FOOTBALL ROUND-UP: Bradford book their final spot
10:30am Friday 14th March 2014 in By Dan Barnes
Bradford Town’s Sam Jordan celebrates after netting the opening goal against Bemerton Heath Harlequins on Saturday
BRADFORD Town manager Paul Shanley was thrilled to see his side keep their double dream alive after being handed the fillip of a county cup final.
Bradford, who remain on course to lift the Toolstation League First Division title, were booted out of the Wiltshire Senior Cup for fielding an ineligible player last season but Shanley’s men will have the chance to set the record books straight after booking their place in this year’s final.
A brace from top scorer Sam Jordan and a Tom Welch strike saw Bradford see off Sydenhams League Premier Division outfit Bemerton Heath Harlequins in their semi-final at Warminster Town’s Weymouth Street ground on Tuesday night.
“We’re all absolutely delighted – now we’ve got a cup final to look forward to at the end of the season,” said Shanley.
“We had to ride our luck a little bit because they really came at us but we scored three goals in quick succession and then we were comfortable.
“What happened last year was disappointing for the club but we’ve put that behind us and we’ve got a chance to win it this year.”
Bradford kept their title charge on track last weekend as Jordan fired home the only goal of the game to give his side a 1-0 victory over local rivals Westbury United at Trowbridge Road.
Shanley’s title-chasers were also in action last night as they took on Wells City at home.
Derby showing pleases boss Bown
MATT Bown was proud of his Westbury United’s efforts against Bradford Town last weekend, particularly after a host of set-backs.
Westbury were unable to put the brakes on the Toolstation League First Division league leaders but manager Bown was keen to focus on the positives after a tumultuous build-up to his side’s clash at Trowbridge Road.
“Craig Fisher was due to make his debut but couldn’t get there after his car broke down and then Charlie Walton pulled up during the warm-up,”said the United boss.
“Nathan Hallett-Young also came off after a few minutes when he caught his knee, so I had to change from the 3-5-2 we were going to play.”
“I think we would have had more punch up top if we’d have been able to play the system I wanted, but it’s not an excuse because I thought we were fantastic.
“I was keen to see how we’ve improved since the last time we played Bradford and I was proud of what we did out there on Saturday.”
Westbury take on Wincanton Town at Meadow Lane tomorrow.
All change as Perrin eyes cup
MELKSHAM Town manager Darren Perrin will aim to have the strongest squad possible at his disposal when his side bit to reach the final of the Wiltshire Senior Cup next week.
Holders Melksham take on Hellenic League Purton in the semi-finals of the county competition at Calne Town’s Bremhill View ground next Tuesday (kick-off 7.30pm).
And Conigre chief Perrin says that he’ll be ringing the changes for this weekend’s Toolstation League Premier Division trip to Longwell Green Sports as Melksham aim to retain their trophy.
“I’ll be making wholesale changes for the game at Longwell Green, mainly with Tuesday’s semi-final in mind – we’re the holders and we want to try and retain the cup,” said Perrin.
“I went to watch the other semi-final on Tuesday night (Bradford Town beat Bemerton Heath Harlequins 3-0) and we want to get through our semi too.
“Any side that beats Corsham, Chippenham Park and Calne, all away from home, is there on merit, so we know that Purton will be a tough side. I went to watch them a little while ago and the lad Blaine Fitzgerald is a very good player.
“But at the same time, we want them to be worrying about us.”
Last weekend, Melksham Town notched up a 1-0 victory over Ilfracombe Town, the with dual-registered Luke Ballinger coming off the bench to net the only goal of the game.
Corsham find form
TREVOR Rawlings feels in-form Corsham Town are a match for any side in the division after cruising to a victory on Saturday, writes Carl Field.
Jackson Hamilton and Gary Banks were on target for Rawlings’ men, who are now eight unbeaten in the league, losing just once in their last 13.
“I thought we dominated again for 90 minutes, defended well, and could’ve had a couple more goals to be honest,” said Rawlings.
“We also had a few out again, so that also shows we’ve got a bit of depth to the squad at the moment, and that we could still put a decent side out and get a good result. We’re on a good run and results breed confidence.
“It has taken a bit of time and patience – what with the bad spell of injuries we suffered earlier in the season – but we have a side now that can be up there, and we’ve proven that by beating top sides during that run over the last few months.
“I don’t think it matters where we play, we’ve got a decent record away from home as well.
“So it just shows that, when we’ve got everyone available, we’re as good as any team in this league.”
Corsham deservedly took the lead on 21 minutes when Hamilton netted from close range.
Banks secured maximum points on 68 minutes to avenge the 2-0 defeat to Chard in November.
Corsham visit Almondsbury UWE on Saturday.
Sympathy for crocked Alex
WARMINSTER Town manager says that he feels for Alex Lapham after the midfielder suffered another injury setback last weekend.
Lapham moved from Frome Town to Paulton Rovers earlier this season, but has spent the last three months playing for Graham and Andy Crabtree’s Warminster, in a bid to return to full fitness.
The midfielder has seen his last two seasons wrecked by chronic ankle problems and Graham fears that Lapham may be in for another extended spell on the sidelines after he suffered a knock in last weekend’s defeat to Almondsbury UWE.
“He got stamped on the ankle that’s caused him all the trouble and I think he’ll be out for the season now – it’s such a shame,” said Graham.
“It’s been really hard for him but hopefully a bit of a rest will help him get back fit and he can be back playing in the Southern League next season.”
Jack Metcalf pulled back a consolation goal as Warminster were seen off by Almondsbury.
Bees’ home comforts
TROWBRIDGE Town manager Mike Alford is looking forward to getting properly reacquainted with Wood-marsh after his side tasted victory in their first home game since last November last weekend.
Trowbridge got used to life back at their base as they beat Wilts Calne Town 3-1 on Saturday, with Otis Young levelling the scores after the visitors had had taken an early lead.
Sean Brereton made it 2-1 to the Bees before Ian Groves struck before half-time to round off victory for Alford’s fifth-placed side.
“It was a nice change to see the pitch without a load of water on it and to be honest, the game was in a bit of doubt on Friday but we thought that we just needed to get it played,” said the Trowbridge chief.
“To be honest, we were horrific at the start and weren’t at the races at all but eventually, we got the three goals we needed and got the win.
“We’re at home again tomorrow and the pitch should have been rolled, so we should be fine to get out there again.
“We’ve got a tough game against Ludgershall though because they’ve been on a very good run.”
Elsewhere in the Wiltshire League Premier Division, Corsham Town Reserves slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Marlborough Town.
They host title-chasers Shrewton United tomorrow.
In the First Division, Melksham Town Reserves hit the goal trail as they thrashed bottom-of-the-table Blunsdon 9-0 .
Title hopefuls Melksham, who remain a point behind league leaders Intel with four games in hand, take on fourth-placed Malmesbury Victoria Reserves at the Conigre tomorrow.
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