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Sat. 14th Dec. Southern League Div. One Melksham Town 2 Mangotsfield United 1
Tues. 17th Dec. Southern League Div. One Bideford 1 Melksham Town 3
Sat. 21st Dec. Southern League Div. One Willand Rovers P Melksham Town P
Thurs. 26th Dec. Southern League Div. One Melksham Town 4 Frome Town 1
Weds. 1st Jan. Southern League Div. One Paulton Rovers 1 Melksham Town 3
MELKSHAM Town FC has kick-started the new year by climbing the Southern League to ninth place after a run of five wins – including a Boxing Day thumping of local rivals Frome Town.
After the busy festive period, Town remain unbeaten for eight games, with five wins on the bounce.
“The league table looks brilliant for us at the moment,” said Town’s manager Richard Fey speaking to Melksham News. “In the last eight weeks we have settled down – we have kept the same 16 players – and now we are getting the results we deserve.
“A couple of months ago we were going through a bad time, we had some bad results and it was always going to take time to settle down, that’s why I didn’t panic, chuck my toys out of the pram. I’ve always believed in the team and knew it would come round sooner or later – it’s just come round quicker than I expected. The boys are playing with confidence at the moment. The team spirit is unbelievable – it’s the best I’ve had as a manager – and it’s showing through.
“We need four more points and we will secure Southern League football again for Melksham – and that was the aim at the beginning of the season – to make sure that we don’t go down. When we get to that 30 points mark, that’s when we can start to give the lads other objectives to aim for.”
Richard has also praised the support of the club’s fans, who turned out in force for the Boxing Day showdown against Frome Town, and also travelled to Paulton to cheer on the squad on New Year’s Day.
“These are our true supporters – they are the same people who watched us lose in the FA Cup against Shepton Mallet, and lose against Moneyfields in the league – the two worst results this season – and they are still with us, still getting behind the lads. The wins against Frome and Paulton were for them, and they know who they are. They have stuck with us through thick and thin.”
First up for Town over the festive period was a home match against Mangotsfield United. Early in the second half Town were 1-0 down, but fought back with goals from Liam Monelle and Jack Ball, winning the game 2-1.
“It was frustrating game,” said Richard, “They had a player sent off after 10 minutes for an awful challenge. They quite openly admitted that they sat everybody behind the ball after that and made it hard for us to break down, and it almost worked.
“They hit us on the counter-attack about 10 minutes into the second half and scored a good goal, which left us 1-0 down. And then were just defending, and defending, with 10 men. We were trying to create chances, but it’s hard when a team with 10 men sit behind the ball – they made it hard for us.
“We created a few chances, but just couldn’t get that luck in front of goal – so I made three substitutions with half an hour to go, and the three players that came on made a real difference. Two of them scored – Jack Ball and Liam Monelle.
“I thought we fully deserved the win. We rode our luck at times, but it was nice to get the three points in front of a home crowd.”
Next up for Town was an away match against Bideford, and with two goals from new signing Jake Mawford, and one from Jack Ball, Town came away with another three points, winning 3-1.
Richard said, “We had three or four lads missing for this match because of the distance to travel and some unable to get out of work because of the time of year. So we went down there with 13 players, but the lads were excellent – it extended our unbeaten run to six league games – the boys have been superb.
“We changed the team around because this was our second game in four days, and the lads that came in to play for us did really well. Again we rode our luck at times, but took our chances. Jake Mawford, the new signing from Weston, was excellent and scored two.
“We ground out a result – scoring three goals away from home, which kept the unbeaten run going, and helped us to climb the table.”
On Boxing Day, Town surprised local rivals Frome Town, who are strong contenders to top the table this season, with a 4-1 thrashing – with two goals coming from Luke Ballinger and goals from Albert Hopkins and Joseph Romanski.
“I thought we fully deserved the win,” said Richard. “In the last couple of weeks we have brought in a few new players, things have settled down, and we now have a squad that shows we can compete with the teams at the top.
“The support was outstanding, the town really got behind us. The crowd was 702 – and I’m just glad we put on a good performance for them, scoring four great goals, and making it a Boxing Day to remember.
“I told the lads to enjoy the win, as it is really hard to win at this level of football – but don’t get too high when you win, don’t get too low when you lose – but there’s nothing better than beating your local rivals – who were top of the league on that day – in front of 700 people!”
On New Year’s Day, Town played away to Paulton Rovers, winning 3-1, with goals from Jack Ball, Aidan Chainey and Philip Ormrod.
“Another convincing win,” said Richard, “although it should have been a lot more if I’m honest. I thought we dominated for the 90 minutes. The lads all sacrificed their New Year’s Eve celebrations the night before as they knew it was a local derby and they wanted to do well – so full credit to them. But the big thing for me is the following we had, we took over 100 supporters to Paulton, and they really got behind the lads. The ground was full of black and yellow scarves, it was unbelievable.”
Town next face Cirencester Town this Saturday, 4th January, at home at the InfiLED Arena at Oakfields. Richard said, “It will be tough, but hopefully we can get another big crowd behind us.” Kick off is at 3pm.