Att - 303
It was a cold Autumnal day in Wiltshire as two former Western League rivals clashed in an entertaining and busy game. Both teams set up with purpose and Manor Farm had the wind at their backs in the first half. This allowed them to get a foothold in the game and the early skirmishes seem to suggest this game would have goals.
Meanwhile Melksham looked dangerous on the break and when using their midfield duo of Matt Hurley and Aidan Chainey looked to be getting on top of the tricky conditions.
The first real chance came when Jamie Bartlett in the home goal had to pull off a fine fingertip save when faced with the onrushing Joe Tumelty after he found himself clean through on the edge of the area. Bartlett was able to divert the ball wide when it seemed Manor Farm would take the lead.
Melksham had the ball in the net around the half hour mark as a fine Luke Ballinger cross found Jack Ball at the far post and he headed firmly past Ben John. Unfortunately for Melksham it was ruled out for offside despite the protests of the home fans.
Gilt edged chances proved to be a rare commodity in the game and the weather began to close in as the flood lights began their shift. Just after the half hour mark a dangerous Melksham free kick broke to Josh Ford who from inside the penalty area drew a blocking save from Ben John.
Half time came and virtually the whole crowd retreated towards the Clubhouse and Bar to seek warmth and refreshment. The second half saw the weather worsen and the darkness creep in. Chances were few and far between although both sides looked dangerous on the break and were both pressing for the three points.
Melksham had a pair of fine chances towards the end of the game when Josh Bennett cleverly found space on the right side and his dangerous cross was met by the flying Taiwo Daniel Ojo at the near post. The Farm defence could do nothing but watch as Ojo’s header thumped into the advertising hoardings inches from the goal.
Minutes later and well into the dying embers of the game Jack Ball was played in on the right hand side and steadied himself in front of the well packed stand. His half volley was smashed across the Farm goal and wide without troubling John. This was the final chance for the home side and although Manor Farm always looked capable and wiling to attack the game finished goalless.
Manor Farm return to league action next week whilst Melksham face a trip to Hampshire to play Southern Premier side Gosport Borough in the FA Trophy.
Report by Richard Nelsen