FOOTBALL ROUND-UP: Town shape up well in defeat

Wiltshire Times: Bradford’s Tom Welch goes on the attack in Tuesday's Les Phillips Cup tie Bradford’s Tom Welch goes on the attack in Tuesday's Les Phillips Cup tie

PAUL Shanley was interested to see how his Toolstation League First Division leaders measured up to Premier Division opposition and despite Bradford Town exiting the Les Phillips Cup at the hands of Odd Down, the Trowbridge Road chief was pleased with his team’s display.

Bradford’s top-scorer Sam Jordan struck to level matters in the second period but a second from the visitors saw them book their place in the semi-finals of the competition.

Shanley thought that missed chances were to blame for Bradford’s defeat ,but thought that his side were more than a match for Odd Down.

“They’re a side who are doing well in the league above and it was nice to see the benchmark of where we’d like to be next season – I thought we did well against them,” said Shanley.

“We created a few chances before they took the lead and just like we saw against Portchester in the FA Vase (a 3-2 defeat last October), you need to take your chances when they come against these good sides.

“It would have been another nice test for us to play Larkhall (Athletic) in the next round but we’ll move on because we’ve got other things to think about.”

Bradford need just six points to secure promotion to the top tier of the Toolstation League and eleven points to secure the First Division title after last weekend’s 1-1 draw with second-placed Shepton Mallet.

Sean Percival slotted home the opener but when Tom Evans was penalised for handball, Shepton’s Lee Davidson fired home the equaliser from the penalty spot.

Bradford boss Shanley added: “We’re looking at it as two points dropped for them, rather than a point gained, because they’ve got to try and catch us. We know what we’ve got to do and this weekend’s game (at home to Devizes Town) is our biggest of the season now.”

Melksham approach a joy for Darren

DARREN Perrin has praised his players for buying in to his philosophy and helping push Melksham Town into the top six of the Toolstation League Premier Division.

Going in to last night’s fixtures, Melksham were level on points with fifth-placed Willand Rovers after they bounced back from Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Bridport with a 3-1 triumph over Slimbridge on Monday night.

A hat-trick from striker Dan Kovacs saw off Slimbridge and Perrin has again paid tribute to his Congre troops.

“The remit when I took over was to avoid relegation and I made no secret of the fact that we wanted to retain the Wiltshire Senior Cup – we’re in to the cup final and if we hadn’t had Saturday’s blip, we might have been on our way to catching fourth-place,” he said.

“I don’t want to patronise anyone but the players have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve bought in to what I wanted to do at the football club and they’re playing for their hometown club.

“We don’t have a budget and I think the fact that Gary Higdon turned down the chance to go to Larkhall Athletic, who are a very good side, speaks volumes.”

Higdon got Melksham’s consolation goal against Bridport last weekend.

Depleted Corsham still coming up trumps for boss Rawlings

TREVOR Rawlings is thankful that he has a fulsome squad as his disposal after his Corsham Town side maintained their unbeaten run in the Toolstation League First Division, despite a host of absentees.

Corsham have now gone 11 games without tasting defeat in the league after drawing with Cheddar last weekend.

Top-scorer Nick Holton headed the hosts in front at the Southbank but a quickfire equaliser from Cheddar’s Sam Jones ensured that the spoils were shared.

“We had 11 players out last week and two of them came back, but then we lost another three,” said Corsham manager Rawlings.

“If you took away eleven players from any of the other teams around here, I don’t think they’d be able to cope like we have, especially staying on the unbeaten run.

“I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have such a big squad and what we’ve got left now is started to get stretched a bit too.

“On Saturday, they missed two or three good chances in the first half and we should have been behind but that didn’t happen.

“In the second half, we had chances ourselves, but didn’t manage to get the goal we needed and it did feel like two points dropped for us,”

Rawlings is hoping to welcome back Liam Brown and Ryan Tyrell for Saturday’s trip to Wellington after they missed the Cheddar clash but Jack Morris is unavailable.

Jason Henley, Bradley Partner and Matt Windle are all also not yet expected to return from injury.

Metcalf spot-on for the hosts

JOINT-BOSS boss Derek Graham can’t remember Town scoring a goal at Weymouth Street’s Stuart Green end in the four months he and Andy Crabtree have been in charge, but is happy to allow his side to net where they like if they can carry on notching up home victories.

Warminster picked up three points on Wednesday night with victory over Chard Town, with Jack Metcalf firing home the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after Jack Miluk was tripped in the box.

The hosts’ Sam Babatunde was brought down by the Chard keeper and Metcalf had the chance to score his second spot kick of the evening, but was denied by a superb save.

“Myself and Andy were thinking on Wednesday night that we don’t think we’ve scored a goal in that end since we’ve been in charge,” said Graham.

“It’s one of those strange things, but we don’t mind too much about it if we can score down the other end.

“It was a really tight game but it was a good performance from us.

“We had one of our strongest sides out there and I thought Jack Miluk was outstanding. Paddy Carrig played at centre-half and we’ve not lost a game when he’s been there.”

Westbury muddle through for win

MATT Bown was pleased to see Westbury United come away from struggling Oldland Abbotonians with all three points last weekend, even if his side weren’t at their best.

Westbury suffered a blow when defender Matt Jones suffered a first half knee injury, that looks set to keep him out for the remainder of the season, but Joe Maloney’s lob put Bown’s visitors in front shortly after the break.

DJ Wheeler came off the bench to net his first goal of the season for United but the striker was shown a straight red for an alleged headbutt on Old-land’s Tom Hutton.

The hosts pulled a goal back but Bown’s side held on to get back to winning ways.

“It was a bit of a scrappy game and to be honest, I was just interested in us coming away with three points from places like that,” said the Westbury manager.

“DJ Wheeler wasn’t on the pitch for long and he’s scored and got himself sent off.

“He went head-to-head with their lad right in front of the dugout and the other lad has gone down like he’s been hit by a steam train - it was harsh but DJ will learn that you shouldn’t do that.”

Bees will have a league say

TROWBRIDGE Town boss Mike Alford thinks his side will have every chance to throw the cat among the pigeons when they take on the Wiltshire League Premier Divi-sion’s top three sides at the end of the season.

SKS Blyskawica’s withdrawal from the league is set to alter the landscape at the top of the league table and fourth-placed Trowbridge are due to finish their campaign with successive clashes with Shrewton United, Supermarine Sports Club and Southbrook.

“We’ve got games against the top three at the end of the season and we’re excited about that,” said Alford.

“If we can carry on our unbeaten run until the end of the season, then we won’t be too far off the title at all.”

Otis Young, Ian Groves and Sean Brereton got the goals as Trowbridge beat struggling Vale of Pewsey 3-1 last weekend to notch up a fourth victory in a row.

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