ASSISTANT boss Darren Legg was critical of Calne Town after they went down to a 2-0 home defeat to local rivals Corsham Town on Saturday, writes Carl Field.
Jason Henley’s stunning free-kick set Corsham on their way five minutes after the break, before Nick Holton netted from close range on 70 minutes to seal it.
But it was the manner of the defeat that riled Legg, who accused some of Calne’s players of a lack of effort.
He said: “I actually thought we had the better of the first half, but we just didn’t come out second half and two or three players went missing.
“We allowed Corsham to put a lot of pressure on us due to a few lads simply not putting the effort in and it proved costly.
“If we’d come out and applied ourselves properly, like we talked about at half time, I felt we were in with a shout.
“At this level you need players to put the effort in for 90 minutes, otherwise you get punished.”
Calne needed keeper Jamie Bartlett tipped away Liam Brown’s 35-yard strike whilst the hosts’ Marcus Lovesey headed wide before Henley struck his set-piece into into the top right-hand corner.
Holton doubled Corsham’s lead on 70 minutes, tapping home from close range after Gary Banks had driven the ball low across the six-yard box.
“It was professional performance rather than a quality one,” said manager Trevor Rawlings.
“We were confident that, as long as we matched their endeavour, we’d have enough to do the job and that’s what we did.
“We controlled the last part of the first half and then there was only one team in it in the second half.”
Victory at rivals Calne stretched Corsham’s fine unbeaten run to 15 matches but that record was shattered on Tuesday evening as Rawlings’ men were beaten 3-1 by Shepton Mallet.
Corsham were unable to prevent their hosts sealing second-place and automatic promotion to the Premier Division, with Henley grabbling their consolation goal in Somerset.
Rawlings seeking a response
CORSHAM Town chief Trevor Rawlings has called on his side to avoid defeat in their last four games of the season, after their stunning 15-match unbeaten run came to an end this week.
Corsham were unable to prevent Shepton Mallet sealing promotion to the Toolstation League Premier Division as they came unstuck in Somerset on Tuesday evening, with Jason Henley grabbing the visitors’ only goal.
Rawlings thought that his side were harshly treated by the officials. “It was 1-1 and we were quite comfortable until the officials decided to get involved,” said the Corsham manager.
“Shepton scored from a throw-in that was ours and when they took it quickly, the ref said play on.
“Minutes later, we had a shot that hit somebody’s hand but the ref said that it wasn’t a penalty because it hit the guy’s knee first. I think that a draw would have been a fair result and we didn’t deserve to lose the game.
“The feeling we had in the dressing room afterwards is one we’ve not had since last year.
“We’d been on a tremendous run and I said to the lads that we should try and make it just a blip by staying unbeaten in our last four games.”
Perrin looking forward to a meeting of the county’s finest
DARREN Perrin reckons the county’s two best Toolstation League level sides will come face-to-face when Melksham Town team take on Bradford Town in next week’s Wiltshire Senior Cup final.
Melksham go looking to retain the county cup against First Division champions Bradford next Wednesday and the Conigre chief is confident his side are ready to stand up to their title-winning rivals.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for what Paul (Shanley, Bradford manager) has done because they’ve entertained by scoring a lot of goals and recruited well,” said Perrin.
“They’ve brought in players with Southern League experience that have won promotion under myself, like Josh Brigham and Mike Reaney, and they’ve got a striker who has had an extraordinary season in Sam Jordan.
“But we know we can give them a game and upset the odds – that’s not mind games because the proof is in the pudding when you look at what Bradford have done this season.
“I think that the best two teams in Wiltshire at our level have made it to the final and I’m sure the Wiltshire FA are happy about it.”
Melksham have tomorrow's clash with Radstock Town (1pm) and a trip to Odd Down on Easter Monday to contend with before Wednesday’s county cup showpiece.
Last weekend, 16-year-old Dan Sibley got the only goal of the game at Ilfracombe Town and Perrin lavished praise on his young players.
He said: “Five young players played a part in the game and it didn’t faze them at all – the senior players in the team helped them through it.
“Dan Sibley is just one of the exciting players that have come through the youth system and the important thing for the club is to try and keep them together now.”
Shaun Benison will miss the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury.
Devizes primed for derby test
DEVIZES Town joint-boss Justin Webster is certain that his team will be a lot more ‘up for it’ when they lock horns with local rivals Calne Town at Nursteed Road tomorrow (1pm).
