FOOTBALL: Perrin is staggered by midweek call-off

Wiltshire Times: Melksham’s Ben Thomson flies into a challenge during Saturday’s goalless draw against Willand Rovers Photo: Diane Vose (DV1235-005) Melksham’s Ben Thomson flies into a challenge during Saturday’s goalless draw against Willand Rovers Photo: Diane Vose (DV1235-005)

MELKSHAM Town manager Darren Perrin says he was ‘gobsmacked and flabbergasted’ to hear that his side’s trip to Gillingham Town on Tuesday evening had been postponed.

Melksham’s game in Dorset was called off on Tuesday afternoon due to a water-logged pitch at Hardings’ Lane and Perrin felt for the players in his side who had re-arranged their personal lives to be able to make the journey to Gillingham.

“Gobsmacked is the word – I was gobsmacked and flabbergasted,” said the Conigre chief.

“I guess that all of the other games in the Southern League Premier Division, Division One South and West, Western League Premier Division and Western League First Division were all off too? – I bet there was barely a game called off in the country apart from Gillingham against Melksham.

“I just feel sorry for my players that had already taken a few hours off work to get themselves down there but it was postponed and there’s nothing we can do about that.”

Melksham played out a goalless draw with Willand Rovers at the Conigre last weekend and Perrin paid tribute to an ‘enjoyable’ game.

“It was a fantastic advert for Western League football – Willand were a very good side and were better in the first half, but we came into it in the second,” he said.

“It showed just how far we’ve come as a football club and a draw was definitely a fair result. I was happy with the point and it was enjoyable to be a part of it.”

Melksham chairman Dave Wiltshire confirmed the club’s proposed new stadium at Woolmore Farm is expected to receive a final decision from planners by May 14.

The new development is set to include floodlit pitches for both the town’s football and rugby clubs, as well as a joint-clubhouse and 208 covered seats.

Trevor Rawlings was proud of his players for not losing their cool as Corsham Town stretched their unbeaten run to 14 games with a 2-1 victory over Ashton & Backwell last weekend.

Gary Banks and Matt Jenkins were both on target at the Southbank but Corsham chief Rawlings was dismayed with the visitors’ physical approach.

“I was surprised that they finished the game with 11 men – they tried to soften us up and there were a lot of late tackles flying in,” said Rawlings.

“One of the challenges towards the end on Bradley (Partner) was knee-high and it was almost assault. Somehow the guy only got a yellow card for it.

“But we said to our players not to get involved in anything and I was happy that they didn’t do that.”

Corsham face a tough task to maintain their unbeaten run until the end of the season as they face up to six matches in two weeks, starting with this weekend’s local derby against Calne Town.

Ben Moore, Jason Henley and Mel King are all missing for Saturday’s short trip to Bremhill View.

Rawlings’ side travel to promotion-chasing Shepton Mallet next Tuesday before taking on local rivals Chippenham Park on Good Friday.

Devizes Town visit the Southbank on Easter Monday before Corsham take on Wells City and Portishead Town.

Derek Graham says he and joint-manager Andy Crabtree will use tomorrow’s tough trip to Barnstaple Town to catch a glimpse of Warminster Town’s future.

Warminster pulled off an upset when they beat high-flying Barnstaple 2-1 earlier this month and on Saturday, Graham and Crabtree are planning to give a host of their young players the chance to test themselves against difficult opposition in Devon.

“We’re not going to be going down or anything so it gives us the chance to give some of the younger players a game and see how they get on against a good team,” said Graham.

“I’ve said before that I think Barnstaple are the third-best team in the league and we did really well to beat them the other week.”

Last weekend, Louis Sparey netted a consolation goal as Warminster were beaten 3-1 by county rivals Calne Town.

Lewis Graham and Steve Seals return tomorrow.

Westbury United boss Matt Bown concedes his side didn’t have their shooting boots on as they slipped to a home defeat at the hands of Wellington last weekend.

Westbury passed up a host of chances to find the net before the visitors’ Tom Ellis bundled home the opener late in the first half.

United keeper Rob Brown saved Alexis Piper’s penalty, but Ollie Chamberlain’s deflected strike minutes later rounded off the loss for Bown’s men.

“I asked for a more workmanlike performance after last week’s game (a 3-0 loss to Shepton Mallet) and I got that,” said the Westbury manager.

“We were the better side but we just couldn’t score. We conceded a sloppy goal and then when we gave away a penalty, they scored a second just a few minutes later.

“Both of my centre-halves, Matty Jones and Matty Friendship, are out for the season now. I’m going to use the last six games to look at some youth players.”

Corsham Town Reserves boss Justin Flowers will be looking for some home comfort when his side meet Southbrook in the Senior KO Cup final in May.

Corsham will take on Swindon-based Wiltshire League Premier Division title-chasers Southbrook at their own Southbank ground on May 3 after claiming a 2-1 extra-time victory at Trowbridge Town last weekend.

Flowers’ side, who only beat Vale of Pewsey 4-3 in a delayed quarter-final tie last week, saw Adam Casserley’s goal cancelled out by Otis Young before Liam Brown popped up with the winner in the second period of extra-time.

“It’s going to be great to play at home because we’ve got the home dressing room and we should have the crowd that would usually watch the first team there too,” said the Corsham manager.

“We’re going to have the home dressing room, which you don’t always get, which is great too.

“It was a really tough game, in front of a good crowd at Trowbridge, and I think that we just shaded it.

“We’ve got a few league games left but they’re all important because we don’t want to finish bottom of the league and people are playing for their places in the cup final.”

Corsham picked up a point in the Premier Division on Wednesday night as they drew 2-2 with rivals Wilts Calne Town.

Flowers’ side currently find themselves 11th in the table.

MORE FOOTBALL REPORTS, REACTION & PICTURES IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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