http://www.thisiscornwall.co&# ... ry.html
West Briton: Falmouth's day in the sun - 50 years on
Nov. 01 (West Briton, The) -- IT IS hard to imagine now Falmouth Town's Bickland Park ground packed to the rafters with more than 8,000 fans filling every vantage point.
But 50 years ago this Saturday that was the case when Falmouth made history when they took on Oxford United in the first round of the FA Cup.
They were, and remain, the only Cornish side to reach the first round - a feat they repeated in 1967 and 1969.
Back in the 1960s, Falmouth were "The Team" in Cornwall, boosted by the lucrative sale of their former ground at Ashfield to an oil company and they were able to field a team, almost all of whom were exprofessional players.
After the previous season when they became the first team to win the treble of the South-Western League, League Cup and Senior Cup, they embarked on their first FA Cup campaign beating St Blazey, Bideford, Barnstaple and Bath City to reach the first round proper.
The only "local" player in their side was newsagent left-back John Garwood, who is now 77 and still lives in the town.
The late Eric Davis was the player-manager and he had already enjoyed his moment of glory in the FA Cup, by scoring twice for Scunthorpe United in knocking Newcastle United the holders out at St James' Park. He came to Falmouth via Plymouth Argyle as did many of the players. John Garwood, then 27, had only just moved to Falmouth from Essex and only met up with the rest of the team, who were largely based at Plymouth, on match days.
He said: "I was an amateur. I did not want to get any money I just wanted to play football.
"I trained on my own. I used to get into the ground to train by climbing over an eight foot wall (a feat pictured in the Daily Express).
"We had some great wins to get to the first round and it was a brilliant day. Falmouth were a force then and the most feared team in the South West." Oxford United, who then played in the old Fourth Division, were captained by Ron Atkinson, who went on to manage Manchester United and become a TV pundit.
The tie attracted national media attention, with famous BBC boxing commentator Raymond Glendenning doing the live radio commentary. The BBC filmed the match which was broadcast later in the evening.
Sadly, there was to be no fairytale result as Falmouth lost 2-1, with a late goal from Johnny Penny giving them brief hope after the visitors had gone 2-0 up with two goals midway through the second half.
But for many it was a never to be forgotten occasion, including young supporter Keith Rashleigh, whose brother Clifford had been a member of the treble-winning team before suffering a cartilage injury.
He said: "Pupils at Trescobeas School, under the supervision of Alan Spencer the woodwork teacher, made hundreds of wooden rattles. "Fields around Union Corner were used for extra car parking and a special covered area in front of the main stand was created for the National Press.
"Benches (I believe from Falmouth Docks) were placed all around the touchlines and 500 Oxford fans all bussed up from Penmere station were segregated by a single piece of pipe into the far corner opposite the pay box end.
"All was very highly organised.
Even the weather was good.
"It was 0-0 at half time and Town were holding their own and with the revered forward line of Penny. Peach, Bennett. Sullivan and Russell. (still rattled off from memory by older supporters) the miracle was still on.
"It wasn't to be however with Oxford scoring two goals midway through the second half. A goal by Penny prompted the inevitable pitch invasion by the home fans to give Town a glimmer of hope but apart from a shot by Sullivan which went just over the bar, that was it. "The dream was over. It was back to the South Western League."
Sadly no reunion seems to have been planned to mark one of Cornish football's greatest ever days. As John Garwood, who later went on to become chairman at Falmouth Town, said: "It was a different world back in those days. When we met local teams you would get thousands there and you couldn't park near the ground." ? The club repeated their First round appearance again in 1967, when they lost 5-2 away to Peterborough United, and in 1969 when the met Peterborough again Bickland losing 4-1 to the visitors. They were great days.
"We had some great wins to get to the first round. Falmouth were a force then and the most feared team in the South West Falmouth Town's John Garwood
Copyright (c) Northcliffe Newspapers Group Limited 2012
Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
-0- Nov/01/2012 13:18 GMT