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FOOTBALL: Festive treats for boss Paul
BRADFORD Town chief Paul Shanley reckons his league leaders have shown what they’re really capable of by maintaining their unbeaten record in the Toolstation League First Division.
On Boxing Day, Bradford were in danger of suffering their first defeat of the campaign as they trailed 3-1 at Welton Rovers, but a late brace from top scorer Sam Jordan saw Shanley’s men rescue a 3-3 draw.
Then last weekend, Bradford returned to their all-conquering form as they swept aside county rivals Calne Town at Trowbridge Road.
Jordan was on hand to clinch another two-goal haul, with Tom Welch and Liam Milburn also on target before Calne’s Glenn Armstrong netted a late consolation goal.
“We were superb against Calne. We hit the crossbar a couple of times as well and we could have scored seven or eight,” said Shanley.
“I think the game at Welton showed what we’re made of because we were playing in really difficult conditions and were 3-1 down with about 15 minutes to go.
“Tom Evans was sent off and we were up against it, but we showed a lot of character to come back with ten men and come away with a point.”
Beau Blakeman gave Bradford an early lead at Welton before Tom Evans was sent off for two bookings, prompting a backlash from the the home side.
But Jordan popped up with a late double to ensure the visitors’ infallible record.
The outlook is bright as Perrin’s troops sign off for year in winning style
DARREN Perrin thinks Melksham Town are entering the turn of the year with plenty to smile about.
Gary Higdon scored twice as Perrin’s men saw off Radstock Town on Boxing Day, notching up their fifth win in six matches in the Toolstation League Premier Division.
And the Melksham manager is full of optimism as his in-form side look to continue climbing the table in 2014.
“We’ve won eight, drawn one and lost two of our last eight games – that’s top four form,” said Perrin.
“The players have been magnificent and I hope I can carry on saying that.
“If you think that the club finished 13th and won the Wiltshire Senior Cup back when Dave Clayton was in charge and are now ninth and in the quarter-finals, it’s been a great 2013 for Melksham Town.
“With the plans going in for a massive new development too, I think that people are realising that Melksham is the place to be.”
Perrin’s Melksham take on fifth-placed Willand Rovers, who are unbeaten in six games, at the Conigre tomorrow.
All’s well for United
MATT Bown thought his Westbury United side produced the perfect response to their Boxing Day defeat to rivals Warminster Town as they notched up a fine win over Wells City last weekend.
Wells defender Ben Higgins picked up two quick-fire bookings , his second for dissent, after fouling Adam James in the box, allowing Joe Murray to put Westbury ahead from the penalty spot.
Charlie Walton grabbed the hosts’ second, leaving boss Bown purring.
“I felt that we didn’t deserve to lose against Warm-inster and that was the right way to respond,” he said.
“We played ever so well. I said that I wanted a clean sheet too, so I was delighted about that.”
Westbury look set to lose winger Nathan Hallett for the rest of the season when he undergoes a wrist operation later this month, but skipper Dan Dominy returns from suspension for tomorrow’s trip to Oldland Abbotonians.
Graham draws on positives
WARMINSTER Town joint-boss Derek Graham thought a draw was a fair result as his side fought out a six-goal thriller with Chippenham Park last weekend.
Mark Robinson gave Park an early lead before Warminster’s Lewis Graham and Tom Golledge turned the game on its head.
Golledge got his second of the game to restore the visitors’ lead after Jordan Pinder had levelled the scores, but Shane Blackmore popped up with a late equaliser to ensure it was honours even.
“We didn’t start well and should have been two or three goals down but in the second half, we were on top – I think that a draw was the right result,” said Town joint-boss Graham.
“The pleasing thing is that we’re now scoring goals and we’ve got 12 in the last five games.
“If we can keep on improving, I’m sure the crowds will come back.”
On Boxing Day, Jack Miluk and Louis Sparey found the net as Graham and Andy Crabtree’s men beat local rivals Westbury United 2-0 at Weymouth Street.
Corsham blow their chances
CORSHAM Town chief Trevor Rawlings thinks his side paid the price for not capitalising on their opportunities as their four match winning run was brought to an end at their local rivals.
Despite creating a host of first-half chances, Corsham were unable to find the net.
They fell behind midway through the second period as Mark Barnes’ spectacular strike put Devizes ahead.
Shortly afterwards, striker Barnes was clipped in the box, allowing Neil Clark to fire home from the spot.
Jason Henley reduced the deficit with his third of the season, but it wasn’t enough for Rawlings’ men.
“For the first 25, 30 minutes, they didn’t get out of their half, but the problem was that we didn’t score,” he said.
“They only had three shots and scored from two of them, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
“I did think the penalty was a little bit harsh, but it was given.
“It’s bit disappointing for us – I thought that a draw would have been a fair result.”
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