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MELKSHAM Town FC did not get off to the start they wanted at the new ground last Saturday but, despite a 5-3 loss putting them out of the FA Vase, manager Darren Perrin says he is proud of his side and has now set his sights on winning the league.
The fourth round replay on Saturday was a replay following the sides’ 1-1 draw in Bristol the week before. The game had been scheduled for the Conigre on Tuesday but was called off due to rain.
Instead the game was the first to ever be played at Oakfield Stadium, Melksham’s new multi-million pound ground. A buzzing crowd of 1,215 people gathered to watch Town go head-to-head with the Western League leaders.
Bristol Manor Farm scored after just six minutes, while missed chances in the first half cost Town dear, seeing them 3-0 down after half an hour.
A goal in the 65th minute from Mike Perrott got Melksham back in the game, but hopes of a comeback were dashed by a further two goals from the Bristol side.
Luke Ballinger and Ricky Hulbert both scored in the final 10 minutes to soften the blow, but it wasn’t enough to keep Town in the competition.
Manager Darren Perrin said, “It’s obviously disappointing to go out of the competition and to have lost our first game at the new ground, but I’m immensely proud of the players for showing character and putting in a strong game. We won the second half and I think throughout the game we had as many chances as Manor Farm – and arguably better ones – but you can’t let a side that good go 3-0 up and expect to come back.
“Fair play to Bristol Manor Farm; they were more ruthless than us and made fewer elementary errors. I sincerely hope they go on to win the competition; they are good enough to do that.
“Saturday was a very special day for all of us at the club. To see a crowd that size and see the stand packed in black and yellow was brilliant. The facilities are second to none.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted but anyone who knows me knows I’m not throwing in the towel. We’re going to get settled in at Oakfields and take a run at the top spot.
“We’ve only lost four games this season – just two of them in the league -which is phenomenal. I’ve said all season the goal is to finish in the top four, and now I’m confident we’ve got a shot at finishing in the top two or three. We have applied for promotion to the Southern League and I want us to finish top of the table.”
Melksham Town play Cadbury Heath at home this weekend (kick-off at 3pm), when Darren will be looking for his team to bounce back. Ticket stubs from the Manchester United Legends game can be used for free entry.
Town are currently fourth in the Toolstation Premier Division. If they win all three games in hand they will be second and just five points behind leaders Bristol Manor Farm.
Sat. 21st January – Cadbury Heath (H), Lge, 3pm
Sat. 28th January – Sherborne Town (H), Lge, 3pm
Sat. 4th February – Brislington (H), Lge, 3pm
Tues. 7th February – Wells City (A), Lge, 7.30pm