Devizes came back from a goal down to win at Cheddar last weekend but Webster thinks that his men were far from their best.
A well-worked free-kick routine in the second half saw Robbie Whyte tripped in the box and after his penalty was saved, Dan Sloan scrambled home the equaliser, despite being challenged by team-mate Oscar Hall.
Whyte then crossed for Sloan to head in the winner.
“We were really poor in the first half but the performance in the second half was an improvement,” said Webster.
“From a free-kick situation, a smart ball around the side of the wall put Robbie Whyte into the box and he was tripped - I’d loved to say that we worked on that in training but we didn’t.
“It wasn’t the greatest performance but I’m sure that the lads will be bang up for it when we play Calne on Friday, and I’m sure that they will too.
“We’ve already beaten them away from home this season and we’d like to win the game to try and push ourselves up into the top nine.”
Top-scorer Mark Barnes returns for Devizes, who also travel to Corsham Town on Easter Monday.
Shipman’s strike decides it as Park stand up to late pressure
CHIPPENHAM Park boss Dave Ferris saluted a ‘resolute’ peroformance from his side as they took all three points at Ashton & Backwell United last weekend.
Park notched up a fourth successive victory as they edged out their Somerset opponents thanks to a single goal from Adan Shipman.
Mark Nolan also hit the woodwork for Ferris’ men but the Chippenham boss was delighted to see his team withstand a late barrage.
“I read that the game wasn’t awe-inspiring for spectators and I’d have to agree with that but we were happy to come away with the win,” said Ferris.
“Adam Shipman had been working his cotton socks off up front, like he always does, and he got his rewards with a tap-in when Shane Blackmore cut the ball across for him.
“In the last ten minutes, Ashton & Backwell threw everything but the kitchen sink at us but we were resolute and I was pleased to see us hold on to our lead.”
Park host Corsham Town on Good Friday (kick-off 3pm) and go to Warminster Town on Easter Monday.
Vale deliver for Taylor
LEWIS Taylor was thrilled with a gutsy performances from his Pewsey Vale side as they picked up a point at Team Solent last weekend.
Tom Ritchie’s penalty kick put the visitors in front before Solent hit back to ensure the afternoon ended honours even.
But Vale chief Taylor was pleased with his team’s efforts and reserved special praise for assistant manager Craig Wall.
“We were shorn of numbers on the weekend and that generated a bit of a ‘you shall not pass’ mentality amongst the players,” said the Pewsey boss.
“There were a lot of guts in the performance and that was summed up by my assistant Craig Wall giving me 55 minutes just five months after a hamstring tear.
“In the end, we were disappointed not to get three points but I was delighted with the result.”
Pewsey host Hayling United tomorrow, as well as Laverstock & Ford on Easter Monday.
Kibble takes the points as Vics Reserves ride luck
MALMESBURY Victoria Reserves manager Wayne Kibble was delighted to see his side pull off a smash and grab victory from a game they ‘didn’t deserve to win’ at the weekend.
The Vics beat third-placed Wootton Bassett Town Development 2-0 in the Wiltshire League Division One, soaking up everything that their opponents had to throw at them before Ed Wilkins found the net twice in added time.
Kibble had no trouble admitting that his team had pulled a fast one but was also happy to pay tribute to a fine result for his Malmesbury side.
“It was a very good result for us, especially with a depleted side – we’ve had a lot of youngsters that have made the step up to the first team in the last few weeks,” said Kibble.
“We were under a pressure for the whole game but we defended really well. They started to push everyone forward but we managed to catch them out twice, in the 91st minute and the 93rd.
“I’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t deserve to win the game but we definitely deserved to get something out of it.”
Elsewhere in Division One, Melksham Town Reserves were crowned champions last night after decimating bottom-of-the-table Blunsdon 13-0.
In the Premier Division, Corsham Town, who lost 2-0 to Southbrook last weekend, thrashed host Vale of Pewsey 5-0 last night.
Vale were also on the end of a 5-1 defeat by Shrewton United on Saturday.
On Tuesday evening, Marlborough Town picked up a point as they held league leaders Supermarine Sports club to a 2-2 draw.
FC Chippenham Youth were beaten 2-1 by Trowbridge Town last weekend.
FOR MORE SPORTS NEWS, REPORTS & PICTURES SEE THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport