FOOTBALL ROUND-UP: Nando chases a top-six finish

Marlborough Town’s Leigh Blanchard (burgundy) challenges Corsham Town Reserves’ Josh Batstone in the air during Saturday’s Wiltshire League Premier Division clash

Marlborough Town’s Leigh Blanchard (burgundy) challenges Corsham Town Reserves’ Josh Batstone in the air during Saturday’s Wiltshire League Premier Division clash

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MARLBOROUGH Town chief Nando Rossi thinks that a sixth-placed finish in the Premier Division would represent a successful campaign for his side this season.

Marlborough, who have finished well outside the top six in recent years, got their league campaign back on track with a 2-0 victory over Corsham Town Reserves last weekend.

Rossi's men, who slumped to a dismal 8-0 drubbing at title-chasers Shrewton United in their last outing, took the lead early in the second period, with Steve Deane firing home from the penalty spot after Leigh Blanchard was tripped in the box.

Nathan Good poked home the hosts' second of the afternoon to hand Marlborough their sixth victory of the season.

“It was a fairly even first half and even after we went 2-0 up, Corsham hit the post and had two goals disallowed, so it was a good result for us,” said Rossi.

“The game at Shrewton was a bit of a disaster, but apart from that, we’ve been on quite a good run recently and if we were to finish sixth, that would be quite a good season for us.

“The reserve team folded earlier this season because the club couldn’t sustain two sides but we've got a lot of competition for places in the side and everyone knows they have to be at their best to play.

“We’ve got some more tough games coming up but we're pretty happy with how things are going.”

Elsewhere, bottom side Vale of Pewsey notched up a second win in three matches as they beat FC Chippenham Youth 2-1, courtesy of goals from Hayden Culliford and Kias Bonner-Shea.

Devizes Town Reserves, who are just a place above Pewsey in 12th, also recorded a victory as they beat Wroughton 3-0.

But Wilts Calne Town slipped to a 3-1 defeat against Trowbridge Town.

Five-star showing leaves Darran’s Devizes in much better shape

DARRAN Walters hopes that Devizes Town have got the wind back in their sails after notching up a second dominant victory in a row last weekend.

Devizes, who beat Keynsham Town 4-1 last week, stuck five past Wells City at Nursteed Road on Saturday, with Mark Barnes hitting a first half brace before Kris Beasley, Jamie McLaughlin and Tom Price all got themselves on the scoresheet.

Walters’ men were hit with a points deduction for fielding an ineligible player last week and the Devizes joint-manager has his fingers crossed that Town’s fortunes are back on the up.

“We had a really poor run of results in February and then the situation with the points came at the worst possible time,” said Walters.

“But it’s weird how the side’s confidence can disappear completely and then come straight back again so quickly.

“We played really well against Keynsham last week and it was the same on Saturday against Wells – if we hadn’t scored four or five after the way we started the game, I think we would have been disappointed.

“We want to try and finish in that top ten now.”

Devizes’ clash with Welton Rovers on Tuesday night, which already suffered a controversial last-ditch postponement last month, was called off due to floodlight problems at Nursteed Road.

Jake Waters returns to Walters and Justin Webster’s squad for this weekend’s trip to promotion-chasing Shepton Mallet.

Rawlings’ classy Corsham are a match for all comers

TREVOR Rawlings feels in-form Corsham Town are a match for any side in the Toolstation First Division after cruising to a victory on Saturday, writes Carl Field.

Jackson Hamilton and Gary Banks were on target for Rawlings’ men, who are now eight unbeaten in the league, losing just once in their last 13.

“I thought we dominated again for 90 minutes, defended well, and could’ve had a couple more goals to be honest,” said Rawlings.

“We also had a few out again, so that also shows we’ve got a bit of depth to the squad at the moment, and that we could still put a decent side out and get a good result.

“We’re on a good run and results breed confidence.

“It has taken a bit of time and patience – what with the bad spell of injuries we suffered earlier in the season – but we have a side now that can be up there, and we’ve proven that by beating top sides during that run over the last few months.

“I don’t think it matters where we play, we’ve got a decent record away from home as well.

“So it just shows that, when we’ve got everyone available, we’re as good as any team in this league.”

Corsham dominated a poor Chard outfit and deservedly took the lead on 21 minutes when Hamilton netted from close range after Jamal Chevolleau’s cross had sparked a scramble.

Chevolleau saw an effort rebound back off the woodwork three minutes after the break, before Banks secured maximum points on 68 minutes to avenge the 2-0 defeat to Chard in November.

Corsham visit Almondsbury UWE on Saturday.

Ferrris happy to draw blank

CHIPPENHAM Park chief Dave Ferris thinks a draw was a fair result as his side shared the spoils with promotion chasers Welton.

