FOOTBALL: Bradford point buoys Graham
WARMINSTER Town joint-boss Derek Graham is hoping his side’s point at high-flying local rivals Bradford Town last weekend will prove to be a major turning point in the Weymouth Street men’s season.
Warminster caused runaway league leaders Bradford to drop points in the league for only the fourth time this season and led 2-1 before the home side saved themselves from defeat with a late equaliser.
Debutant Ian Robinson and Lloyd Matthews netted either side of half-time to put Graham and Andy Crabtree’s men 2-0 up at Trowbridge Road.
Bradford’s Sam Jordan reduced the deficit before former Warminster man Beau Blakeman netted at the death for Paul Shanley’s hosts.
“If you’d offered me a draw before the game, I would have been delighted but in the end, it was disappointing not to win the game – that’s a good thing though really,” said Graham.
“We had one of the strongest sides out that we’ve had all season and it was a game of two halves.
“Hopefully this is a result that can help turn things around for us.”
Former Frome Town men Jack Metcalf and Alex Lapham both featured for Warminster, who host Roman Glass St George tomorrow.
Shanley’s men rediscover touch to break Glass PAUL Shanley was pleased to see Bradford Town rediscover their defensive solidity as they swept aside Roman Glass St George on Wednesday night.
Dan King, Liam Milburn and defender Craig Gingell, making only his second appearance of the season, were all on target but the Bradford manager was delighted to see his men keep a clean sheet after conceding seven goals in the three matches leading up to Wednesday’s clash.
“We’ve been leaking a few goals recently. We let in two against Warminster and five against Corsham and it was really nice to see us get that clean sheet,” said Shanley.
“We went 1-0 up in the first half but were probably a bit poor after that.
“We reorganised at half-time, created lots of chances in the second half, and could have scored a few.”
“Against Warminster, we were disappointed to be 2-0 down because they’d scored with their only two shots of the game but we showed a good bit of character to score twice in the last 20 minutes and rescue a point.”
Victory comes at a price
HIS SIDE may have maintained their good league form, but Corsham Town manager Trevor Rawlings thinks his team will have to overcome a mini injury crisis to continue on an upward curve.
Corsham made it six victories from eight matches in the league as they came from two goals down to run out comfortable winners at Keynsham Town.
But with both Matt Windle and Nathan Phillimore hobbling off with ankle injuries to add to an already extensive list, Rawlings reckons the Southbank outfit will be up against it in the weeks to come.
“We had two players come off with ankle problems within the first 10 minutes and all of a sudden, we’re back to where we were a few months ago with a lot of people missing,” said Rawlings.
“Matty felt his ankle and will probably be a doubt for this weekend but Nath had only just come back after a while out with a hamstring injury and he looked in real pain.
“He had to be carried off and couldn’t walk properly after the game.
“It’s going to be really difficult now but we’ve got to do what we can to get through it.”
Hosts Keynsham were unbeaten in three matches going in to last weekend’s clash and raced into the lead on their artificial pitch, Patrick Davison and Szymon Gromek finding the net.
Ryan Tyrell reduced the deficit before Booker Woodford turned hat-trick hero in the second period to take his tally to six goals in four matches.
But Rawlings isn’t sure when he’ll be able to call on the services of Woodford again.
He said: “Booker’s family are from this area but he lives and works in London and he went back up there this week.
“I need to wait and find out what the situation is there – he might be coming back on Saturdays but I’m not sure if that’s going to be happening at the moment.”
Corsham host bottom-of-the-table Portishead Town this weekend.
Bown is keeping his chin up
MATT Bown isn’t getting too downhearted after his Westbury United side saw their five-match unbeaten run come to an end at home to Almondsbury UWE last weekend.
The visitors’ Brett Agnew struck with just six minutes on the clock to knock the stuffing out of Bown’s men before Simon McIlroy killed off any chance of a fightback in the second period.
The Westbury manager is still pleased with his team’s recent efforts.
“It was one of those games where we just fell a little bit short,” said Bown.
“I was missing three players from my back four and they were a good side that played moved the ball around nicely in difficult conditions.
“They got a goal early doors and after that, we did have a few chances where we should have scored but it just didn’t go in for us.
“I’m still happy with how we’ve improved over the last five games and that’s all I’d like to see us carry on doing.
“We’ve got a tough game this weekend though (at Ashton & Backwell). They’ve already beat us twice this season, in the league and in the FA Vase.”
Defenders David Whyte and Nathan Hallett-Young return to the Westbury squad for tomorrow’s clash but Simon Millard and Mark Young are both unavailable.
Dan Dominy will be missing against whilst goalkeeper Rob Brown is suspended.
No Winter warmer for Darren
MELKSHAM Town manager Darren Perrin isn’t a fan of Winterbourne United’s artificial pitch and admits that his side simply didn’t adapt to the surface as they were well beaten last weekend.
Melksham slipped to their 12th defeat of the season as they came unstuck in South Gloucestershire, with Dan Kovacs cancelling out Ben Dowdell’s opener in the first half.
Striker Dowdell netted a quickfire double in the second period to complete his hat-trick and send Perrin’s men packing.
“I’m not saying it because we lost the game, because we were beaten by the better side on the day, but in my opinion, 3G pitches are great for training exercises but I wouldn’t like to play league games on them week in, week out,” said the Melksham boss.
“We just didn’t look good on that surface and it’s no coincidence that Winterbourne’s home record is in the top three or four in the league.
“Perhaps we were a bit naive and should have prepared better for it.”
Melksham’s trip to Gillingham Town on Tuesday night was rained off.
Perrin has moved to bring in former Frome Town winger Ben Thomson from Larkhall Athletic but utility man Nathan Flower could be on his way out after Melksham opted to waive a seven-day approach from near neighbours Bradford Town.
Wait goes on for the Bees
IT’S more than a month and counting since Trowbridge Town last saw competitive action, Saturday’s Premier Division clash at Marlborough Town becoming the latest casualty of the recent bad weather.
Mike Alford’s side face a daunting comeback tomorrow afternoon, with a trip to Premier Division leaders Supermarine Sports Club on the calendar.
It’s a similar for Melksham Town Reserves in Division One, who remain in second place despite not having taken to the field since December 7.
They too face a top-of-the-table clash, against leaders Intel tomorrow.
FOR MORE SPORTS NEWS, REPORTS & PICTURES SEE FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @WTSport