TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE DIVISION THREE: Win sees Fleece close gap on Westwood

DIVISION Three leaders Westwood News knew whatever the outcome of the weekend matches they would still hold a healthy six-point lead over their closest rivals The Fleece who hosted Lacock in what was earmarked as the game of the day in the division.

Fleece, who had suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Lacock just a few weeks ago, turned the tables on their guests as they fought their way to a 2-0 win in a game that never lived up to its pre-match billing.

Fleece opened the scoring through a first goal of the season for Jamie Kinchin who headed home from 18 yards.

The victory was sealed by Tom Downes who made it 2-0 when he rounded the keeper and finished with aplomb, both goals coming in the first 45 minutes.

Bradford United Reserves 4 Bratton Reserves 2

A 4-2 VICTORY for Bradford United Reserves at home to Bratton Reserves lifted them into the top half of the table for the first time this season while the defeat for Bratton leaves them just above the drop zone.

Bradford whose last win came at the start of November were by far the better team in the first half and made the perfect start with Marcus Brown putting them one-up.

Fynn McCarthy-Driver doubled Bradford’s advantage and McCarthy-Driver had the chance to add his second of the afternoon and a third for Bradford but he hit the post from the penalty spot.

His blushes were spared by teammate Lee Ridout who found the target before half time to give the hosts a comfortable 3-0 lead at the break.

The second half saw Bradford take their foot off the gas and Bratton move up a few gears as they fought their way back into the game.

Chris Storey’s double reduced the deficit to the odd goal but just as it was looking as if Bratton would complete an amazing turnaround Bradford found their stride again and Elliot Hinton found the back of the net to seal victory number four of the campaign for the hosts.

Trowbridge Rangers 6 The Stiffs 3

BOTTOM-OF-THE-TABLE The Stiffs visited Trowbridge Rangers looking for their first win of the season, but the wait goes on for Ade Giles' side, who led 2-0 at one stage.

Goals from Chris Giles and Simeon Player put the Stiffs 2-0 up but they found themselves 3-2 down as controversial goals from Adam Hatch, who scored from the penalty spot after an accidental handball went against the visitors, and Dan Moore, who appeared to have controlled the ball with his hand before finding the net, got Rangers back on level terms before Jordan Field put them in front.

The Stiffs although downhearted rallied and restored parity with Dave Carroll tying things at three apiece.

The Stiffs had their tails up in the second period as they went in search of the first win of the season, but late in the game they were reduced to 10 men as Simeon Player, who had been in fine form went off with what was later diagnosed as a torn calf muscle.

Having used their substitutes the undermanned Stiffs side succumbed to constant Rangers pressure and goals from Nick Suter, Pat Kapelka and a second from Moore in the final 10 minutes helped James Goddard side to their fourth win of the season.

United FC 1 Trowbridge Town Reserves 2

INJURIES, suspension and unavailability saw a changed line-up for Trowbridge Town Reserves for their short trip to United FC.

But with Brad Whitham returning after long-term injury, Craig Yelland, Zack Manna and Kevin Norris coming in for the absent Kurt James, Mitch Spackman and Natty Mills the Bees posed a credible threat to their hosts and so it proved as thay picked up a 2-1 win and with it, the three points that keep them in touch with the promotion-chasing sides.

On a sticky and difficult pitch at Clarendon College, Trowbridge created a number of early chances, without converting, Manna and Conor Green both going close.

But it was United who took the lead, on 15 minutes when Krzystof Kopacz turned the ball in from close range after Town keeper Bob Arberry misjudged a low cross.

Trowbridge worked hard to find an equalizer, but had to be careful as United looked dangerous on the break.

The Bees, playing some decent football on the poor surface, were unlucky when Manna hit the cross bar, and both Green and Whitham shaved the United with decent efforts, but it wasn't until the 39th minute that the pressure told, with Yelland finishing well at the far post after good work out wide from Manna.

The second half saw the first 30 minutes dominated by Trowbridge, with Kieran McCaldon producing a low strike from 30 yards which was well saved by the United keeper, who then did well at keeping Whitham, Chad Cain, Green and Manna from giving Town the lead from good opportunities.

For long spells McCaldon and Whitham controlled the game, with some excellent passes and movement, and it was Whitham on 65 minutes who made the breakthrough with a low drive into the corner for his first Town goal after a year out injured.

United rallied and tried to get back to level terms, but the Town defence of Adam Potter, Kieron Green, Craig Neate and Kevin Norris held firm, and Trowbridge looked dangerous on the break, with chances coming to Tom Moore, Whitham and Cain, who nearly extended Town's lead with a drive which cannoned off the United crossbar in the last five minutes.

TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE ROUNDUP, STATS AND PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport and @WTSport

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