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MELKSHAM Town have returned to form after last month’s crushing defeat in the FA Vase with two games packed full of goals – and manager, Kieran Baggs, says the team are hungry for more.
Putting their Vase disappointment behind them, the team have turned their attention back to the fight for promotion.
“There was no hangover from the Vase defeat,” said Kieran. “I’ve not spoken about it in the changing rooms. The lads know that promotion is the target for us and that the club are expecting at least top 4 in the league. So they know that they have to be professional, turn up and perform.”
Currently lying in fourth place in the league, Town face a race for promotion against Willand Rovers and Bradford Town, with Street currently out in front at the top. But Kieran thinks the players have what it takes to beat their rivals.
“I think it’s important to say that I feel Melksham has the advantage for the remainder of the season. Our fitness levels are second to none, which will give us the advantage for the tough end of season.
“Around 10 of the lads train with me at my strength and conditioning unit, CrossFit Civitas and they all look fit and are increasing in strength. This sort of training keeps them fresh and hungry for success.
“The squad on the whole are fully fit, excited and feeling positive. We are the slight underdogs to make up the 4 points. But we have got to believe, anything can happen and that is football!”
Looking back on the away game against Bridport, their first match after the FA Vase loss, Kieran said, “It was a nightmare trip; finishing work and travelling there in the evening. It takes a lot of organising and some getting used to.
“We gave the best first half performance – we looked fit, sharp and hungry. The lads played really well, despite the conditions, which were wet, windy and the pitch was really soft.
“There were goals from Gary Higdon and Rob Hobbs in the first half, but Bridport pulled one back before half-time.
“For the rest of the match we continued to show great character and desire, so when Bridport equalised in the second half, the lads knew what they had to do and a goal from Luke Ballinger took us to 3-2. It earned us a well-deserved win and three valuable points.”
Next up was Wells City at home. “It was difficult to motivate the team as we beat Wells 10-0 last time and they are rock bottom of the league,” explained Kieran. “But I didn’t want it to be that day that the underdogs delivered a shock, so I made sure the lads knew what they had to do.
“I did reshuffle the pack in preparation for the game against Bridport, which was cancelled, and this gave an opportunity for some of the squad and fringe players to have a go and make their mark.”
The game saw history repeat itself for Town, with another flurry of goals that saw them win 8-2. There was a hat-trick from Gary Higdon, two goals from Jamie Lyons and goals from Luke Ballinger, Ollie Webb and Mark Cooper.
Kieran said, “The lads played professionally in what was a routine game. There were a couple of sloppy goals towards the end as the lads became complacent, but 8 goals for us will certainly help towards the goal difference at the end of the season.”
Coming up for Town is an away match against Clevedon Town this Saturday, 17th March, followed by an away showdown with promotion rivals Willand Rovers. “This is a crucial match,” said Kieran. “This could be a promotion decider!”