FOOTBALL: Higdon the hero for Melksham

MELKSHAM Town's ascent up the Toolstation League Premier Division table continued as Gary Higdon's hat-trick downed Longwell Green Sports at The Conigre on Saturday.

Darren Perrin's men, who host Winterbourne United tonight, claimed their fourth win over November, taking the lead 10 minutes before half time as Higdon was felled by Longwell's goalkeeper and picked himself up to score from the penalty.

Sports drew level when Dan Hunt headed home from a corner, but Town regained the lead just before the interval and Shaun Benison and Dan Kovacs combined to allow Higdon to touch the ball home.

Melksham wrapped up the points in the dying moments of the match as Higdon headed home from Will Stead's free kick.

Matty Jenkins' strike ended a run of three straight Toolstation League First Division defeats for Corsham Town as they edged past Roman Glass St George 1-0 at the Southbank.

Bradford Town hit back from a goal down to maintain their unbeaten run with a 2-1 home success over Barnstaple Town.

The visitors, the only side to take points off Paul Shanley's men following a draw in Devon earlier this season, took the lead through Billy Tucker.

But goal machine Sam Jordan struck twice to make it 18 wins from 19 matches for Town.

Warminster Town claimed their first point under the new management duo of Andy Crabtree and Derek Graham as they drew 2-2 at home with Wellington.

Two goals from Louis Sparey had the Red and Blacks in control after the first half, but Wellington hit back in the second half.

A vastly-improved performance by Westbury United went unrewarded as they lost 1-0 at Welton Rovers.

The encounter was feisty at times with both teams having a man sent off along with the referee issuing a further seven yellow cards.

United manager Matty Bown was forced to play four of the U18s - Nathan Hallett-Young and Dan Precup in defence, Charlie Walton in midfield and Joe Moloney as a second-half substitute in attack - and all did themselves proud with strong performances.

Rovers started better  and Alex Shaftoe had to save well from Chris Peck before the only goal of the game was scored on 13 minutes.

Anthony Conradi’s pace created a crossing opportunity from the left wing with the ball finding its’ way to Paul Banks who had time and space to pick his spot.

United gradually built a foothold in the game and Mark Young curled a free kick over the bar with Wayne Wheeler then Young doing likewise from open play.

Shaftoe advanced to claim the ball on the half hour but handled it outside his area and received a yellow card.

Andrew Keen’s free kick flew just wide.

Young had a few great chances to equalise but was extremely unlucky to see a fierce left footed shot rebound off the crossbar and bounce to safety then a further effort saved by King when the winger had got into a one on one situation.

An unsavoury incident occurred five minutes before the break when an awful challenge on Joe Murray by Welton midfielder Tom Smith led to a scuffle that saw four players - including Smith as well as Westbury’s Wheeler and Young - booked.

The visitors had the first chance after half time when Murray and Nathan Hallett combined to set up Adam James whose fine strike was deflected wide.

But it was the hosts who then had a period of dominance that forced Shaftoe into fine saves to deny Banks twice and Dan Cottle from doubling Welton’s lead. Peck then struck a beautiful volley from outside the box that went narrowly wide of the target.

Shaftoe made an error on 72 minutes that saw him sent off when he again advanced out of his area but this time he clattered into Conradi with the referee having no option but to show him a second yellow card.

As a result United then lost some of their attacking force with Young taking over in goal – he was to have no save to make in the remaining play as not only did his side do well with less players but Rovers were also reduced to 10 men when Smith was late on Murray for the second time and he also saw another yellow card.

Hallett, who had looked likely to create chances all afternoon, came to the fore late on with several rasping shots that brought the best out of King but Westbury just couldn’t find an equaliser as time ran out.



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