FOOTBALL ROUND-UP: Wakey, wakey, says Rawlings
TREVOR Rawlings says his Corsham Town side have to learn to put together a full 90-minute performance to ensure that they aren’t caught cold again.
Corsham were forced to come from 3-1 down to rescue a point against local rivals Warminster Town last weekend.
With upcoming clashes against promotion-chasing Cribbs and Shepton Mallet on the horizon, the Southbank chief says that his team can’t afford to leave themselves with a mountain to climb.
“The first 45 minutes was as bad as we’ve played all season but in the second half, we were very good – we’ve been a bit Jekyll and Hyde in the last few weeks,” said Rawlings.
“There were a few things said at half-time and we said that they had ten minutes to do something before we changed the formation.
“We ended up doing that and our keeper didn’t really have a save to make after half-time.
“We deserved our equaliser and if the game had gone on for another five minutes, I think we would have gotten a winner.
“But the problem we’ve got is that we need to perform for 90 minutes.
“If we do that against Cribbs and Shepton Mallet, then we’ll lose both of those games.
“There’ve been too many games where we haven’t performed for a whole half and it’s something that we, as a management, need to address.”
Warminster took the lead before Corsham’s Gary Banks levelled matters with his first goal since joining the club in December. But the visitors struck twice more before the break to extend their lead and leave Rawlings’ men with a mountain to climb.
When Jason Henley was brought down in the box, Aaron Ledgister made it 3-2 from the spot before Ben Moore fired home the equaliser.
Melksham back with a bang to hit Bridport for six
DARREN Perrin was thrilled to see his Melksham Town team announce their return to the pitch last weekend by ruthlessly dispatching Bridport.
Melksham, who had been kicking their heels for the last four weeks due to the recent raft of postponements, hit the goal trail in Dorset as they racked up one of their biggest wins of the season so far.
Strikers Gary Higdon and Dan Kovacs both hit two goals apiece before Sean Benison’s free-kick was diverted into his own net by a Bridport midfielder.
Young winger Dan Sibley then marked his debut with Melksham’s sixth of the afternoon.
“We were a bit wary because you never know what kind of performance you’re going to get after a long lay-off,” said Perrin.
“We’ve been lucky that we’ve had an indoor facility in Melksham that we’ve been able to train at, as well as on the 3G pitch at Leafy Lane in Corsham.
“The most pleasing thing was that we were ruthless and then the icing on the cake was Dan Sibley coming on and scoring on his debut – he’s only 16 years old and we’re trying to find out if he’s Melksham’s youngest-ever scorer in the Western League.
“We’ve got two games in three days coming up. The pitch is fine and there isn’t any torrential rain forecast, so hopefully we’re back to playing games now.”
Melksham host Bishop Sutton this weekend before they also welcome Hengrove Athletic to the Conigre next Monday evening.
Town luck is turning
SIMON Gardner thinks his Calne Town side are finally beginning to get their just rewards after picking up a fine point at Welton Rovers last weekend.
The Calne manager wasn’t present as his team, under the stewardship of assistant Darren Legg, held promotion-chasing Welton to a draw in Somerset.
Glenn Armstrong had a goal controversially ruled out for offside before the hosts’ Ben Harris opened the scoring.
The visitors’ Tom Slater had a penalty shout turned down but Alex Hamilton slotted home the equaliser.
“I think a result like that had been coming because we’d just not been getting the rub of the green,” said Gardner.
“We went there with players missing and Darren Legg had to come on after an injury, but it still sounds as though we could have won.”
Billy tucks in to Devizes
DEVIZES Town slipped to a third defeat on the spin last weekend as they were well-beaten at Nursteed Road by Barnstaple Town.
The visitors took the lead midway through the first half when Billy Tucker’s strike deflected in off Jack Jenkins. Tucker then doubled Barnstaple’s advantage with a dipping strike on the stroke of half-time.
Justin Webster and Darran Walters’ men were unable to find a way back into the game in the second period and the visitors netted their third as Tucker grabbed his second of the afternoon.
Devizes go looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to Westbury United this weekend.
