MELKSHAM Town assistant manager Luke Ballinger says his side claimed the bragging rights following a 3-1 win over local rivals Bradford Town on Boxing Day.

Both sides are enjoying superb seasons in the Toolstation Premier Division, but it was Melksham who came away with the victory when the two teams collided.

The home side found themselves two goals down at half-time after Chris Allen and Ballinger found the back of the net.

Five minutes after the restart, Melksham made it three before Matt Morris snatched a late consolation for the Bobcats.

Ballinger says it was an important victory and one they needed to claim if they were to keep their season alive.

“The most important thing was that we had to win, if we didn’t then the league was over for us really,” said Ballinger.

“Obviously it is nice to contribute but the most important thing was the three points especially after beating Odd Down.

“We spoke about how we thought they might set up, and it paid off and to be fair the lads stuck to the game plan perfectly.

“Although they probably had more of the possession, I think we were more of a threat and had a bit more desire.

“There is a lot of history between the two clubs, it’s really important we beat Bradford for the bragging rights.”

Melksham managed to inflict a first home defeat this season on Bradford, who have also only lost once prior to the festive fixture.

The result means now just three three points and one league position separate the two teams, with Bradford situated in third place.

Ballinger also highlighted the importance of this weekend’s clash with Bitton, and issued a warning to his side that they need to build on their derby success.

“It’s only three points and we still have a bit of catching up to do,” he added.

“No matter where you are in the league, it is always important to beat the teams who are around you.”