Match Report: Melksham Town 3-1 Basingstoke Town Monday 24th February 2020

Bet Victor Division One South

Melksham Town 3 v 1 Basingstoke Town   Attendance 271

When: Monday 24th February 2020

Where: infiLED Arena at Oakfield, Eastern Way, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 7GU

If they gave trophies for influencing the referee, then Melksham would be Champions.

Dan Brownlie’s line-up tonight was; 1. Aaron Watkins, 2. Dean Stow (Capt) 3. Ryan Suckling, 4. Aaron Parfitt, 5. Josh Edwards, 6. Scott Armsworth, 7. Claudio Herbert, 8. Ben Cook, 9. George Hallahan, 10. Simon Dunn, 11. Adam Everiss,
On the bench; Mikey Davis, Jordan Alves, Aiden Harris, Ben Dillon and Ben Wright

A rare Monday evening game under cold and windy conditions, is not much of a treat, when it’s played at Melksham.

Stoke attack the open end in the first half, but it’s Melksham who win the first corner of the game on 4 mins, but we are able to head the ball clear.

Then on 6 mins, we break across midfield and the ball is passed to George Hallahan, who takes a touch then sends a beautiful chip over the keeper’s head but hits the bar and corner post and bounces away.

On 9 mins, we create another chance, as Hallahan chases down a ball over the top, that he initially loses to the cart-horse at No.5, but retrieves the ball and then sends in a cross to a wide open Ben Cook, whose header is comfortably straight at the keeper.

The home side then have a little bit of possession, with out exerting any pressure on the Stoke goal.

This ball just won’t go in, as on 13 mins, Simon Dunn, finds Claudio Herbert who races down the right, he feigns to go inside but takes it past the defender and sends in a cross, the ball is met by Hallahan whose shot is blocked, it falls to another Stoke player whose shot is also somehow blocked and Melksham are able to clear.

It’s Dean Stow who comes to the rescue, as a long kick from the keeper is met by Melksham head, and the ball looks to race onto a Melksham forward, until Stow intervenes and is sliding tackle puts the ball out for a corner. Again we are to deal with the corner as Everiss heads clear.

On 23 mins, we are on the front foot again, as Herbert retrieves the ball from midfield and takes it past two defenders and races fifteen yards with it before sliding the ball to Dunn, who looks to advance with the ball, but slightly loses control of it, but regains control as he enters Melksham’s penalty area. Dunn then slides it back to Everiss, who takes it on his right foot and shoots, but although well hit, it’s four yards of target at the near post.

The home sides dugout are unhappy and it’s the first time you can hear them squealing “Ref, Ref”.

It’s Stow to the rescue again, as they break from the halfway line, and look to have us outnumbered down on the left, but the pass to the Melksham winger is cut out by a sliding tackle that puts the ball out for a throw-in. From the throw-in they create another attack, this time from the right-hand wing, the ball is slid inside and the first shot is blocked and the ball fall to the feet of their star player Jack Ball, but his attempt is also cleared and we are to clear the ball (26 mins).

Another attack by Melksham, as a shot from the right-hand side of the penalty area is comfortably held by Watkins.

Then on 34 mins, we attack again, and it’s Stow who finds Herbert on the right, he drives into the penalty area, and then unleashes a shot at the keeper, who can only parry away the ball, but straight into the heart of the goal where Dunn is first to it, but his shot bounces down and then hits the bar and flies up into the air, and it’s Stow who is first to jump up to it and heads the ball into the net. GOAL! Melksham Town 0 – 1 Basingstoke Town

The small Stoke following behind the goal and down the side are let’s just say delighted with this!!

Oh well that lead didn’t last very long as on (36 mins). From a free-kick down our right the ball hits the wall bounces up in the air and is initially headed clear outside the box, but a miss-hit shot somehow finds it’s way through the way to where their striker is able to turn and slide it into the net. Score 1-1.

It’s Melksham again who cause the next threat, as we fail to clear the ball properly and the ball is fed down the right and a cross is net by a Melksham forward who volleys the balls five yards wide of the near post.

Then as we head into a minute of first-half injury-time, and whilst Melksham’s mouthy management teams are whining along with various players, we take a quick throw-in and it catches the cart-horse out and Hallahan races onto the ball, but as the keeper comes out to close the angle down, Hallahan’s shot flies wide of the far post and the referee blows the halftime whistle.

No changes at halftime (where’s there’s a novelty), and the game gets back underway with Stoke attacking the small covered terrace.

Just four minutes in and it’s Dunn who clips the ball over his marker, recovers the ball and slides a neat pass to Everiss, who then takes it ten yards and sends across to an open Cook about 25yds out. He takes the ball into the box and dummies the cart-horse and his teammate at centre-back, who fall to the ground and he takes the ball around them, but rather than shooting he tries to take the ball around the keeper, but the keeper is able to dive on the ball.

On 53 mins it’s the home side who have a chance, as from a break into our half, they take the ball to the edge of the box, and then send a shot that’s takes a slight deflection and out for a corner. The corner to the far post, is met by a Melksham head, but we clear it off the line, despite more whining from their dugout, but the ball is pumped back into our penalty area, but Everiss is able to hack it clear.

Then just past the hour, the home side take the lead from another attack, as the ball is initially blocked from a shot, but then finds it way to the far post, and it’s Ball who doubles his and Melksham’s tally, but the linesman has his flag, but then decides to put it down. The referee after numerous request by our players, to go and speak to the linesman, still awards the goal and we go behind (2-1).

On 66 mins we make our first change with Claudio Herbert being replaced by Jordan Alves.

We then fall further behind on 71 mins, as a non-existent tackle on the halfway line allows them to break down the right and send in a lows cross that is met on the 6-yard line and is slotted past Watkins into the net (3-1).

If this is not enough, further moaning from the home dugout to the linesman in front of them and the referee “Ref, Ref” is all you can hear, as they plead for every tackle or challenge.

On 73 mins we replace Ryan Suckling with Mikey Davis.

Within a minute Mikey Davis is put through but his shot hits the legs of the oncoming keeper, and we are unable to get to the rebound.

It’s Stoke again, as the ball is fed into the edge of the penalty box, by Everiss, the ball finds Hallahan, who does the cart-horse once more, as he turns onto his left-foot and shoots. It flies past the keeper, but a foot over the bar.

On 79 mins, we make our final change, as Alves who had been injured in front of the home dugout and taken some shit of their bench, has to be replaced, and it’s Ben Wright who joins the fray.

More whining about something from their dugout goes on for the next minute or so.

It’s Wright who has the next shot, as the ball fall to him about 25yds out, but his volley flies over the bar.

Melksham have another attack, but it’s snuffed out by Watkins as he comes out and dives at the feet of the oncoming striker.

We are back on it (86 mins), as Wright picks it up from midfield and sends a nice pass out to the right, the cross is met by Davis, who turns it towards goal, where the keeper saves it, but the referee gives handball.

Two minutes later, we attack again, and the ball is bouncing around their penalty area, but we can’t get a clear shot on goal and the ball is blocked clear.

Now into 3 minutes of added time, another poor pass from our defence allows them to break, but a good save down low by Watkins who pushes it out for a corner.

Three minutes of added time isn’t played as he blows the final whistle and we go down to another defeat.

Final Score: Melksham Town 3 – 1 Basingstoke Town

Up next is another trip to promotion chasers Thatcham Town on Saturday.

Match Report by Martin French..