Match Report: Melksham Town vs AFC Bideford
After last week’s disappointing result away at Sholing, Town now had a chance to right their wrongs against a Bideford side who still have the threat of relegation looming over them in the final stages of the season. The visitors made the long journey to Oakfields looking to avenge the 2-1 defeat in Bideford back in December, where Town scored late on to take the 3 points.
With the wind behind them Town looked to impose themselves from the off, and they created a good early chance with Jay Malshanskyj showing lovely skill to round the ‘keeper, before his effort was cleared off the line.
However, Melksham’s next best opportunities didn’t arise until later in the half; Kyle Tooze and Luke Ballinger both going close from good positions. Town also had some defending to do themselves, debutant Jaiden Pearce made a great tackle to intervene in a dangerous Bideford attack as they were through on goal.
The half, despite seeing action at both ends, ultimately ended goalless. However, this ground has seen plenty of goals so far this season and anything could happen in the football that was left to be played.
The second half started as cagey as the first, but that was soon ended when Albie Hopkins was brought down in the box and the referee awarding a penalty for Town. After a relatively lengthy delay between the foul and the spot kick, Luke Ballinger made no mistake in giving his side the lead 15 minutes into the second half.
The goal certainly opened the game up, as Bideford committed bodies forward they started to create chances of their own, and after missing a couple of good opportunities they found an equaliser. Javan Wright scored with a well hit effort from distance to get back on level terms with 15 minutes left to play.
To the jubilation of the home crowd, Town hit back within just a few minutes to retake the lead; Albie Hopkins on his weaker right foot absolutely smashed his effort into the top corner and swing the game back into Town’s direction. With the clock running down Bideford continued to search for a late goal, and when freekick floated into the box caused chaos George Nance got the final touch to scramble the ball over the line and rescue a point for the visitors.
A disappointing end for Town who thought they had the 3 points wrapped up, but there is a chance to go again on Saturday - as Fey’s side face Sholing again, this time at Oakfield’s with the Town faithful behind them.
By Lewie Simmons.