/87 season.
Town was bolstered by the superb acquisition from Jack Bray-Evans who blew everyone away with his heroic Town-colored goals. The forward has scored four goals against Penryn to overtake fellow Falmouth Luke Brabyn in the scorers standings with 22 bagged this season.
Let’s take a minute to appreciate this Jack Bray-Evans absolute ððððððððððð. ??@swpleague @Cornishfootball @packet_tom @NonLeagueCrowd #FTFC ?? pic.twitter.com/FexLAuhmeE
– Falmouth Town FC (@Falmouth_Town) December 26, 2021
Town only tasted defeat once and it was in the FA Vase. After beating Bradford Town 2-1 at home, they faced Buckland Athletic of the Western League in the next round, but were beaten 3-1 on the day.
The rest of the season looks incredibly promising for Town now, with fans chanting “we’re going to win the league” regularly. Town hopes they can continue their victory and unbeaten streak to achieve this goal.
They are also in the Walter C Parson Cup (WCP) third round against SWPL leaders East Okehampton and have a CSC quarter-final against Newquay on the horizon in January.
Wendron United has been a driving force behind the SWPL this season. After finishing the last two seasons due to the pandemic, this was the teams’ first season in a (fairly) uninterrupted covid season.
Their foundations for a successful first half of the season have been formed on excellent form at home, where in the league they have only lost three times to Underlane. Although disappointing for them, two of those losses came against local teams in Falmouth and Penryn.
However, just five losses all season have seen the Dron fly third in the division and winger and former Helston Cam Wheat they have a fit man, scoring 15 times in the league this season.
The shape of the cup has also been a shining light for Wendron’s season. The FA Vase race will be remembered for their first year in competition. Wendron beat Bishop Sutton and Bournemouth FC and was seconds away from bringing New Milton Town into extra time in FA Vase’s second round, but three late goals in stoppage time denied them a spot in the next round .
Michael O’Neill has his well-disciplined squad and plays attractive attacking football and is still in the WCP Cup with an intriguing draw against Bodmin before a home game against Sticker in the CSC quarter-finals.
Penryn Athletic is having his first season in the SWPL under Harry Pope. At the time of writing, the side is currently 11th in the table, with an inconsistency in the results leaving the side of Kernick Road slightly on occasion.
However, their commitment to playing lightweight football has rewarded them with plenty of goals this season. In fact, their loss to Falmouth Town on Boxing Day was the only time in the league that Penryn had failed to hit the net this season.
Pope said his team are still adjusting to life at this level, but have come a long way since losing to Launceston on Day 1 of the season. Despite, being out of all cups, Penryn now has the opportunity to focus solely on the league and reach as high a position as possible. Their next game is at home against Newquay on Saturday January 8th.
The Porthleven AFC, celebrating its 125th anniversary, announced its immediate resignation from SWPL in September, a then statement from League Secretary Phil Hiscox said: âAfter several days of rumors and speculation, I can confirm now that the Porthleven AFC have informed the South West Peninsula League, in writing, that they are withdrawing from the Western Premier Division of Step Six with immediate effect.
“We have, with deep regret, accepted the resignation despite the club accepting that a financial penalty be imposed under standardized FA rules.
âPorthleven AFC is a long-time member of the NLS, having played in the former South Western League and then being a founding member of the SW Peninsula in 2007.
“It is a very sad day for all football fans in the South West and our thoughts are with the current and past pillars who have kept NLS football alive for so many years at Gala Parc.”
A month later, following an EGM, Robert Hichens was elected the club’s new president and in his opening statement thanked his predecessors and explained the decision to retire from the league: âHe A few months ago Porthleven had a tough time off the pitch behind closed doors, I don’t want to bring that into the future of Gala Parc, what can I say, it was the actions that created the news that the first team had to be withdrawn from the Southwest Peninsula League has now allowed the club to have a good reset and start over.
âI would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Gala Parc for all that Simon Bew the outgoing president has done for our club over the past three years, he found himself with a club in financial difficulty and worked very hard with his committee to leave us in a totally different position, which makes my job much easier in that regard. ”
Porthleven still have a team playing in the St Piran League West, they are tenth out of 16 teams with 15 points (after adjustment) in their 14 games so far.