MELKSHAM Town won their eighth Southern League Division One South game in a row on Saturday as they beat rivals Thatcham Town 2-0 away from home.

A superb strike apiece from Luke Ballinger and Albie Hopkins gave Richard Fey’s men victory over the league leaders and consigned Thatcham to their first league defeat since August.

As a result, Melksham are now fifth – still some 16 points behind their most recent opponents.

It took only seven minutes for the first goal to come on Saturday after Phil Ormrod won a ball in the air and directed it towards Jake Mawford.

Mawford controlled with his chest and set the ball for Luke Ballinger on the edge of the penalty box to strike first time – with the outside of his right boot – into the top left-hand corner.

Not rocked by conceding early, Thatcham set about putting the ball into the Melksham box as quickly as they could in the search for an equaliser.

The home side’s Kyle Tooze brought a save from the scrambling Jamie Bartlett with a left-footed strike, but that was as close as Thatcham would come in the opening 45.

Melksham almost doubled their lead before half-time following some smart footwork from Jack Ball.

Ball managed to beat two defenders inside the box before Strudley saved with his feet and the rebound was somehow turned behind for a corner.

Melksham’s Will Christopher had the best early chance of the second half, but his shot went narrowly wide from the edge of the area, as did an effort from Ormrod not long later.

Thatcham’s Felipe Barcelos had a couple of efforts beaten away in the search for an equaliser, but nothing was breaking the hosts’ way.

As if to prove that point, Melksham’s Matt Hurley forced a mistake from a Thatcham midfielder and substitute Hopkins capitalised emphatically to put the game beyond doubt.

Hopkins danced through a couple of challenges before whipping a right-footed shot into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box.

The action was not finished there however, as Christopher was shown a red card late on for his part in a scuffle between both sets of players.

Melksham held out to record victory however, and Richard Fey’s team now have three home games to look forward to, starting on January 25 as they entertain Wiltshire rivals Highworth Town.