Undercooked Bassett beaten
WOOTTON Bassett Town manager Jeff Roberts admits his side were suffering a hangover from their six-week lay-off as they slipped to defeat at Oxford City Nomads last weekend.
Two goals from the hosts’ Louis Joyce ensured that Bassett suffered an unhappy return to action and saw the end of their eight-match unbeaten run in the league.
“The six-week lay-off since our last game really didn’t help us at all to be honest because we haven’t been able to play. Training was hard too and I think that showed,” said Roberts.
“Oxford have been able to train twice a week which helped them and we did look sluggish.
We were second to everything which really didn’t help us at all. Our passing and movement was sluggish and we were punished for some silly little errors.
“It was a bad display from most of our players, to be honest, and when that happens, it’s hard to win.
“We had been on an eight-game unbeaten run but within 20 minutes we looked tired, although Oxford weren’t as good as the team we played earlier in the season.
“What’s happened, happened and we need to start again now.”
Bassett will be looking to bounce back when they take on mid-table Kidlington at the Corinium Stadium this weekend.
Vics lose out on return
MALMESBURY Victoria boss Gareth Davies was gutted that his side couldn’t get back in the saddle with a result at Clanfield on Tuesday evening.
The Vics, in action after a lay-off of more than six weeks, had James Hambridge sent off for kicking out at an opposition players and despite a spirited response with ten men, Davies’ side were undone as Clanfield netted the winner in the final minute.
“It left a very bitter taste in the mouth because we deserved to get something, even with ten men,” said the Malmesbury manager.
“Luke has gone in for a tackle and their lad’s got his hands all over him. Luke has kicked out, and he should really know better than that.
“But then the same player has gone and scored the winner right at the end.
“It’s frustrating because we’d dominated the play for long spells against a side fourth in the league.”
Dan Thomson and Luke Cordery return for this weekend’s trip to Hook Norton.
Top two are too strong
LEWIS Taylor is hoping his Pewsey Vale side will fare better in the coming weeks after going through a baptism of fire on their reaction this week.
Taylor’s men were beaten 2-0 at league leaders Andover Town on Tuesday night whilst on Saturday, Vale were beaten 3-0 at second-in-the-table Petersfield Town.
Pewsey had Warren MacDonald harshly sent off for his part in a melee whilst skipper Ryan Banks was also shown a straight red for his challenge Lewis Hyde, which resulted in the Petersfield man suffering a broken leg.
“It’s not been an easy few days back and the strange thing is that we played better on Saturday, when the result was worse,” said Taylor.
“Losing two players, including my captain, to three-match bans is frustrating.
“Warren was sent off for violent conduct because he squeezed an opponent’s nose and the referee has reacted to the injury after Banksy’s tackle - it was a 50/50 and the boy (Hyde) understood that.”
Title target as Reserves reach final
MELKSHAM Town Reserves boss Steve Burns says the Wiltshire League Division One title remains the priority for his cup finalists.
Melksham thrashed Malmesbury Victoria Reserves 6-0 last weekend to book their place in the Junior KO Cup final against Intel but Burns says his team are focussing on catching the Swindon-based side in the league.
The two teams meet in a crunch clash this weekend, with Melksham four points behind Intel but with four games in hand.
“It’s great to be in the cup final but the league is still the most important thing for us,” said Burns.
“We’ve beaten them twice already this season and I think it’s important that we don’t lose this weekend.
“It’s been frustrating having so many games off and we’ve been given another free weekend in March, so come the end of it, we’ll be five games behind Intel.”
Rob Manning, Leigh Rogers, Lee Fielding, Emilio Menghini, James Worsley and Dan Griffiths were all on target against Malmesbury.
Burns added: “It was actually pretty undeserved. They outplayed us in the first half but once we got a fourth after half-time, their heads went down.”
In the Premier Division, Marlborough Town were hammered 8-0 by Shrewton United while FC Chippenham Youth lost 3-0 to league leaders Supermarine Sports Club.
Wilts Calne Town and Corsham Town Reserves shared the spoils as they drew 1-1.
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