TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE DIVISION ONE: Melksham miss out on runners-up spot (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE DIVISION ONE: Melksham miss out on runners-up spot
12:00pm Monday 23rd April 2012 in Football
MELKSHAM Town Reserves missed out on their chance to finish as Division One runners up after they failed to pick up the victory over Freshford United at the Conigre which would have seen them leapfrog Westbury United Reserves and claim second spot behind champions Trowbridge Wanderers.
Freshford’s victory means that if they can take four points from their remaining two matches both of which are against Bradford United then they will move above both Melksham and Westbury into the silver medal berth.
Freshford made a fantastic start inside the first minute. Ryan Mortimer’s cross found the head of Elliot Cariss-Smith, who planted a header beyond a despairing Dave Butler to give Hughie Fulton’s side a dream start.
Freshford went close to adding a second on nine minutes, when Butler spilled a Mark Birleson free kick.
Luckily for the keeper Freshford’s forwards were slow to react and the ball was cleared to safety.
Melksham’s best chance of the opening stages fell to Leigh Rogers who worked an opening for himself only to see his effort saved by keeper Chris Birleson.
Mark Birleson had Freshford next attempt at goal, after riding a challenge in midfield he smashed a hopeful 30 drive which sailed just over the bar in the 20th minute.
Two minutes later Phil Little should have done better when he had another chance for the villagers but the miss of the game went to Ryan Mortimer who with the keeper beaten headed wide of an open goal on 27 minutes.
Melksham went close to restoring parity in the 38th minute an excellent cross from Rogers picked out Ian Dowell’s whose brave header flew inches wide of the upright.
The second half began with Melksham on top and Dan Moore really should have tested the keeper with an effort from close range, before Birleson was forced into a fine save when he kept out Jake Cooper's strike from a free kick which he did well to curl around the wall from 25 yards out.
It seemed only a matter of time before Melksham would level and they went incredibly close in the 55th minute with only the woodwork denying Dan Moore.
On the hour mark, Freshford doubled their lead in controversial circumstances. Mark Smith was harshly adjudged to have fouled Adam Hyde in the area and from the resulting penalty Mark Birleson sent keeper Butler the wrong way to make it 2-0.
Danny Griffiths and Rob Manning had half chances for the hosts but they were unable to find the net until the 83rd minute when they thought they had given themselves a lifeline.
Rob Manning’s free kick was planted home by Ben Macey but Melksham’s celebrations were cut short as to the surprise of both sets of players what looked to be a perfectly good goal was disallowed for a foul.
With decisions seeming to go against them they were understandably getting frustrated and Danny Griffiths already on a yellow card picked up a second booking and a sending off for his protests after the goal was chalked off.
Melksham were unhappy after the final whistle as they had picked up five bookings and one sending off in game that was for the most part played in a great spirit.
Although a number of decisions had gone against them they hadn’t been at their best on the day and credit must be given to Freshford who with a makeshift eleven did what they had to do as they keep their hopes for second place alive.
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