Match Report: Melksham Town vs Cirencester Town
Following Saturday’s impressive display and 3-1 victory away at Bristol Manor Farm, Melksham were full of confidence and in good spirits ahead of Cirencester Town’s visit on Tuesday night. The visitors, however, had made an unbeaten start in the Southern League and Town were yet to pick up a point at home, making it no easy challenge for Melksham.
Melksham Town, who were unchanged in their starting XI from the weekend, made a blistering start to the game, when only 2 minutes into the game Mawford put the home side in front. The goal came when Albie Hopkins picked up the ball down the left-hand side of the pitch and beat his marker to put the ball on a plate for Mawford at the back post who did the rest.
With Town one goal to the good the confidence levels were sky high, and the attacking display was a wonderful sight for the home crowd to enjoy. The Town faithful very nearly had a second goal to celebrate 5 minutes later, when Vaughn Covildid brilliantly to create space for a shot inside the box, and with the Cirencester ‘keeper scrambling across the goal the ball ended up just down the wrong side of the post.
Town’s belief on the ball was really causing Cirencester issues at the back as all three forwards were finding space at will, and Albie Hopkins looked to score a similar goal to the one he netted on the weekend, but his strike sailed over.
Although Town’s first half display was full of confidence and attacking desire, they went in at half time just the one goal to the good and would have been disappointed to not be further in front. This only highlights the quality of display in that first half, as Cirencester had been one of the best teams in the league so far this season.
Both sides came back out for the second half, and Melksham could expect a different test to the first half with Cirencester looking to try and protect their unbeaten start to the campaign. This meant seeing a lot less of the ball and needing to weather phases of pressure from the away side, who were looking to show some of the quality they possess. This was apparent early in the second half as Matt Hall was forced into making a good save low down to his left in the 46th minute.
In the 71st minute Cirencester were awarded a golden chance to equalise when the referee awarded the away side a penalty for a foul in the box on forward Joshua Grace-Parsons. Grace-Parsons himself stepped up, but Town ‘keeper Matt Hall was equal to his effort in the bottom right corner, getting down well to keep Melksham in the lead with less than 20 minutes to play.
Melksham were still hanging on to their one goal lead as the clocked ticked closer to the 90th minute after some committed defending by both Aaron Parsons and Greg Tindle who seemed to be getting in the way of everything, and Matt Hall was catching everything that entered his box. However, in the 85th minute a slight lapse in concentration at the back allowed Grace-Parsons to tap a loose ball in the box past Matt Hall to the jubilation of the travelling Cirencester support.
Following the equaliser there was to be no more goals in the thrilling encounter, with the score line ending 1-1 and Cirencester’s unbeaten start carries on. For Melksham however, it was the first points at home of the season and another very good performance to build on as a tough start to the season really put the squad to the test. Melksham also move up to 7th in the table, level on points with 6th placed Larkhall Athletic. With no games this weekend it’s another opportunity for the Town players to return to fitness as the games have been coming thick and fast.
By Lewie Simmons.