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Clarets show a fighting spirit that pleases boss

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 30, 2013

CLARETS EVERYWHERE:  Launceston defender Mike Burke beats Falmouth's Dan Richardson to the ball in Saturday's win at Bickand Park.  by Toby Weller.

CLARETS EVERYWHERE: Launceston defender Mike Burke beats Falmouth's Dan Richardson to the ball in Saturday's win at Bickand Park. by Toby Weller.

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Falmouth Town 1, Launceston 2

SATURDAY'S second half battle at Bickland Park was enough to agitate any manager and come full-time Leigh Cooper was just happy to reflect on a Launceston victory.

This was you proverbial game of two halves. The Clarets, commanding in the opening 45 minutes, led 2-0 and looked well on course for victory. But against a Falmouth side improving every week under management duo Robbie Stephens and Les Gilbert, the second half was far from comfortable viewing for Cooper.

But that's not to say the Clarets' boss was unhappy with what he witnessed after the break. If anything, he will have taken some satisfaction in seeing his side roll up their sleeves and slog it out in difficult conditions against a new look Town side fighting for their lives near the foot of the table.

Dan Richardson's goal early in the second half gave the home side a fresh impetus. But for all Falmouth's hard work and endeavour, Cooper's men were always up for the fight, and ultimately that competitive edge this side boasts in abundance, never waned and victory was secured.

Cooper said: "We said at half-time that the next goal was crucial, they got it and it obviously gave them a huge lift.

"Falmouth battled well. They're obviously in a bit of a dogfight and not used to being in the position. They went out and worked their socks off and made it difficult for us.

"But we've shown we can battle in these situations and most importantly we've picked up three points."

Skipper Rob Blake was the difference between the sides on Saturday. The midfielder's two first half headers put Launceston in command and seemingly on their way to a comfortable win.

Cooper said: "It's unusual for him to get on the scoresheet. Two good headers and he'll be disappointed he didn't get his hat-trick. He was the best player on the park for me today."

Cooper's men made the best possible start when Blake headed home Chris Head's corner in the 17th minute.

And when Blake sent a bullet header past Town goalkeeper Jason Chapman in the 28th minute to double his side's lead, a predictable, comfortable away win surely beckoned.

Frustratingly, however, for Cooper, the second half presented a completely different challenge. Having dominated for large period of the opening 45 minutes, a resurgent Town really put the Clarets to the test after the break.

And when Richardson slid home Pat Shaughnessy's pull back in the 54th minute it was game on.

The hosts created a number of opportunities, the best falling to Glen Squires, but his weak effort was easily collected by Stephenson, much to the relief of Cooper.

Saturday's win keeps the Clarets third in the premier division table ahead of this weekend's visit of fourth-placed Elburton Villa.

Cooper said: "We're just taking one game at a time. We just want to stay as high up the table as possible. If you've got aspirations to be in the top three or four you've got to come to places like this and win.

"We've got a tough one on Saturday against Elburton. They beat us at their place 2-0, so we'll be looking to put that right and stay above them."

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