FOOTBALL: Away triumph lifts Vics’ spirits

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Malmesbury Vics boss Gareth Davies Malmesbury Vics boss Gareth Davies

MALMESBURY Victoria chief Gareth Davies was delighted to see his side help soothe their club’s off-field woes by returning to action with a vital three points in the Hellenic League Division One West last weekend.

The Vics have endured a torrid period in recent weeks, with their Flying Monk Ground ravaged by the recent flooding and the club’s finances taking a hit.

Davies’ men had not played since December 14 but pulled three points ahead of second-from-bottom Old Woodstock Town with all three points in Oxfordshire last Saturday.

“The club has been having an awful time of it and it’s all been falling down around our ears but it was nice to get back out there playing,” said Davies, whose side kept their third clean sheet of the season.

“It’s an old cliché but you can train as much as you like – there’s nothing the same as playing a game.

“I had a couple of lads pull out at the last minute, meaning that I had to play myself, but, apart from me, most of the players got back into the swing of it pretty quickly.

“There were some tired legs at the end of it but it was good to blow out the cobwebs.

“The reserves won their cup quarter-final last weekend too so it just gives the club a little boost.”

The only goal of the game came with around 20 minutes left, as Dan Thompson’s cross was knocked back across the goal-line by Scott Price, allowing Mani Roper to tap home.

Davies added: “It was great to get a clean sheet because we haven’t kept too many of those.

“Their keeper pulled off a few saves in the first half and then it was the same in the second half – we were knocking on the door and you were starting to wonder if the goal was going to come.”

Davies hopes to welcome back Ryan Welland, Aaron Welland, Chris Price and Luke Cordery for Saturday’s trip to Easington Sports.

Jeff Roberts paid tribute to the strength of his Wootton Bassett Town squad and thinks that his side might just be challenging at the top end of the Hellenic League Premier Division next season.

Bassett claimed the derby spoils last weekend as they got the better of local rivals Shrivenham, thanks to Levi Cox’s last-gasp goal.

Dan Drewitt put the hosts ahead and Dan Lardner missed the chance to equalise for Roberts’ side as his penalty struck the post but Tyler Sheppard eventually levelled things up before striker Cox won the game with a deft flicked effort from Jordan Roberts’ delivery.

“We’ve probably got about five in there already that could play at Southern League level,” said the Bassett boss.

“This year is more for consolidation and then next season might be our season.”

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