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MELKSHAM secured another 3 points with a well deserved 2-1 victory over Radstock Town on Boxing Day.
Melksham went into their Boxing Day clash with Radstock looking to continue their fine run of form which has seen them win five out of their last six games and quickly move up the table.
The Town were boosted by the inclusion of central defender Dean Flockton who was making his debut for his home town club after leaving Frome Town. The pitch was understandably very heavy after the recent rain but the game kicked off in bright sunshine in front of a healthy crowd. Melksham created the first clear opportunity on 17 minutes and Dan Kovacs saw his near post effort well saved by Radstock keeper Nolan, and minutes later the visiting keeper made another fine save from a Leigh Rogers volley after a flicked Higdon header from an Ibrahim long throw.
There was no let up for the visitors who were forced on the back foot and the next chance arrived on 25 minutes when Higdon headed Smith’s cross back across the box where Ryan Bennet headed wide with the goal at his mercy. Bennet was a constant threat at set pieces and on 33 minutes the central defender saw his header cleared off the line by Elms as the Town sought the elusive breakthrough. On 35 minutes, on a rare break into Town territory, Radstock’s Ingram saw his effort sail over when well placed.
The home side were finally rewarded for their efforts on 39 minutes when Kovacs chased down an attempted Radstock clearance, and Ian Jeffery nipped in to steal the ball off the Radstock defender to cross the ball for Gary Higdon, who after a couple of touches, slammed a right foot drive into the far corner of the net for his 19th goal of the season. This put the Town 1-0 ahead, which they held onto until the half time break. The second period saw the visitors open well and they drew level on 48 minutes when Ingram produced a fine finish from fully 30 yards out with a clever chip over home keeper Drewitt who mishit his attempted clearance. On 62 minutes the Town introduced Nick Ridout from the bench for his first start since his return to the club for Rogers as the homeside looked to regain the initiative from the visitors who were buoyed by their equaliser. On 66 minutes the Town regained the lead after a hotly disputed penalty decision. Jeffery’s inswinging corner was met by Higdon’s header which struck the arm of a Radstock defender, and despite the visiting protests the referee pointed to the spot. After some delay Higdon stroked home the spot kick to put the Town 2-1 ahead.
As the half wore on, and the conditions took their toll, Melksham introduced both Stead and Flower from the bench and on 80 minutes Higdon had an opportunity to finish the game but delayed his shot and the chance was cleared. On 85 minutes Ridout’s whipped inswinging corner was met by Bennet’s header, but his effort cannoned off the post back into play, where Higdon’s follow up effort was cleared away.
The Town comfortably saw out the last few minutes and the final whistle blew with the Town securing their 6th win in the last seven games, a nice end to the year and continuing their rapid climb up the table.
Next up the Town entertain Willand at the Conigre on 4th January.