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Melksham overcame local rivals Westbury United with 1-0 victory, thanks to a single goal from Will Stead early in the second period.
The Town arrived at Meadow Lane to start the defence of their Wiltshire Senior Cup with manager Darren Perrin bringing in Stuart Greener, Ash Barnett and Gareth Evans for their first starts of the season in what was always going to be a hard fought game.
The first half delivered very little in terms of quality football, with the only real action being of note, a great save from ex Town keeper Shaftoe from a Gary Higdon pile driver after 7 minutes. Both Will Stead and Greener picked up cautions as the half time break was reached with the sides level at 0-0.
No doubt “buoyed” by a half time wake up call from Perrin, the Town came out strongly in the early part of the second period, and after a Stead freekick was cleared back to him, the young midfielder helped the ball back into the box, only for the ball to drift over Shaftoe and into the far corner to give the Town a fortuitous 1-0 lead.
On 55 minutes Cox will have been disappointed to see his close range header go wide, whilst on 58 minutes Benison found Higdon whose left foot shot was deflected wide for a corner.
On the hour mark Gareth Evans was called into action for the first time in the match, when he quickly came off his line to smother a dangerous looking Westbury move, but in truth was rarely troubled for the rest of the game as the defence held firm.
Skipper Dave Thompson was replaced by Josh Robinson on 65 minutes, and with 15 minutes to go Josh Robinson came on for Ash Barnett as the Town sought the second goal to put the game out of reach. On 85 minutes Stead picked up a Westbury corner that was cleared and his pass found Benison whose left foot drive went over the bar, and in the aftermath the Westbury skipper was sent off by the referee for dissent.
The Town held out to secure the win, but the result was marred in the last minute when veteran Dave Macey dislocated his shoulder in an innocuous challenge, and now faces a spell out of the side.
Man of Match: Stuart Greener. Team: Evans, Greener, Jeffery, Macey, Cooper, Cox, Thompson, Stead, Higdon, Barnett, Benison. Subs: Robinson J, Robinson T, Griffiths.