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FOOTBALL: Hosts hit the derby heights
DEVIZES Town joint-boss Justin Webster hailed his side’s performance in their victory over local rivals Corsham Town last weekend as one of their best of the season so far.
Mark Barnes’ spectacular effort put Devizes ahead at Nursteed Road before the striker was clipped in the box, allowing Neil Clark to fire home from the penalty spot.
Jason Henley reduced the deficit for Trevor Rawlings’ Corsham but Webster is now hoping that his side will use their derby victory as a springboard for the New Year.
“It was a superb performance from us and I’d even go as far as saying that it’s up there with our best this season,” said the Devizes joint-manager.
“Corsham are a good side and they’d won four in a row going in to the game. But we defended really well and were solid all over the pitch.
“We also had Gareth Davies, Luke Enderby, Dan Sloan and Kris Beasley missing – that’s four top lads, so to still win without them is great.
“We’re up to seventh in the league and we’ve got Keynsham and Portishead coming up next so hopefully we can push on from that Corsham win.”
Corsham chief Trevor Rawlings thought that his side paid the price for not capitalising on their first half opportunities.
“For the first 25, 30 minutes, they didn’t get out of their half but the problem was that we didn’t score,” he said.
“They only had three shots and scored from two of them, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I did think that the penalty was a little bit harsh but it was given.
“It’s bit disappointing for us – I thought that a draw would have been a fair result.”
Devizes welcome defender Gareth Davies back from suspension for this weekend’s clash with third-from-bottom Keynsham but Luke Enderby, Kris Beasley and Dan Sloan are all still unavailable.
Meanwhile, Corsham take on fifth-placed Cribbs at the Southbank.
On Boxing Day, Webster & Walters’ Devizes claimed another derbyvictory as they won 3-1 at Calne Town.
Striker Clark netted twice while Jake Waters also found the net.
Mark Dolman did pull a goal back for Calne in the second period, but it proved to be little more than a consolation as the visitors took all three points.
Corsham’s clash with Chippenham Park was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Perrin’s Melksham are really motoring
DARREN Perrin thinks Melksham Town are entering the turn of the year with plenty to smile about.
Gary Higdon scored twice as Perrin’s men saw off Radstock Town on Boxing Day, notching up their fifth win in six matches in the Toolstation League Premier Division.
“We’ve won eight, drawn one and lost two of our last eight games – that’s top four form,” said Perrin.
“The players have been magnificent and I hope that I can carry on saying that.
“If you think that the club finished 13th and won the Wiltshire Senior Cup back when Dave Clayton was in charge and are now ninth and in the quarter-finals, it’s been a great 2013 for Melksham Town.
“With the plans going in for a massive new development too, I think that people are realising that Melksham is the place to be.”
Points suits boss Ferris
DAVE Ferris was happy to settle for a point from Chippenham Park’s six-goal thriller against Warminster Town last weekend.
Mark Robinson put Park ahead within the first minute before the visitors’ Lewis Graham and Tom Golledge turned the game on its head in the second period.
Golledge got his second of the game to restore Warminster’s lead after Jordan Pinder had levelled the scores but Shane Blackmore popped up with a late equaliser to ensure it was honours even at Hardenhuish Park.
“We’d beaten Cribbs, who were above us in the league, and Warminster were below us, so some people may have thought we were favourites,” said Ferris.
“But as I told my lads, there are no favourites in this league – it’s all about who has the best mindset going out there.
“Their keeper made some good saves in the first half and if I was the Warminster managers, I’d be pleased that we only went in to half-time 1-0 down, but a bit disappointed that we threw the game away.
“We’re still learning a lot this season and that game was another learning curve for us. At the end of the day, a draw was right.”
Gardner’s rallying cry
CALNE Town manager Simon Gardner has ordered his side to keep on battling as they look to rediscover their form.
Calne have won just once in their last ten league games and were swept aside by county rivals Bradford Town last weekend.
The runaway league leaders netted four times, with Glenn Armstrong netting a consolation goal for Gardner’s men.
“We’ve been struggling for the last two months or so but I’ve told the lads that the only people that can get us out of it are ourselves,” said the Bremhill View boss.
“We’ve had a tough run of fixtures but we know that we’ve slipped up in games and that lady luck hasn’t been on our side.
“But it we keep our heads up, we know that we can turn it around.
“Saturday’s game was always going to be a bit beyond us because Bradford are just so far in front with the resources and capabilities that they have.
“The movement of their two strikers made so many holes in our defence and they made the most of them.”
Vale are cowed by departure of Hopper
PEWSEY Vale chief Lewis Taylor reckons his side may need to rediscover their cutting edge after slipping to their third reverse of the season last weekend.
Pewsey suffered a setback as they were edged out by Cowes Sports at Ball Road and Taylor thinks his team have suffered from the departure of forward Jack Hopper.
“Jack Hopper went to Swindon Supermarine and we’d never stand in the way of a player going to a higher level but it’s no coincidence that since he left, we’ve lost two out of three,” said the Vale boss.
“I think we’re just lacking that bit of flair, but we’ve got to concentrate on getting the best out of what we’ve got.
“To be brutally honest, Cowes were the better team last weekend.”
Pewsey have signed ex-Hungerford Town midfielder Josh Gregory.
Roberts circles his wagons
JEFF Roberts is hoping he will be able to keep his star players at Wootton Bassett Town when the big boys begin circling.
Striker Sam Collier has left to join Southern League Thatcham Town but Roberts has snapped up former Chippenham Town defender Mani Randhawa and was also hoping to sign full-back Ryan Sealey this week.
“We’ve got four or five players that can play Southern League football and it’s all about trying to keep hold of them,” said Roberts.
“We’ve been bringing a lot of lads in this season, and I think that the side is still short of one or two, but if we can keep those guys committed, we’ll be able to push on.”
Bassett notched up their biggest win of the season so far last weekend as they thrashed Holyport at the Corinium Stadium.
Jason Milhench found the net twice, along with Ryan Stanners, who was unable to complete his hat-trick as he saw his second half spot-kick saved.
Tyler Sheppard and Sam Ockwell also found the net, with Levi Cox also missing from the spot.
On Boxing Day, youngster Stanners also hit a brace as Bassett drew 2-2 at Newbury.
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