JUSTIN Webster is certain that Devizes Town would be mixing nearer the top end of the Toolstation League First Division if their full-strength side had been available on a more regular basis this season.
The Devizes joint-manager had a healthy set of options available to him on Tuesday night and the proof was in the pudding as his side thrashed Keynsham Town, with Mark Barnes, Kris Beasley, Luke Enderby and Dan Sloan all getting themselves on the scoresheet.
Webster was pleased to see his side bring a four-match losing run to an end, but thinks that Devizes should be higher than mid-table.
“We’ve really struggled with availability over the last month or so and it’s killed us because we lost four games,” said Webster.
“I know it’s all ifs and buts, but if we’d had the side that we had out on Tuesday in those games, we wouldn’t have lost all of those matches.
“It’s frustrating because a lot of the sides above us have dropped points recently and we’ve missed a bit of an opportunity.
“The side we’ve got is good enough to be in the top six this season – I’ve seen what we’re up against and I haven’t seen too much to worry about but unfortunately, it’s not happened that way.
”We’re hoping that we’ll have at least the same starting eleven this weekend, but we’ve got some really tough games coming up.”
On Saturday, Devizes slipped to a 2-1 defeat at county rivals Westbury United.
Marc Lanfear and Matt Dyer netted to put Westbury in control and a goal from debutant Lee Himsworth, signed from Chippenham Park, wasn’t enough to spark a Devizes comeback.
Tom Price and Matt Russell return to Webster’s squad for the visit of Wells City this weekend.
Six of the best, but manager Perrin keeps his feet on the ground
DARREN Perrin isn’t getting carried away by his Melksham Town’s rapid rise up the Toolstation League Premier Division table but is proud of his side’s recent fine form.
Melksham hit the goal trail once again on Monday evening as they put six goals past Hengrove Athletic after half-time, with Gary Higdon netting a hat-trick and Dan Kovacs grabbing a brace while Leigh Rogers and Ben Thomson also got themselves on the scoresheet.
Town’s victory provided an emphatic response to dropped points against bottom-of-the-table Bishop Sutton last weekend, with 17-year-old Harry Waylen grabbing a last-gasp equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw after Kovacs’ earlier strike.
“We used our get out of jail free card last weekend and I asked for a response on Monday, which I got,” said Perrin.
“The players have been absolutely magnificent. When you think that we had just one point at one stage earlier in the season and now the form we’re in probably the best behind (league leaders) Larkhall.
“I’m not getting carried away because I know things can come back and kick you in the backside but the players deserve all of the credit - they’re all Melksham lads, bar Ryan Bennett, and they don’t get paid.”
Sparkling Park a joy for Ferris
CHIPPENHAM Park chief Dave Ferris paid tribute to the momentum his side have achieved to haul themselves up to mid-table in the Toolstation League First Division.
Park grabbed their sixth win in seven games as they took all three points at Oldland Abbotonians last weekend.
And Ferris saluted his players for continuing to prove their worth as they picked up a comfortable three points.
“Where we are in the table shows how well we’ve been playing and my lads deserve all the credit for that,” said the Park manager.
“We’d been threatening to go on a run a lot but we’d win two games and then not be able to do it in the third.
“We’re probably actually 10 to 15 points behind where we could have been if we’d been taking our chances earlier in the season but without going over old ground again, we’re a county league side that have come into this league and worked very hard to get where we are.”
Adam Shipman’s strike gave Park a first-half lead at Oldland before Ryan Campbell made the game safe with a spectacular 20-yard effort that cannoned into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Ferris’ men host Welton Rovers at Hardenhuish Park this weekend.
Complete display thrills Trevor
CORSHAM Town chief Trevor Rawlings was pleased to see his side produce a more complete performance to see off Cribbs last weekend.
The Corsham manager was critical of his side’s Jekyll & Hyde display in last week’s draw with Warminster Town but on Saturday, Nick Holton struck either side of half-time, with his second a diving header to finish off a fine team move.
Jackson Hamilton fired home the hosts’ third of the afternoon, with Cribbs pulling a late goal back after ex-Chippenham Town man Dave Gilroy had been sent off for two bookings.
“I was a bit annoyed last week because I wanted us to perform for a whole match, but we did that on Saturday,” said Rawlings.
“We’d played really well in the first half and we stressed at half-time that we needed to carry it on, but that’s exactly what we did and the only shame was that we relaxed and let them get a goal back late on.
“We defended really well and I think Dave Gilroy got sent off because we’d marked him so well. It was a bit of frustration and he went in on full-backs clearing their lines twice.”
Corsham, who have snapped up signed winger Kieron Gleed from Calne, saw their trip to Shepton Mallet on Tuesday postponed.
CALNE Town boss Simon Gardner was gutted to see individual errors once again lead to defeat for his side on Tuesday evening.
Neurin Jones was on target for Calne at Chard Town, but goals from the hosts’ Sam Clark, Nathan Warren and Sam Spurway saw off the Lilywhites.
“I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day because It’s the same thing almost every week,” said Gardner.
“We’re playing well but silly mistakes are giving away goals. The majority of the side have come up from the county league, where you might get away with those errors, but it’s not the same at this level.”
Last weekend, Glenn Armstrong’s brace wasn’t enough to prevent Calne slipping to a 3-2 defeat at Wellington, with the hosts hitting a last-gasp winner.
Vintage Reserves delight boss Wayne on comeback
MALMESBURY Victoria Reserves celebrated a happy return to the Flying Monk Ground last weekend as their home hosted its first game for over three months.
The Vics’ base was battered by flooding caused by the winter’s heavy rainfall but Wayne Kibble’s side brought the Flying Monk back to life as they thrashed Sarum Youth Seniors 8-1 on Saturday.
Sam Parker and Ed Wilkins both hit hat-tricks to see off depleted Sarum, with Will Picter and Danny Cook also on target.
“Every time that we’ve been up to the ground recently, the pitch has always been underwater, but the groundsman Chris (Exton) did an absolutely fantastic job to get our game on last weekend,” said Kibble.
“I think that the boys were just so happy to be back playing at home after three months without a game there and that got them up for it.
“We did have a bit of an advantage because Sarum turned up with the bare eleven and I had five guys on the bench – on a wet pitch, they were always going to tire.”
Elsewhere in Division One of the Wiltshire League, Melksham Town Reserves closed the gap on league leaders Intel to a point with a 3-1 triumph over the Swindon-based side.
In the Premier Division, Wilts Calne Town played out a 1-1 draw with Vale of Pewsey while Trowbridge Town won 5-2 at Wroughton in their first match since December.
Otis Young hit a brace whilst Ian Groves, Kurt James and Tarick Yachou were all also on target.
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