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Wellington 3-2 Melksham Town – Les Phillips Cup First Round, Sat. 15th Nov.

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Town suffered a surprise defeat last Saturday against 1st division side Wellington in a League Cup tie. 

Manager Darren Perrin made several changes for the game. Skipper Dave Thompson returned after a 2 month lay off with injury, and both Shaun Benison and Luke Smith made their first start after long lay offs. Leading goal scorer Gary Higdon was unavailable due to work commitments whilst Mike Perrott was still out through injury.

Town made a strong start and in the very first minute Will Stead’s rasping shot was parried away by Wellington keeper Luke Viney. Two minutes later Town took the lead. Jack Morris’s pass found Ben Thomson, whose cross found Shaun Benison, who scored from close range. Shortly afterwards Will Stead missed a golden opportunity to increase Town’s lead.

At the other end Tom Drewitt who had returned to the side, tipped over a shot at 11 minutes. Town returned to the attack and Dan Kovacs’s looping header from Ben Thomson’s cross hit the bar. Minutes later at the other end, Tom Drewitt saved Town with a fine block save. On 24 minutes Will Stead was denied by the keeper again. As half time neared Dave Thompson headed wide from a corner. It was Dave Thompson, who at the other end on the stroke of half-time conceded a penalty from which Ian Bellinger scored to equalise for Wellington.

Despite this setback Town soon regained the lead early in the second half. On 52 minutes a fine through ball found Dan Kovacs who finished with clinical precision. As the half progressed Town had chances to increase their lead. Dan Kovacs placed a shot just wide, whilst on another occasion a goal bound shot was deflected for a corner. Dan King then set up Ben Thompson whose shot hit a post.

Ten minutes to go Town were still leading, then disaster struck. Substitute Dave Macey who had just come on lost his man. As a result Ian Bellinger found Sam Towler who slotted home the equaliser on 82 minutes. Three minutes later Joe Holmes struck the winner for Wellington, after Oliver Nott’s initial shot had been blocked.

Despite pressure by Town in the dying moments of the game they were unable to force extra time. On reflection they will look back and rue the chances missed to increase their lead in the second half when they were ahead.