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THERE were euphoric scenes of celebration at Oakfields earlier this month when Melksham Town booked themselves a place in the FA Vase quarter-final for the first time in the club’s history.
A record crowd of 1,236 supporters, the highest attendance for all FA Vase games that day and seventh highest in the non-league, roared the team to a 2-1 victory against Tring Athletic.
They are now just two wins from a place at Wembley.
And with another home draw for the quarter-final against Thatcham Town, chair Darren Perrin and manager Kieran Baggs are hoping the ‘black and yellow family’ can come out in their droves again on Saturday 24th February.
“I am delighted for the club to have a home draw, it’s going to be another great day out for the town and hopefully we will use the big crowd to cheer us to victory over Thatcham,” said Kieran.
“Who knows, 1,500, 1,800? Let’s try and get 2,000 in attendance for the first time in the club’s history. The quarter-final of the Vase is something to look forward to. Hopefully we can pack Oakfields out and make history again!”
One person who will most definitely be cheering on the team next week is chair Darren, who is still recovering from the nail-biting match against Tring. “As chairman of the club, it was incredible,’ said Darren. “I can only thank the community, the people of Melksham who came out in their numbers, it was truly amazing. To see the ground as busy as it was and to see the place full of the black and yellow colours is something that I will never forget.
“All credit to Kieran and the players for producing on what was a very nerve-racking day where the stakes were very high.
“To see the two presidents’ faces, my dad and Dave Phillips, who have both been at the club for over 50 years, and to see the emotion and both of them very close to tears at the end, sums up what this club is all about. It was brilliant and I can only thank Kieran, the players, the committee, directors, volunteers for making it a magnificent day and let’s hope we’ve got a few more games left in the locker.
“I was probably more nervous watching as chairman than if I was manager. Kieran and the players must take all the credit, along with all our supporters as they were the twelfth man at times. Because in the second half, even though I felt that we were the better side, as the minutes ticked away it got a bit nervy, a bit edgy and their support gave us that little bit extra.
“And when you see the crowds and that we were the highest 7th attendance in the whole of the non-league, not locally, the whole of the country, it shows you the potential and the volume this club has got. We want more of it!
“Next week we need Melksham to do the same. Dare we dream of 2,000?”
• Town take on Thatcham Town in the quarter-final of the FA Vase on Saturday 24th February, kick off 3pm. There is limited parking at Oakfields, so supporters are advised to walk to the stadium or get dropped off.