LUKE Ballinger got a goal in each half as Melksham Town returned to winning ways in Southern League Division One South with a 2-1 success at home to Mangotsfield United on Saturday.

Ballinger broke the deadlock 13 minutes in before doubling the hosts’ advantage just before the hour mark.

Mangotsfield’s Tom Warren reduced the arrears with five minutes to go at Oakfields, but Kieran Baggs’ Melksham held on for victory to climb up to fifth in the table.

Boss Baggs said: “It was quite a comfortable performance.

“We took our foot off the gas a little bit towards the end and Mangotsfield came back into it a bit in the last 10 minutes, but we never really looked in trouble of letting the points slip.

“I would have liked for us to have seen the game out a little bit better and to come away with a clean sheet, but you can’t really complain about a win and it moves us up into the play-off places too.”

Following last season’s promotion from the Toolstation League Premier Division, Melksham opened up the new campaign with an eight-game unbeaten run in the league before suffering a first defeat at Blackfields & Langley on October 20.

The FA Trophy took centre stage last weekend as Melksham triumphed at Thatcham Town, and Baggs’ side then battled back from 3-0 down to earn a 3-3 draw at Moneyfields on their return to league action last Tuesday night.

Baggs has been delighted with Town’s response to losing their unbeaten league record and four points from six available since means they are only four off top spot.

“We knew that good run would come to an end eventually, particularly as a newly-promoted side,” said Baggs.

“We had some tough games towards the start of the season and when we did lose for the first time, it was about how we responded to that – and it’s been superb.

“To go down to Moneyfields and battle back to get a draw and then follow it up with a good win at home shows the character we have in the squad here.”

Melksham host Slimbridge in the Challenge Cup on Tuesday night before resuming their FA Trophy tilt on Saturday at Southern League Premier Division Central side Leiston in the second qualifying round.