A second consecutive away fixture as Town travelled to Slimbridge looking to bounce back from a frustrating result in tough conditions against Cinderford on Tuesday night.Melksham would also once again be without captain Greg Tindle as he was absent due to illness, with Matt Hurley taking the armband for the second time this week.
As spells of rain showered the pitch throughout the afternoon, chances were few and far between for both sides, however Town were able to create a few openings themselves through former Slimbridge forward Jay Malshanskyj. Melksham’s top scorer this season was able to work a couple of attempts at goal with one testing the ‘keeper and the other falling narrowly wide.
Unlike Tuesday night Matt Hall had a relatively quiet start to the game, and it wasn’t until the 40th minute until he was called to action; a powerfully struck Slimbridge freekick on the edge of the box looked destined for the top corner until the Town ‘keeper got up well to tip it over.
With neither side threatening too much in the first half and the game being goalless, both Melksham and Slimbridge felt as though the 3 points were there for the taking. However, I don’t think many in the ground would have predicted how one sided the game would be from there on.
After a quiet opening stage of the half Town were awarded a penalty for Handball in the 53rd minute, which Jake Mawforddespatched confidently to put his side in front and in control. Just 10 minutes later the pressure paid off, and Mawford was involved again as his crossed lobbed the ‘keeper and rebounded off the post with Town’s number 9 Jay Malshanskyj pouncing to score his 4th of the season.
Two goals in front and playing some superb football, Town were running riot. In the 74th minute some fantastic work from Vaughn Covil puts Albie Hopkins away down the left-handside and crossed into Jake Mawford who made no mistake in scoring his second of the afternoon. Soon after in the 80thminute, club hero Luke Ballinger scored his first goal on his return to the club with a cushioned header to put Town 4 goals in front.
As the game was drawing to a close and the 90-minute mark was approaching, Albie Hopkins – who had been superb all afternoon – slid in Jake Mawford to round off a magical second half display by scoring his hattrick and leaving Town as 5-0 winners. Another win on the road for Town this season who are away from home again on Tuesday night with a 19:45 kick off against Mangotsfield.
By Lewie Simmons