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MELKSHAM Town FC retained the Wiltshire Senior Cup thanks to the heroics of keeper Tom Drewitt following a dramatic penalty shootout.
Drewitt saved two spot kicks to ensure Melksham won 3-2 on penalties against rivals Bradford Town after an exciting match finished 3-3 after extra time.
Toolstation Division One champions Bradford dominated the opening stages of the final played at Chippenham Town’s Hardenhuish Park with Dan King converting after ten minutes to give them the lead.
As Melksham struggled to get a foothold in the match they were fortunate not to find themselves further behind as Sam Jordan almost doubled Bradford’s lead on two occasions as they took their slender advantage into the break.
After the interval Melksham increased their tempo and were rewarded almost immediately as a 30-yard effort from Ben Thomson came off Dan Kovacs to make it 1-1. However, Bradford continued to look dangerous and Dan King curled a fine effort past Drewitt in the Melksham goal to restore Bradford’s lead. The match quickly resembled a basketball match as it went from end-to-end and Melksham equalised again with twenty minutes remaining as Ryan Bennett reacted quickest following a free-kick to bundle the ball home and make it 2-2.
Bradford’s Shaun Percival hit the post as the match finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.
Melksham began to take control in extra-time and were rewarded for their increasing dominance as Kovacs headed home to give Melkshm the lead for the first time in the match. Further chances were squandered to finish the tie before a late push by Bradford in the second period of extra-time saw them level with just seconds remaining, as a melee in the box was forced over the line to take the pulsating final to penalties.
Gary Higdon and Luke Ballinger missed their kicks for Melksham but it didn’t matter as successful spot kicks by Kovacs, Mike Perrott and Ian Jeffery coupled with two fine saves from Drewitt ensured that Melksham retained their crown.
Melksham: Drewitt, Greener (Ibrahim 70), Jeffrey, Bennett, Flockton, Smith (Perrott 55), Ballinger, Thompson (C, Rodgers 118), Higdon, Kovacs, Thomson. Subs not used: Hiller, Broom.