NEIL Kirkpatrick was delighted to see his Westbury United side emerge from a hazardous Christmas fixture programme with two more wins towards their Toolstation League First Division title mission.

Westbury cut the gap on table-topping Keynsham Town to a single point thanks to a 3-1 victory at neighbours Warminster Town on Boxing Day, having recorded a 3-0 success away to Malmesbury Victoria on Saturday.

A bumper crowd of 277 turned up for the west Wiltshire derby at Weymouth Street and saw the high-flying visitors take charge early on when Ricky Hulbert converted a free-kick from Jamie Jordan. Dan Kovacs doubled the lead after robbing a defender, giving Westbury a 2-0 cushion at the interval.

Charlie Walton’s long-range strike brought hope for battling Warminster but Dan Price nodded home from a corner to confirm the points for Westbury, with the hosts then having player-manager Mark Breffit shown a straight red card for a tackle in the closing stages.

A relieved Kirkpatrick said: “To be honest I’d have been quite happy if it had been called off, given how wet the pitch was.

“It was a dangerous game for us. There was a big crowd, the pitch was a leveller and it would have been very easy to have dropped points. It was one of those where you are just happy to get the three points and get out of there.”

Breffit agreed with his counterpart on the subject of the conditions and conceded Westbury had been the better side on the day.

He added: “We battled hard in the second half and showed a more team spirit than has been the case in recent matches.

“We’re in a bit of a relegation fight at the moment and we’re going to need the same sort of big effort from the players in the weeks ahead.”

It was a similar tale for Westbury at Malmesbury on Saturday, where the White Horse Men needed to negotiate both a heavy surface and a determined home side to take victory. On that occasion, Price put the away side ahead at half-time before Mark Robinson and Jamie Jordan made sure of the spoils.

With Matt Jones and Joe Kirkpatrick fit again, Westbury will be at full strength as they bid to make it five league wins on the bounce at home to Bishops Lydeard tomorrow.

Warminster were handed a 3-0 defeat at Calne Town on Saturday as Jamal Chevolleau, Stuart Windsor and Joshua Hard all found the net after the break. Breffit’s depleted squad face another difficult test tomorrow when they travel to fourth-placed Radstock Town.

Corsham Town visit Ashton & Backwell United on the back of successive home defeats over the festive period.

Matt Russell’s goal earned Devizes Town a 1-0 win at Southbank on Boxing Day, while Robbie Tripp’s was a consolation for Corsham on Saturday as they lost 3-1 to Oldland Abbotonians.