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After the recent run of postponed matches due to the weather both Melksham and their visitors from Bristol were able to play their first fixture of 2016 on a heavy Conigre surface and each side had to settle for a point after a 3-3 draw.
Melksham made one change from their previous game with Ricky Hulbert starting in place of Dan Kovacs who was to serve a three game ban after his dismissal at Bradford Town on Boxing Day.
The visitors settled well in the opening minutes and deservedly went 1-0 up after only six minutes when Huxley latched onto a header from Horgan to knock the ball home from close range.
Melksham drew level on 16 minutes when Gary Higdon and Hulbert combined well and despite a fine save from ex Town keeper Tom Drewitt in the Cadbury goal the ball fell to Ben Thomson who expertly guided the ball home from 10 yards.
On 20 minutes an almighty scramble in the visitors goal saw Higdon, Thomson and Dave Thompson unable to force the ball home, whilst at the other end Horgan dragged his effort wide of the near post when through on goal.
On 29 minutes Drewitt produced a good save to direct a Thomson effort around the post for a corner, and from the resultant corner by Benison, Lee Fielding saw his effort hacked off the line.
However Melksham did take the lead on 31 minutes when a Thomson corner was headed home from close range by Hulbert. Just before the break Rob Brown in the Town goal saved well from Horgan as the visitors looked for an equaliser their first half play had merited, but the interval saw the Town holding a narrow 2-1 advantage.
The early stages of the second period saw little goal mouth activity, before on 61 minutes Higdon dragged his effort wide when Hulbert headed an Ian Jeffery freekick into his path, and on 67 minutes an almost identical situation occurred when Hulbert headed a Thomson cross into Higdon’s path, but the striker’s effort flew just wide,
On 68 minutes Melksham made their first substitution of the game when Jack Morris was introduced for Benison.
The game sprang into life again around 70 minutes with two goals in as many minutes, when firstly Melksham went 3-1 ahead when Higdon delightfully played the ball into Hulbert who calmly lobbed the ball over the keeper for his second of the game, before Cadbury hit back immediately from the kick off when Huxley slid the ball home from close range to bring the score back to 3-2 to the home side.
On 85 minutes Drewitt again saved well from a Higdon header after a Thomson corner and it looked as if Melksham would hold onto the three points. However the visitors had other ideas and on 89 minutes,Town skipper Ryan Bennet, who was playing his 100th game for the club, was forced into giving away a freekick some 25 yards from the Town goal and picked up a caution for his troubles.
Up stepped Huxley to smash an unstoppable 25 yarder into the top corner of the net for his hat trick giving the Town keeper Brown no chance to make the scores level at 3-3 and bring up the strikers 26th goal of the season.
As the game went into injury time Melksham’s Fielding picked up a caution for a reckless challenge and the final whistle saw the game end as a 3-3 draw with both managers thinking their sides had done enough to win this encounter.
Melksham now face a run of four away games on the trot, starting with the long trek to North Devon on Saturday to meet an in form Barnstaple Town.