Match Report: Mangotsfield United vs Melksham Town
The third away trip in the space of a week saw Melksham travel to struggling Mangotsfield for their Southern League cup tie under the lights in Gloucestershire. This cup tie gave Richard Fey an opportunity to rotate his squad, giving first starts of the season to Ralph Graham and Luke Ballinger, whilst new signing Ethan Hill came straight into the starting side.
Following Saturday’s second half rampage against Slimbridge, Melksham’s free flowing forward line was running riot once again, as Town opened the scoring just 2 minutes in, following some nice football in midfield from Ralph Graham which allowed Luke Ballinger to find Albie Hopkins in the box and volley Melksham in front.
A self-destructive 15 minutes followed for Mangotsfield as they had two men, including goalkeeper Benjamin Carter, awarded straight red cards for dangerous tackles – thankfully both Town players came away injury-free from the challenges. Down to 9 men and up against an in-form Town side, it was damage limitation from there on out for Mangotsfield as Town had another big score line in their sights.
Our lead was doubled just before half time, as Albie Hopkins added another to his name with another well taken goal inside the area. That was his and Town’s second of the game, and a half-time lead of 2-0 was a sign of another great away performance for Fey’s men.
The second half was always going to be one way traffic with Mangotsfield playing with two less men than their opponents, but this meant Town would have to find ways of breaking down a stubborn defence if they wanted to add to their goal tally. It took Melksham all of 4 minutes to do this, as Vaughn Covil scored a deserved first goal for the club when he finished from close range after Albie Hopkins’ effort rebounded off the post.
More goals were to follow from Melksham, as Hopkins secured his hat-trick – and Town’s second hat-trick in consecutive games – when he rounded off a lovely team move to put us 4-0 in front. Town’s 5th was to follow not long after this, and Luke Ballinger certainly wasn’t going to miss out on any goals when he popped up in the box to score his first of the game.
Melksham found themselves 5-0 up for the second game in a row, a testimony to how ruthless the attack has been in recent games playing lovely football; however, it was a 30-yard stunner from Luke Ballinger which rounded the evening off. The Town legend picked the ball up in midfield, lifted his head and found the cop corner with a lovely strike.
The 6-0 defeat of Mangotsfield secured Town’s place in the next round of the Southern League Cup, and another cup game is to follow this Saturday with Basingstoke Town making the trip to Oakfields for the Buildbase FA Trophy clash.
By Lewie Simmons