CALNE Town manager Simon Gardner admitted it was two points dropped after watching his side miss the chance to make it back-to-back league wins on Saturday, writes Carl Field.
The Lilywhites had to settle for a point against Almondsbury UWE, and were left to rue two golden opportunities wasted by Aaron Hopkins in the closing stages at Bremhill View.
“I definitely think it’s two points dropped and it’s been the story of our season,” said Gardner.
“We didn’t step up to the mark and could have still been out there at ten o clock and still wouldn’t have scored.
“It was quite an open game and they had chances as well, but we had some golden opportunities and should have buried it.”
Almondsbury, who were equally wasteful in front of goal throughout, had early chances to go in front through Simon McElroy and Brett Agnew, while Hopkins and skipper Neurin Jones both had sights of goal for Calne in the first half.
That trend continued after the break, with both sides creating some decent openings, but neither able to convert them.
Calne’s best chances to win it fell to Hopkins, who blazed over on 81 minutes before being set up by Glenn Armstrong just moments later, but this time was denied by visiting keeper Matthew Semple.
As the action turned from one end to the other, Agnew – who should himself have had a hat-trick – twice fired wide for the visitors as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Gardner said: “I think our chances probably fell to the wrong player.
“If they had fallen to someone like Glenn Armstrong, who can put the ball in the back of the net for us, it might have been different.
“Aaron Hopkins had two or three golden opportunities to score for us but, unfortunately, the quality just wasn’t there and he didn’t have the belief and conviction to do it.”
Young guns fire Town’s hopes
DEVIZES Town joint-boss Darran Walters is delighted to see some of his club’s young players making an impact in the Toolstation League First Division.
Devizes included a number of youngsters in their squad for last weekend’s victory at Wellington and Walters has been impressed with his inexperienced players, with full-back Billy Holdsworth receiving special praise on his first start.
Tom Price struck twice to help Devizes bounce back from last week’s defeat at the hands of high-flying Shepton Mallet.
“In the last few years, bringing the young players through has been a bit of a problem at Devizes but we’re managing to get half a dozen of them involved this year,” said Walters.
“They’ve contributed when we’ve got them involved and taken their chance.
“Billy Holdsworth played at right full-back and he was our man of the match. He’s only 17 and he plays U18 football for Amesbury but he was outstanding last weekend.”
Devizes travel to league leaders Bradford Town this weekend.
Robinson ends wait
CHIPPENHAM Park manager Dave Ferris says top scorer Mark Robinson has finally ‘stopped sulking’ after bringing his mini-goal drought to an end with a brace against Chard Town last weekend.
The Park striker had gone five games without finding the net but fired home twice at Hardenhuish Park to take his tally for the season to 25 goals.
“Mark’s words when he scored his first goal were ‘I can stop sulking now’ – I think he was a bit disappointed to have gone a few games without getting a goal,” said Ferris.
“He scored two crackers and he’s been superb for us. Even in previous seasons, we’ve missed someone who can stick the ball in the net.”
Shane Blackmore was sent off against Chard after picking up two bookings.
Strength in depth
TREVOR Rawlings is thankful that he has a fulsome squad as his disposal after his Corsham Town side maintained their unbeaten run in the Toolstation League First Division, despite a host of absentees.
Corsham have now gone 11 games without tasting defeat in the league, with Nick Holton scoring in last weekend’s draw with Cheddar.
“If you took away 11 players from any of the other teams around here, I don’t think they’d be able to cope like we have, especially staying on the unbeaten run,” said Corsham manager Rawlings.
“I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have such a big squad and what we’ve got left now is started to get stretched a bit too.”
Players earn the praise
DARREN Perrin has praised his players for buying in to his philosophy and helping push Melksham Town into the top six of the Toolstation League Premier Division.
Melksham are level on points with fifth-placed Willand Rovers after they bounced back from Saturday’s disappointing 2-1 loss to Bridport with a 3-1 triumph over Slimbridge on Monday night.
A hat-trick from striker Dan Kovacs saw off Slimbridge and Perrin has again paid tribute to his Congre troops.
“I don’t want to patronise anyone but the players have been absolutely fantastic,” said the Melksham manager.
“They’ve bought in to what I wanted to do at the football club and they all want to be playing for their hometown club.
“We don’t have a budget and I think the fact that Gary Higdon turned down the chance to go to Larkhall Athletic, who are a very good side, speaks volumes.”
Higdon got Melksham’s consolation goal against Bridport last weekend.
Victoria find their feet in derby
THRILLED Malmesbury Victoria boss Gareth Davies is certain his side can finish the season with a flourish if they can replicate their performance from Tuesday night’s derby demolition of Purton.
Striker Stuart Fraser fired home a brace whilst Ryan Latham and Matt Coote were also on target as the Vics put Purton to the sword at the Flying Monk Ground.
“I was a bit taken aback by it. Every single one of them was fantastic and we were just relentless, which was nice to watch,” said Davies, whose side have nine league games remaining.
“The challenge now is to get some consistency and if we can carry on playing at that level, we’ll definitely move right up the table.
“Purton are a decent side but that performance had been coming and it was just great to see that from us.”
Last weekend, Malmes-bury slipped to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of fifth-placed Lydney Town.
Davies’ men travel to mid-table Easington Sports next weekend before hosting league leaders Tytherington Rocks, who are 13 points clear, next Tuesday.
Pewsey slump continues
PEWSEY Vale boss Lewis Taylor was left with that sinking feeling on Tuesday evening after his side were undone by a late goal against United Services Portsmouth.
Former Vale man Kevin Montague came back to haunt Taylor’s men by pouncing late on to steal all three points for the visitors.
Defeat on Tuesday means that Pewsey have now gone nine games without a win.
“We’ve dominated the game for 80 minutes and although I wouldn’t say that we had tonnes of clear-cut chances, we still created enough to get the three points,” said chief Taylor.
“But we just couldn’t score and in the end, one error has allowed Kevin Montague, who’s a Pewsey boy, to capitalise.
“We just seem to panic a bit too much at the moment and that’s a confidence thing for the players. If we can keep on working hard, then I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Pewsey travel to struggling Andover New Street this weekend.
Kibble plans for the future as youthful Reserves whack Wroughton
MALMESBURY Victoria Reserves manager Wayne Kibble says that building for next season in the primary objective for his side between now and the remainder of the season.
A number of young players were involved as the Vics thrashed Wroughton Reserves 4-0 in Division One of the Wiltshire League last weekend, with striker Ed Wilkins starring as he fired home all four goals.
“Ever since we lost the cup semi-final to Melksham (on February 22), it’s basically been a pre-season for us because we can’t win anything this year and we can’t lose anything,” said Kibble.
“We’ve got a few older lads who are going to help bring through the young players, like Ed Wilkins and Chris Salt, and youngsters like Ewen Kenny and Josh Langley have been fantastic – we just want to enjoy the rest of the season now.”
Elsewhere, Wootton Bassett Town Development beat leaders Intel 3-0.
In the Premier Division, Wilts Calne Town surrendered a two-goal lead, courtesy of strikes from Jake Brand and Duncan McCann, as they drew 2-2 with Devizes Town Reserves.
Boss Steve Davis said: “It was a bit disappointing because it was a game we thought we could win, especially after being 2-0 up at half-time.
“We’ve drawn a lot of games recently and haven’t been able to kill teams off to get the three points – hopefully we can put that right soon.”
Vale of Pewsey slipped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of fourth-placed Trowbridge Town whilst FC Chippenham Youth were thrashed 5-0 by title-chasers Southbrook.
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