FOOTBALL ROUND_UP: Bown seeking a jump-start
MATT Bown is hoping that victory over county rivals Devizes Town last weekend has put the wind back in the Westbury United sails.
First-half goals from Marc Lanfear and Matt Dyer saw Bown’s men get back to winning ways in the Toolstation League First Division after a run of four matches without a victory.
And Bown has his fingers crossed that last Saturday’s three-point haul has put a spring back in Westbury’s step.
“It was nice to get back to winning ways. We’ve had a lot of games off in the last few weeks and when the lads are just running all the time, it gets a bit tedious,” said the United manager.
“I was disappointed with how we played against Cheddar last week because I felt that we didn’t deserve anything from that game but on Saturday, I thought that we were dominant in the game.
“We conceded a goal right before half-time, but in the second half, I thought that we were comfortable – the managers of Devizes thought that we deserved to win afterwards too.
“Hopefully this can kick us off again now. We’ve already gone past the points that the side picked up last season so everything now is a bonus.
“It’s be nice if we could carry on enjoying our football and pick up a few more results between now and the end of the season.”
Westbury’s Simon Millard and Devizes’ Mark Barnes both missed chances to break the deadlock early on before Lanfear put the hosts in front with 27 minutes on the clock, with the striker tapping home from Simon Millard’s free-kick.
Dyer marked his first start with a goal as he fired home five minutes before the break, but United saw their lead halved when Devizes’ Lee Himsworth pounced on the stroke of half-time.
Westbury face a tough trip to table-topping local rivals Bradford Town tomorrow and Bown is simply targetting a positive performance from his team.
The United chief said: “Obviously, it’s going to be really tough because Brad-ford have been battering everybody.
“They can afford to pay players and they’ve got a good squad together, with lads on the bench that would walk into other teams – they can afford to do that and it’s got them to the top of the league.
“We’re a little bit different becuause we don’t have a budget and we’re just trying to build for the future.
“I just want to see us have a go and try and put in a good performance over there – if we can do that, then I’ll be happy.”
Lanfear and Charlie Walton are both injury doubts for tomorrow’s game against Bradford but defender Craig Fisher, who recently joined Westbury from Corsham Town, could be in line for his debut.
- WARMINSTER Town’s trip to Cheddar on Saturday was postponed, with the Red and Blacks hosting Almond-sbury UWE tomorrow.
Shanley’s staying on full throttle for derby despite looming cup semi-final
BRADFORD Town boss Paul Shanley insists he won’t be resting players for next Tuesday’s Wiltshire Senior Cup semi-final when local rivals Westbury United visit Trowbridge Road tomorrow.
Bradford bid to reach the final of the county cup competition when they travel to Hellenic League Purton on Tuesday, but Shanley says that promotion remains the primary objective for his Tool- station League First Division leaders.
“I’ve said all along that our aim is to get promoted this year and anything that happens in the Wiltshire Cup is a bonus,” said the Bradford manager.
“Westbury will be coming to us to try and win the game and I’ll be playing my strongest side because to me, it’s our biggest game of the season so far – if anything, we’ll be making changes on Tuesday.”
A goal from defender Craig Gingell, his third in as many games, was enough to hand Bradford a 1-0 victory at Keynsham Town last weekend.
Shanley added: “It says a lot that our goalkeeper (Lewis Porter) was our man of the match – we didn’t play well but points, not performances, are paramout at the moment.
“I’d gladly take eight more 1-0 wins like that – that’d do me.”
Tom Welch misses tomorrow’s clash with Westbury while striker Joe Vyner joins the injured Shaun Percival on the sidelines after breaking his wrist.
Tuesday night’s trip to Wincanton Town was postponed.
CORSHAM Town chief Trevor Rawlings was pleased to see his team 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.”
Tuesday’s trip to Shepton Mallet was postponed.
Higdon hat-trick in rout
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 whil 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. 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.”
Bees’ buzz is back as Town return with a win
TROWBRIDGE Town manager Mike Alford was delighted to see his side finally return to action after 11 weeks kicking their heels.
The wet winter weather had put paid to every Trowbridge fixture since their 3-1 defeat to FC Chippenham Youth on December 14 but last weekend, the Bees finally got back in the saddle as they thrashed Wroughton 5-2 at the Weir Field.
Otis Young and Ian Groves both had changes to open the scoring early on before hosts Wrough-ton broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
But Trowbridge hit back instantly through Young, who grabbed his second of the game with a fine free-kick to make it 3-1 after Groves had already got himself on the scoresheet.
Wroughton reduced the arrears after the break with a delfected strike but Kurt James killed off any chance of a comeback as he slotted home Trow-bridge’s fourth.
Fellow substitute Tarick Yachou then pounced to put the icing on the cake.
"It was fantastic to be playing again and although we were rusty, we did OK,” said Alford. “There were some really good moments and the highlight was seeing Otis back on the score sheet. We made hard work of it but the lads’ effort was brilliant.”
Fifth-placed Trowbridge are due to host Wilts Calne Town at Woodmarsh this weekend.
Meanwhile, in Division One of the Wiltshire League, title-chasers Melksham Town Reserves, who go to Blunsdon tomorrow, closed the gap on league leaders Intel to a point with a 3-1 triumph in Swindon.
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