Away Match vs Melksham Town FC (TWLPD)
Saturday 5 March 2016
Toolstation Western League Premier Division 2015/16
2-1 (Away Defeat)
Sherborne travelled to The Conigre ground at Melksham knowing they faced a tough task if they were to take anything away from their hosts who had beaten the league leaders Odd Down 4-0 last Saturday and disposed of Bemerton Heath Harlequins 5-1 in a midweek County Cup fixture.The visitors cause was not helped by the absence of key players Harry Montacute and Steve Burton who were both unavailable, injuries also forced out George Mapletoft,Tony Cunningham and Steve Friend.
The game kicked off and it was the home side who were to create the first chance Shaun Benison trying his luck from distance but his effort failed to trouble Jamie Beale in the home goal.The first clear cut chance of the game fell to Sherborne, a Pete Ireland shot was deflected into the path of Raith Plant who should have done better than to blaze his effort over the bar form 8 yards out.
The game had the feel of an end of season affair in the early stages with little effort or passion being displayed from either side so much so that the travelling committee resorted to talking about the club Secretaries recent acquisition…..an allotment!! (Showing your age Mr Goodland).
The 16th minute saw Melksham carve out their best chance, good work down the wing by Gary Higdon set up Ben Thomson on the edge of the area who had made his run without being tracked luckily for the visitors he lacked the composure required and blasted his effort over Beales cross bar.Melkshams best player on the day Higdon then had a deflected shot hit the outside of Beales post and moments later another Higdon effort was saved by the legs of the Sherborne custodian.
The opening goal game from Sherborne, some fine work from Marc Caines saw the ball sent out wide to Pete Ireland who sent in a great cross for the onrushing Luke Winsper to despatch past Rob Brown in the home goal. Moments later Winsper was to pick up an injury that was to curtail although not stop his involvement in the rest of the game.
After being fed and watered in fine style by the opposition committer it was time to see if Sherborne could hold on to their slender lead in the second period of the game and it was to start brightly through Pete Ireland who went on a mazy run before shooting wide. A Luke Winsper corner was headed back across goal for Elliott Mann who again could only fire wide of Browns goal.
Melksham fought their way back into the game and got their equaliser in the 55th minute following a long ball forward to Mike Perrot who sent in a cross for GARY Higdon to get the goal his involvement in the game had deserved. Seven minutes later they managed to get their noses in front, A long throw from substitute Ibrahim was headed on by Bennison to the onrushing Gary Straddling whose midfield run had not been tracked to give him the time to pick his spot and plant the ball past Beale.
Sherborne responded well but couldn’t find a way to Browns goal,Winsper picked up a caution for a late challenge in the middle of the park on 75 minutes.Raiff Plant was unlucky with a speculative overhead kick that bought a fine save from Brown who then picked up a caution from the man in black Chris Wicks who it has to be said had a great game managing the game well using common sense and man management skills that some of his colleagues would do well to learn from.
Melksham nearly extended their lead but for the brilliance of Beale who first beat out an effort form Higdon then responded quickly saving with his legs when Stradling looked certain to score form the rebound.
The dying minutes of the game saw Jason Bond pick up a caution for a late challenge that no one in the ground except Sherborne’s Sam Farthing could argue with!
All in all a solid display from Sherborne who will be disappointed not to have taken anything from the game but they can take plenty from it in terms of the effort and commitment shown by the players on the day against a very experienced and solid Melksham outfit who will not finish far away from the number one spot in the league come the end of the season.Man of the Match Pete Ireland.