FOOTBALL: Hopkins lifts the Lilywhites
SIMON Gardner saluted the response of his Lilywhites side as they ended their run of seven matches without a win at Bremhill View on Saturday.
A long-range shot from Aaron Hopkins late on decided the game against Chard 2-1 in favour of the home side, who had hit back to equaliser through Tom Slater after Chard had seized the lead.
Town were without a league success since the middle of October and Gardner said: “We needed it (the victory) and it certainly did our performance justice.
“We haven’t been playing particularly well in the last few weeks, and the players knew that, but we told them to go out there and enjoy themselves.
“It made a hell of a difference and in the first half we could have scored four or five goals.
“We had some golden opportunities, but not the final product, but they went and did us proud in the second half.’’
Gardner hopes to bring on board Jamal Chevolleau from local rivals Corsham Town, while locally-based defender Jake Jefferies is also poised to join the club after a spell away from football.
The manager said: “It will be good to have Jake back because he has been away from the game for a bit because of his work commitments.
“We’ve put seven days in for Chevolleau – one of our players knows him and it would be good to get him here and add to our squad.
“Things seem to be coming together a bit in the squad and hopefully we can push forward a bit from there.”
Calne go to Barnstaple Town on Saturday.
Trevor Rawlings admits Calne Town’s seven-day approach for top scorer Jamal Chevolleau is frustrating him.
Corsham Town returned to winning ways in the Toolstation League First Division as Matty Jenkins fired home the winner – only to later be sent off – against Roman Glass at the Southbank.
However, the resources available to Rawlings look certain to be stretched further with the departure of frontman Chevolleau to their local rivals.
The manager said: “I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about this one because it’s very frustrating but there’s nothing we can do about it.
“You don’t mind players going on to a better side, or even a higher division, but Jamal told me he’s basically been made an offer that he can’t refuse.
“Calne are offering money which is something we just cannot do so that’s frustrating.’’
Rawlings reflected on a welcome win for his patched-up side, which again featured goalkeeper Ant Brown playing in the centre of defence.
He said: “In our last couple of games we actually haven’t played that badly, but didn’t get anything out of them.
“In this one we didn’t play as well as we have done, but this time we got the points.’’
Melksham Town boss Darren Perrin revealed that red-hot striker Gary Higdon turned down a move to Premier Division leaders Larkhall, prior to whacking Winterbourne.
Higdon, who netted a hat-trick as Town beat Longwell Green Sports 3-1 on Saturday, was the subject of a seven-day approach from the Bath side that evening.
He spoke to Larks’ former Melksham boss Wayne Thorne on Sunday but, having restated his commitment to Town, then blasted four in Monday’s thumping win over United.
Matt Cooper, Dan Kovacs and Leigh Rogers also netted as Melksham went ninth in the Toolstation Premier.
Perrin said: “Everybody at the club is delighted that Gary chose to stay with us.
“Larkhall are top of the league but I think he sees the bigger picture for our club.’’
Absent manager Lewis Taylor was beaming with pride after his understrength Pewsey Vale side recorded a stunning 5-2 victory over East Cowes Victoria on the Isle of Wight.
Taylor was forced to miss the trip across the Solent because of work commitments, but Vale made light of the absence of both him and several first-team regulars.
The manager said: “I was very proud of them really because not only were they light on playing numbers, but also a manager!
“We were desperate to maintain our run and at least come away with a point, but it went a lot better than that.’’
Vale opened the scoring on 15 minutes as Tom Ballard found the net.
Ricky Franklin and Ballard’s second just after the hour mark gave them control before Ryan Bragg's curled shot made it 4-0.
Joe Adams and Blaise Franklin scored for Vics but Franklin made the game safe.
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