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FOOTBALL ROUND-UP: Shanley rallies troops for final push
BRADFORD Town boss Paul Shanley has called on every member of his squad to pitch in and do their bit as the Trowbridge Road men look to keep their quest for silverware on track next month.
Bradford, who moved nine points clear in the Toolstation League First Division by beating in-form county rivals Chippenham Park on Wednesday night, are due to play nine fixtures in all competitions in March.
Shanley recently bolstered his squad by signing Joe Vyner from Paulton Rovers, with the young striker grabbing his first Bradford goal against Park on Wednesday, whilst Craig Gingell, Dan King and Jake Hiscocks were all also on target.
“We’ve got a lot of games coming up in March and we’re going to need everyone that we’ve got in the squad – that’s why we’ve signed Nathan Flower and Joe Vyner recently too,” said the Trowbridge Road chief.
“We should have Joe until the end of the season and he’s an exceptional player, so he’ll be a good addition for us.
“The next month is going to be tough and it was important that we got a win on Wednesday because (second-placed) Shepton Mallet have dropped a few points recently.
“Park have got some talented youngsters and we knew that they’d won five on the bounce but they couldn’t live with us in the first 25 minutes. It was a good performance.”
Last weekend, Shanley’s men booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Les Phillips Cup with a 1-0 triumph over Premier Division Slimbridge.
The visitors had Jamie Martin sent off for headbutting Bradford defender Josh Brigham midway through the first half.
The decisive goal came five minutes from time as goal machine striker Sam Jordan netted his 60th of the season.
Midfielder Tom Welch returns from suspension for tomorrow’s trip to third-from-bottom Keynsham Town but Shaun Percival is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Honours even at Southbank T
REVOR Rawlings says his Corsham Town side have to learn to put together a full 90-minute performance to ensure that they aren’t caught cold again.
Corsham were forced to come from 3-1 down to rescue a point against local rivals Warminster Town last weekend.
The Southbank chief says that his team can’t afford to continue leaving themselves with a mountain to climb.
“The first 45 minutes was as bad as we’ve played all season but in the second half, we were very good – we’ve been a bit Jekyll and Hyde in the last few weeks,” said Rawlings.
“We deserved our equaliser and if the game had gone on for another five minutes, I think we would have gotten a winner.
“But the problem we’ve got is that we need to perform for 90 minutes. If we do that against Cribbs and Shepton Mallet, then we’ll lose both of those games.”
Louis Sparey gave Warminster the lead before Corsham’s Gary Banks levelled matters.
Sparey struck twice more to complete his hat-trick before half-time, leaving Rawlings’ men with a mountain to climb.
When Jason Henley was brought down in the box by goalscorer Sparey, Aaron Ledgister made it 3-2 from the spot before Ben Moore fired home the equaliser.
Warminster joint-boss Derek Graham said: “We have a philosophy that we attack as a team and defend as a team and that backfired a bit for us.
“Louis Sparey scored a hat-trick, which was amazing, but then he played the ball back straight to their player for the first goal and gave away the penalty for their second.
“Sparey and Sam Babatunde tore them to pieces in the first half and Alex Lapham played exceptionally well again.
“It shows how far we’ve come that we’re disappointed to only get a draw.”
Hotshots wrap up triumph
DARREN Perrin was thrilled to see his Melksham Town team announce their return to the pitch last weekend by ruthlessly dispatching Bridport.
Melksham, who had been kicking their heels for the last four weeks due to the recent raft of postponements, hit the goal trail in Dorset as they racked up one of their biggest wins of the season.
Strikers Gary Higdon and Dan Kovacs both hit two goals apiece before Sean Benison’s free-kick was diverted into his own net by a Bridport midfielder.
Young winger Dan Sibley then marked his debut with Melksham’s sixth of the afternoon.
“We were a bit wary because you never know what kind of performance you’re going to get after a long lay-off,” said Perrin.
“We’ve been lucky that we’ve had an indoor facility in Melksham that we’ve been able to train at, as well as on the 3G pitch at Leafy Lane in Corsham.
“The most pleasing thing was that we were ruthless and then the icing on the cake was Dan Sibley coming on and scoring on his debut – he’s only 16 years old and we’re trying to find out if he’s Melksham’s youngest-ever scorer in the Western League.”
United off the pace
WESTBURY United slipped to a home defeat at the hands of Cheddar on their return to action last weekend.
Marc Lanfear struck to put Matt Bown’s men ahead at Meadow Lane but Adam Jones levelled shortly after half-time before Sam Jones stole all three points for Cheddar with a long-range strike.
“The break has done us no favours – we looked rusty and pretty leggy out there,” said Westbury boss Bown.
“I’ve tried hard to get friendlies in the last few weeks but we’ve been struggling for facilities, meaning that we’ve only really been able to train.”
Ex-Warminster Town striker Matt Dyer came off the bench for his debut whilst Bown has also signed defender Craig Fisher from Corsham Town.
League is still Steve’s main concern as Reserves book place in cup final
MELKSHAM Town Reserves boss Steve Burns says the Wiltshire League Division One title remains the priority for his cup finalists.
Melksham thrashed Malmesbury Victoria Reserves 6-0 last weekend to book their place in the Junior KO Cup final against Intel but Burns says his team are focussing on catching the Swindon-based side in the league.
The two teams meet in a crunch clash this weekend, with Melksham four points behind Intel but with four games in hand.
“It’s great to be in the cup final but the league is still the most important thing for us,” said Burns.
“We’ve beaten them twice already this season and I think it’s important that we don’t lose this weekend.
“It’s been frustrating having so many games off and we’ve been given another free weekend in March, so come the end of it, we’ll be five games behind Intel.”
Rob Manning, Leigh Rogers, Lee Fielding, Emilio Menghini, James Worsley and Dan Griffiths were all on target against Malmesbury.
Burns added: “It was actually pretty undeserved. They outplayed us in the first half but once we got a fourth after half-time, their heads went down.”
In the Premier Division, Marlborough Town slipped to their biggest defeat of the season as they were hammered 8-0 by Shrewton United while FC Chippenham Youth lost 3-0 to league leaders Supermarine Sports Club.
Local rivals Wilts Calne Town and Corsham Town Reserves shared the spoils as they drew 1-1.
Trowbridge Town are due to return to action with a trip to Wroughton tomorrow.
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