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Bristol Manor 1-4 Melksham Town – Toolstation Premier Division, Tues. 17th March

The Town made the mid week trip to pre season favourites and title challengers Bristol Manor Farm, in a game both sides knew would help shape their title challenge over the remaining matches.

Melksham took to the field with the same starting lineĀ  up who had ground out a 0-0 draw at home to Willand the preceding Saturday, but deep down knowing they would need to put on a better performance to get anything from their Bristol opponents.

As anticipated it was the home side who took the game to the Town in the opening minutes, and after eight minutes Rob Brown in the Town goal was at full stretch to tip over an effort from Sivers who was allowed to turn and shoot from 20 yards without a Town challenge.

The Town began to settle into their play and started to create some pressure of their own which was rewarded on 22 minutes. Melksham’s Dan Kovacs displayed some neat footwork in the box and was upended by Lock leaving the referee with no option other than to award a penalty and a caution to the offender.

Kovacs calmly drilled home the penalty to put Melksham 1-0 up, and from the restart Higdon hit a 25 yard left foot effort which needed to be saved by Clark in the home goal.

The first goal visibly lifted Melksham and on 28 minutes they went 2-0 ahead when a Dave Thompson ball into the box could only be partially cleared to the edge of the box where Ben Thomson placed a right foot effort beyond the despairing keeper.

Melksham were now in the ascendancy with the home defence at sixes and sevens and it was no surprise that they pulled further ahead on 36 minutes with a superbly worked goal.

Higdon found himself out wide on the Town right and after turning his marker curled a right foot driven cross which was met by the head of Kovacs from eight yards out, and his bullet header sped past Clark and into the roof of the net putting the visitors 3-0 up and giving the often under rated striker his 23rd goal in all competitions this season.

Things nearly got worse for the home side on 44 minutes when a mis hit Thomson cross crashed off the bar and away but the interval was reached with Melksham 3-0 to the good.

As ever the next goal would determine the story of the second half and any hopes Manor Farm had of staging a comeback were dashed on 47 minutes when home keeper Clark could only parry a Mike Perrott drive, and Higdon pounced to put the game out of reach and put Melksham 4-0 ahead a scoreline few would have predicted at the outset.

On 73 minutes Manor Farm pulled a goal back when substitute Hailston scored after pouncing on a loose ball in the box, but Town continued to look dangerous going toward with another Stead – Harris combination seeing the striker’s shot well saved and Perrott shooting over when well placed.

The final whistle blew leaving the Town 4-1 winners after an excellent performance and leaving them well set on their quest for league glory with only seven more away league games to come.