The two sides couldn’t be separated at Hardenhuish Park, with the clash ending goalless as Ferris’ mid-tablers built on last week’s victory at Oldland Abbotonians.

“It was one of those games where neither side created any clear-cut chances but before the game, you would have been happy with a point against a side in the top four in the league,” he said.

“Believe it or not, the best thing for the game would have been a bit of rain on Friday night because the pitch was very dry and bobbly. We worked hard, defended well, and a draw was probably the right result.

“At the moment, we’ve got a defence who are putting a lot of effort in, a hard-working midfield and, with Mark Nolan back from injury, we’ve got a pretty potent strike-force, made up of him and Mark Robinson.”

Dan Price is set to return for this weekend’s trip to Chard Town but Jordan Coulter is injured and Josh Ferguson suspended.

Gardner is staying loyal

SIMON Gardner is keeping faith with his Calne Town players, despite the Lilywhites slipping to a third straight defeat at the hands of Barnstaple Town last weekend.

Two second-half goals were enough to see off Gardner’s men at Bremhill View but the Calne manager is determined to wait for a turnaround in his side’s fortunes.

“We’re not getting what we deserve at the moment – we’re still not getting the rub of the green,” said Gardner.

“The game was so open that it could have been 8-5 to us but we didn’t take our chances and then made some silly mistakes, like we have been doing in the last few weeks.

“It’s a good job that the spirit in the camp is so good, despite the results.

“I know that the side I’ve got is good enough and other sides like Corsham, Chippenham (Park) and Devizes might have good players, but wholesale, I wouldn’t change my squad for theirs.”

Calne travel to Cheddar next weekend.

Perrin to ring the changes

MELKSHAM Town manager Darren Perrin will aim to have the strongest squad possible at his disposal when his side bid to reach the final of the Wiltshire Senior Cup next week.

The holders take on Hellenic League Purton in the semi-finals at Calne Town’s Bremhill View next Tuesday (7.30pm).

Conigre chief Perrin says he’ll be ringing the changes for this weekend’s league trip to Longwell Green Sports as they aim to retain the trophy.

“I went to watch the other semi-final on Tuesday night (Bradford Town beat Bemerton Heath Harlequins 3-0) and we want to get through our semi too,’’ he said.

Last weekend, Melksham Town notched up a 1-0 victory over Ilfracombe Town, the with dual-registered Luke Ballinger coming off the bench to net the only goal.

Kieran to the rescue

VICS boss Gareth Davies is hoping his emergency spell between the sticks last weekend will be his last after signing Kieran Shail to ease their keeper crisis.

With Mike Alexander injured, goalie Joe Snell was forced off midway through the first half, forcing Davies to step into the breach.

Luke Cordery's goal wasn't enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat but Davies has signed young Swindon Supermarine stopper Shail on dual-registration terms.

“We’ve brought in Kieran pretty quickly, so we’ve stopped that problem straight away,” said Davies.

“I was pretty worried because I'm no keeper, but I didn't have a save to make in the second half because we were superb.

“I think we’ve turned the corner with the way we've been playing since Christmas but it's results that we need – we're desperate for a win (at home to New College) this weekend.”

Purton were downed 1-0 at home by Clanfield, Jamie Butt scoring the only goal.

Bassett can’t slow Wantage

WOOTTON Bassett Town were unable to put the brakes on Hellenic League Premier Division title-chasers Wantage Town as they slipped to a narrow defeat on Tuesday night.

A spirited Bassett performance wasn’t enough to prevent the Oxfordshire hosts making the decisive breakthrough in the 25th minute, with Jimmy Deabill heading home from Ben McCready’s delivery.

Last weekend, Jeff Roberts’ men were held to a 0-0 draw at Holyport, leaving the Bassett boss frustrated.

“They went there trying to get a draw and were slowing things down, keeping the ball out of play whenever they could – the pitch didn’t really help is either because it was pretty soft,” said Roberts.

“In the first half, we had a couple of chances but we didn’t have the grit about us to grind it out. We looked a bit jaded to be honest.”

Bassett turn their attentions to a third round Supplementary Cup clash with with Penn & Tylers Green this weekend.

Taylor’s tonic for Pewsey

LEWIS Taylor is certain that Pewsey Vale will rediscover their confidence once they snap out of their Sydenhams League slump.

Vale have lost seven matches in a row in Division One, slipping to 3-1 defeats at the hands of Tadley Calleva on Tuesday evening and Team Solent last weekend.

But boss Taylor is refusing to let his head drop and wants his players to focus on getting back to winning ways.

“We’re obviously struggling for confidence at the moment and we’re struggling for consistency too because we’ve had to chop and change the side,” said the Vale manager.

“But we know that things come in phases in football and our confidence will come back when we start picking up results – we’ve just got to concentrate on the next game.”

Ricky Franklin got Vale’s consolation goal against Tadley while Adam Field scored last Saturday.

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