The fourth instillation of Town’s packed preseason saw yet another football league outfit grace the carpet at the InfiLED. Forest Green Rovers travelled with their first team squad and fielded two very strong sides for each half, who were worked hard by a restless Melksham side off the back of Friday night’s 0-0 draw with Swindon.
It was Rovers who were on the front foot from the off, with striker Jamille Matt rattling the bar with a header when he looked destined to nod home. Town reacted well to the early scare, making life difficult for Rovers to create anything worthwhile, until a corner in the 16th minute was volleyed by Baily Cargill beyond Town ‘keeper Connor Johns to open the scoring.
Again, Town reacted well to the setback forcing Rovers to try and play around them as Melksham made the midfield a real battle for possession, keeping chances to a premium for Rovers. Eventually the Rovers pressure paid off, as Vaughn Covil was brought down in the Melksham area, striker JamilleMatt finished the spot-kick in the 38th minute.
The referee blew for half-time, and a tireless first-half performance from Town meant that this very strong Forest Green side had to work hard for their goals. However, what was already an uphill task for Town was made even harder by the fresh legs introduced at half-time by Rovers, with a new but equally strong XI on the field.
Six minutes into the second half until Rovers added their third through Taylor Allen, hoping to deplete this hard-working Melksham side, but the response from Town was once again inspiring as every player continued to battle away and not be deterred by the quality they faced. ‘Keeper Connor Johns made a superb save before Jake Mawford put his body on the line twice in a matter of seconds to block two goal-bound strikes right under his own crossbar.
Eventually, the fitness levels began to show as the fresh Rovers XI began to stretch the Town defence, with striker Matthew Stevens scoring twice in 10 minutes, one from the spot and another finishing off a well worked move, before Jake Young scored with the last kick of the game to end the preseason encounter 6-0 to Forest Green Rovers.
Despite the score line, the work rate and effort shown by the Melksham players, highlighted by Jack Ball hunting everything down with determination and focus right up until the full-time whistle sounded, it was another pleasing, positive preseason performance from Richard Fey’s lads, and certainly nothing to be disheartened about.
Next up for Town is Brislington FC away on Friday 16th July, 7:45 kick off.
Match report by Lewie Simmons.
Photo by Forest Green Rovers