BLOCKBUSTER FA CUP CLASH FOR SEAGULLS - Debutants Mousehole to host Helston Athletic on August 7th
Mousehole, pictured in action last season, will make their FA Cup debuts against local rivals Helston Athletic PICTURE: PAUL WILLIAMS
14th July 2021
By Tom Howe
Manager Jake Ash says leading Mousehole into their maiden FA Cup fixture against local rivals Helston Athletic will be a ‘magical’ experience. As well as gearing up for their first season at step five, the Western League outfit are also preparing to debut in the world’s oldest and most prestigious national football competition.
An already historic moment has become even more mouthwatering following Friday’s draw, which has pitted Ash’s Seagulls against a Helston side managed by Steve Massey, whom he played under at Falmouth Town and Truro City.
Pending restrictions regarding covid-19, a large crowd is expected at Trungle Parc for the extra preliminary round tie on August 7, with the winners guaranteed a prize purse of £1,125 and a plum preliminary round tie at home to Plymouth Parkway two weeks later.
“It is at home which is great for us and I am sure it will get a lot of attention drawn to it,” Ash told the Voice.
“Helston have had a really good record against in the last two seasons and are the only side that have beaten us more than once. “
“It is a really tough draw for us and I think Helston will feel the same way. With the amount of Cornish teams in it now, there was always an inevitability that it was going to be one of our league rivals. “
“The neutral will look at it and think it is fantastic but, for the clubs, we are going to play each other enough this season so we would rather play someone else at this stage. “
“[However], it is a really interesting one and it is great for the football club to be involved in the competition. There is a lot of excitement in and amongst the players, who have probably not played in the competition before. It is certainly exciting for the club to be involved in the greatest cup competition in the world. “
“It will be really magical and we are looking forward to that one already. At this level, with the FA Vase as well, it is the pinnacle for players. You just never know, if you can have a bit of good fortune and go on a run, games are televised really early in the competition these days.”
“We have got a really good group of players and their ambition is to go and play beyond step five. It puts them on a platform.”
Ash, who is preparing for his third season in charge of the Seagulls, continued by saying: “We have got to go and put our best foot forward and see where it takes us. “
“Hopefully it gives the club that wider exposure that opens up doors in terms of bringing in players, sponsors and what have you, and the prize money as well is a nice aside. “
“It is really exciting. With going up into the new league, it adds to the excitement around the club in general and Cornish football itself.”
Mousehole kicked off their pre-season fixture programme with Tallan Mitchell (2), Callam McOnie, Hayden Turner and Sean Roberts each scoring in a 5-0 home win over St Blazey Missing striker Mark Goldsworthy due to covid-19, Ash was able to give run outs to the majority of his squad in a second tie of the week against i2i Academy, led by former Seagull Jason Blunt.
In testing conditions at Trungle Park, Turner continued his fine vein of form with a treble while his former Newquay team-mate McOnie and Roberts also got themselves on the scoresheet once again in a 5-1 triumph. Ironically, Mousehole continue pre-season against their potential future FA Cup opponents, Plymouth Parkway (July 17), before welcoming Exeter City of League Two the following week (July 21).
A trip to Larkhall Athletic for the club’s only away fixture comes next (July 24), before the Seagulls’ competitive campaign gets underway at home to Wellington on July 31.
“It has been really nice to get back and play some games,” continued Ash, the former Truro captain who made 394 appearances during 11 years at Treyew Road.”
“Pre-season is normally there for fitness and working on tactical elements. We have to accept that a big part of playing that first game was going out and enjoying it because it had been seven months since we last played. “
“It felt a bit weird really. You go into pre-season with a defined concept of what you want to do but a lot of this pre-season is getting used to playing football again and all of the bits that come with it. We had a few after Friday’s game that were feeling pretty sore because their bodies aren’t used to playing two games in a week. “
“Playing is making it all feel a bit normal and a bit real again. I just hope that covid doesn’t derail that. We played Tuesday against a physical, aggressive and very strong St Blazey side then had a different challenge against a young, fit and athletic [Academy] so two very different tests. “
“It was nice to have two different challenges to overcome. I know a lot of St Blazey’s players and they will have a really good season. I said to Phil [Lafferty - manager] that they will do really, really well. “
“Then it was nice to play somebody different on Friday and a good precursor for the season where we will be playing against unfamiliar teams.”