Match Report: Cirencester Town vs Melksham Town
After the postponement of the Larkhall fixture on New Year’s Day, Town were now facing the top 2 in succession. The 6-goal thriller away at Frome saw the squad come away with a point against the league leaders, and Saturday’s fixture against second-placed Cirencester was going to be another big test for Fey’s men.
Thanks to the high-quality artificial turf possessed by the hosts, the fixture was one of only two Southern League games to go ahead on the day. That being said, the first half wasn’t one for the neutral; as both teams cancelled each other out the first 35 minutes was almost chanceless, with neither ‘keeper being tested. That was until Town sprung into life and started to find space in behind. Albie Hopkins and Kyle Tooze both had decent efforts at goal, and just before half-time Jake Mawford rattled the post after some impressive build up play.
Town were to go close again through Sam Hendy, but ultimately the half-time whistle sounded, and the side went in goalless. With Cirencester being one of the top sides in the league, the second half was always going to be a tougher challenge as Town frustrated the hosts in the first half.
This was evident early on with Cirencester having their best opportunity of the game just after the restart, although Matt Hall wasn’t required to deal with the effort. However, the pressure from the hosts eventually paid off; Cirencester skipper Jake Lee bundled the ball over at the back post following a corner. This was the all-important opener the hosts had been craving, as they hadn’t looked like scoring up until this moment.
Things then went from bad to worse for Town, as Cirencester doubled their lead on 57 minutes through Nick Peare, a powerful header from another corner. Cirencester proved why they were doing so well in the league; where they couldn’t break down the stern Melksham defence in open play, they took advantage of their set piece.
As the visitors were now chasing the game, it left them vulnerable at the back. Ultimately, Cirencester were now looking like a top side as they crested more chances to put the game to bed. Matt Hall pulled off a superb save, but to no avail as 5 minutes later Ryan Morgan conceded a penalty in the 75th minute. Jake Lee converted to score his second of the game and put the game beyond reach of Town.
In typical Town fashion, the lads kept going until the last whistle and continued to try get on the scoresheet. They did receive the slightest feint of hope in the 85th minute when a little bit of magic in the box from Jay Malshanskyj pulled one back for Town, but it proved only to be a consolation in the end. A 3-1 defeat for Town, but a chance to get back on track as well as a chance to do the double over Bristol Manor Farm at Oakfields this Saturday.
By Lewie Simmons.