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Tues. 11th December. Wilts Senior Cup QF Swindon Supermarine 4 Melksham Town 1 Sat. 22nd Dec. Evo-Stik Southern Div. One Melksham Town 2 Fleet Town 1 Weds. 26th Dec. Evo-Stik Southern Div. One Larkhall Athletic 0 Melksham Town 1 Sat. 29th. Dec. Evo-Stik Southern Div. One Evesham United 3 Melksham Town 0 Tues. 1st Jan. Evo-Stik Southern Div. One Melksham Town 0 Yate Town 2
MELKSHAM Town FC has started 2019 in eighth place in the Southern League after a busy festive period saw them win two league games, and suffer two losses.
Before the league action kicked off, Town first faced Swindon Supermarine in the quarter-final of the Wiltshire Senior Cup, losing 4-1. Manager Kieran Baggs said, “It was a disappointing night, but I do feel that the final scoreline was harsh – but that’s cup football for you! The Wiltshire Senior Cup has been a great competition for the club over the years, but we were up against a team in the league above us.
“We had a big injury list so it was an opportunity for some under 18s and reserves to play and get some minutes on the pitch in.”
Town’s only goal came from Neikell Plummer in the first half, taking the scoreline to 1-1 at half-time. Kieran said, “It was an unlucky night – two long range deflections made it past the keeper. I can accept us coming out of the cup if it means we can stay focussed on our good form in the league and keep this up.”
The first league match for Town was Fleet Town at home at the InfiLED Arena. Kieran said, “This was a dramatic day! We were not at our best, but I felt that we had goals in us, so we had to be patient after Fleet Town scored early in the match. Luckily, Warren Maidment, who has been tremendous this season and one of the standout players, scored two headers in injury time, giving us the ‘get out of jail free’ card that we needed on the day!
“Fleet came with a game plan and stuck to it, and they probably played better than people expected them to – they are currently at the bottom of the league. Luke Ballinger had been to see them play against Winchester, so we were prepared. It was a good value win and a much-deserved win and three points.”
Next up. Town played away against Larkhall Athletic on Boxing Day. An early goal from Rob Hobbs saw Town win 1-0.
“This was one of my most proud team performances,” said Kieran, “it was a very mature performance. We scored early and then put on a gutsy defensive display all over the pitch. The conditions weren’t ideal – the pitch was soft, but the Larkhall Athletic grounds staff were determined to put the game on for the Boxing Day crowd. Overall it was a scrappy and defensive game, but the lads showed another side to themselves and I was very proud.”
For their last game of 2018, Town travelled away to play Evesham United, losing 3-0. Kieran said, “This was a disappointing day and perhaps a step too far for the depleted squad – we had a number of players missing – not that I want to make excuses. They had won four out of four games up until this match and they may have run out of steam.
“It was an easy win for Evesham, we didn’t threaten them. We thought that we might be able to frustrate and upset them, but it wasn’t meant to be. Evesham are a top side, and third in the league table for a reason. They have top players and could be on for promotion, maybe even win the league.”
On New Year’s Day, Town welcomed Yate Town to the InfiLED Arena, losing 2-0 in a game that will not be forgotten for all the wrong reasons. Kieran said, “This was one of the most bizarre games I’ve ever experienced in my football career. There was not one bad tackle by us, but we came away with six yellow cards, one straight red and a penalty against us. It was a really disappointing performance by the match officials. I was bemused for the entire match, but remained calm.
“I feel sorry for the boys, they have worked hard over the festive period – they don’t drink on New Year’s Eve so they can play the next day – and I feel that they were robbed. I’m proud of the players and how they reacted and responded to the harsh decisions.
“Credit to Yate though, they are a top side. I’m not saying that we could’ve beaten them, but we weren’t given a fair crack of the whip. It was a really frustrating day, and one that won’t be forgotten for a long time.”