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Odd Down 1-0 Melksham Town – Toolstation Premier Division, Sat. 22nd Aug.

Melksham travelled to Odd Down boosted by the inclusion of new signing Joe Stradling, who arrived from Frome Town after playing last season at Bradford Town.

He started on the right side of midfield with Fielding, Kovacs and Perrott all returning to the starting line up. Melksham nearly went ahead on 4 minutes when Jeffery hit the top of the Odd Down bar with a left foot effort after combing with Perrott.

On 20 minutes a Stead cross-field pass found Stradling who, after beating his marker, shot over whilst at the other end Odd Down’s Simpson saw his driven cross scoot across the face of the Town goal.

On 25 minutes the Town passed up a good opportunity to go ahead when some fine work by Kovacs gave Higdon the chance to knock the ball home at the far post from 5 yards out but his volley went wide and despite both teams’ best efforts, both defences held firm and the interval was reached with the sides level at 0-0.

On 50 minutes Melksham were presented with a further opportunity when the home keeper’s fluffed clearance fell to the feet of Higdon but the strikers left foot effort went inches wide and on 54 minutes Jeffery was forced to leave the field through injury to be replaced by Ibrahim.

On 65 minutes an injury to Perrott meant he was replaced by Griffiths and on 69 minutes Stead’s injury meant he was replaced by Rogers as the sweltering conditions and rock-hard pitch took their toll. On 78 minutes a fine run and cross by Thompson saw Kovacs’ diving header fly wide. On 86 minutes the Town created another opportunity when a fine cross by Higdon was headed back across by Kovacs to Rogers, whose volleyed effort from 10 yards was pulled wide of the goal.

The game looked destined to be settled by the odd goal and the goal duly arrived on 88 minutes in controversial circumstances which delivered a cruel 1-0 defeat to the Town.

The Town’s Rogers was upended near the half way line which meant a caution for the homeside player. Rogers needed treatment as a result of the challenge and, after leaving the field, expected to be waived back on immediately in line with the normal protocol as the kick was taken.

However, inexplicably the referee ‘forgot’ to allow Rogers back onto the field which meant the Town were left one man short on an immediate Odd Down break away from the freekick, which ended with the home side slamming the ball home from 6 yards.

There was no time for the Town to respond and the result saw Melksham’s 14 game unbeaten league game sequence come to an end.

Next up a home game against Hallen before a trip to Devon on August 29th to face Willand followed by a trip to Bridport on the following Saturday.