FOOTBALL: Corsham stun table toppers
TREVOR Rawlings reckons his Corsham Town side gave a glimpse of their true potential last weekend as they inflicted a first defeat of the season on title favourites Bradford Town.
Corsham hit the heights at Trowbridge Road to shatter their local rivals’ unbeaten record in the Toolstation League First Division, winning 5-3.
Victory saw Rawlings’ men notch up their fifth win in six matches and with his squad nearing full strength, the Corsham chief is eyeing a positive second half of the season.
“I think that it showed that, on our day, we’re as good as anyone in the league,” said Rawlings.
“I’ve managed to get most people back and we had a strong squad of 16.
“If we could keep that 16 fit and playing, then we could go and have a good end to the season. We did worry about going there and getting turned over but we said to the boys at half-time that if we could defend well, we could come back to win the game – that’s exactly what happened.
“It’s a great result and we’ve got to try and keep our run going now.”
Corsham’s Nick Holton and Jason Henley netted either side of Dan King’s goal before the hosts’ Sam Jordan and Jake Hiscocks netted to give Bradford a 3-2 lead at half-time.
But Rawlings’ side roared back in the second period to clinch a landmark victory, with striker Booker Woodford hitting a brace and Ryan Tyrell also finding the net as Corsham upset the odds.
Bradford manager Paul Shanley conceded that his side fell way short of their high standards.
“We got exactly what we deserved on the day and fair play to Corsham,” said the Bradford boss.
“We were lucky to be leading at half-time and hopefully it shows us that when you’re not on your game in this league, you get turned over.
“We’ve got to try and start another unbeaten run that will push on to promotion.”
Both sides are in Wiltshire Senior Cup action tomorrow, with Corsham hosting Hellenic League Purton and Bradford at home to Pewsey Vale.
Westbury United manager Matt Bown is hoping his side can begin to climb the table after returning from their enforced winter break with victory over promotion chasers Welton Rovers at the weekend.
Westbury carved out a 3-0 lead at Meadow Lane, with youngster Nathan Hallett-Young putting Bown’s men ahead in the first period before Nathan Hallett and Wayne Wheeler, who netted a superb free-kick, hit the target after half-time.
Welton set up a nervy finale as Chris Peck and Paul Banks both scored to reduce the deficit to a single goal but Westbury held on to take all three points.
“We’ve had a bit of a break and I’ve had the players in for a bit of fitness training and stamina work but we kicked the New Year off with a really good result,” said Bown.
“We played well against a really good side and our secretary told me that we hadn’t won three games at home in a row in the last three years.
“I was a little bit disappointed with the way that we took our foot off the gas and allowed them back in to it because they were two sloppy goals but the result was still fantastic.
“We only got 32 points last season and we’ve got 28 already, so we should be looking to try and push up that table now.
“I’m only look at it in little stages but last weekend shows that we can pick up points if we put our minds to it.”
Goalscorer Hallett made his last appearance of season last weekend after undergoing a wrist operation this week whilst Westbury captain David Whyte is set for a spell on the sidelines due to work commitments.
Bown has snapped up former Warminster Town striker DJ Wheeler.
Derek Graham was left to lament a Jekyll & Hyde display from his Warminster Town side as they were well beaten at Wincanton Town.
The hosts found the net five times in Somerset and goals from Sam Clift and debutant striker Lloyd Matthews, who has joined Warminster after leaving Frome Town last month, weren’t enough to rescue Graham and Andy Crabtree’s men.
But joint-boss Graham was keen to focus on the positives from his side’s second-half performance.
“We lost our centre-half, Mark Breffit, after five minutes and we were up against it then because Paddy Carrig was also missing,” he said.
“Frankly, we just wanted to get them back in at half-time to reorganise the back four because we were 2-0 down and it was a rubbish performance.
“We might have lost the second half 3-2 on goals but they scored from a deflection, a penalty that was dubious and a free-kick that was dubious.
“We played some nice stuff and it was a million miles from how we were in the first half.
“We’ve had a few of the old boys, like Jason and Matt Guy and Dave Watkins at training recently so if we could get them signed up, we should be a bit stronger.”
Melksham Town manager Darren Perrin is prepping his troops for a vital cup clash this weekend.
Melksham host Hellenic League Highworth Town in the quarter-finals of the Wiltshire Senior Cup on Saturday, looking to go a step closer to retaining the title.
Perrin reckons his side, who suffered late heartbreak as they succumbed to a last-gasp goal at Bitton in the Toolstation Premier last weekend, go into the clash as underdogs but is certain his players will be prepared for a testing Conigre encounter.
“It’s the big game for us and the biggest positive from last weekend’s game is that we got 90 minutes into the legs of a few players to give us the best chance of being ready for Saturday,” said the Melksham boss.
“We were disappointed to concede a late goal but both sides deserved credit because it was an entertaining game.
“We’re underdogs this weekend – Highworth are the highest-ranked team left in the competition but hopefully, come about 5.15, we’re in the semi-finals.
“They have three or four players missing through suspension but we’ll probably have a few missing too.
“We’re hoping for a crowd of about 300 – all of the youth players have been invited to watch, along with their parents.”
Last weekend, Ian Jeffery and Dan Kovacs were on target at Bitton but the hosts’ Aysa Corrick popped up with a dramatic late winner.
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