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Sat. 6th January. FA Vase Fourth Round
Melksham Town 2 Crowborough Athletic 1
Sat. 13th January. Toolstation Premier Div.
Melksham Town 3 Buckland Athletic 0
IT’s been a fantastic start to the New Year for Town, with them reaching the FA Vase last 16 for the first time in their history followed by a comfortable league win over promotion rivals Buckland Athletic.
Speaking about the historic FA Vase win against Crowborough Athletic, manager Kieran Baggs said, “We had done our homework and Darren (Perrin) had gone to see Crowborough in action, so we knew where the threats were and what we had to do to win.
“However, we weren’t that great in the first half and perhaps showed Crowborough too much respect. But when they missed a penalty, it did give the team a new lease of life and you do start to think that perhaps things will go your way.
“During half-time I spoke to the lads and told them that they have nothing to fear, and they went out in the second half and played for the win. Our first goal came from Mike Perrott in the 61st minute, which really fired the team up.
“Unfortunately we gave away another penalty, and this time Crowborough didn’t miss and I did start to worry that this wasn’t going to be our day. But the players quickly responded and scored again from set play. A cross from Ben Thomson to Ryan Bole on the edge of the box was finished with an excellent strike that saw us take the lead and the win. It was a great moment for Ryan who is only 19 and has been waiting for some game time. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands.”
Town take on Tring Athletic in the fifth round of the FA Vase on Saturday 3rd February. There is limited parking at Oakfields, so supporters are advised to walk to Oakfields or get dropped off and the club is hoping for a bumper crowd.
Speaking about the recent meeting with Buckland Athletic at home on Saturday 13th January, Town manager Kieran said, “On paper it was a really difficult match. Buckland are a top five team and they always give us a good game. We expected a tough game as they have also recently changed managers.
“From the Vase match, we rested a few players and brought in some new guys from the under 18s and development teams; they did really well. It was great to get a good win.”
The goals came from Ryan Bole, Jake Brown and Alex Grimshaw. Grimshaw scored in the first half, Bole doubling the lead in the 78th minute and Brown bringing it home 3-0, with a late goal in the 87th minute.
Looking ahead, as the next round of the Vase looms closer, Kieran added, “January is a time to have a look at the team and go out and get new signings to create more depth in the squad. They are hopefully being finalised this week, so all shall be revealed on the website soon.
“We have a tough game next against Bitton on Saturday 20th January – probably the toughest game of the season. Their place in the league doesn’t reflect their ability; they are easily a top of the table side. However, confidence is high and coming from the Vase win and now the Buckland win, the momentum is strong. We don’t fear anyone, but we still need to give 100%.
“It’s up to me and Luke now to keep the lads going – they’re human, not robots – they can’t just flip a switch. The plans for the next few games are to rotate the squad so we can cement who will be playing in the next round of the Vase against Tring.
“The boys are playing for places now, no-one is guaranteed a place. They need to perform at the highest level if they are to make the team.”