Melksham Town 3 v 1 Basingstoke Town
Melksham Town made it six points in three days as they took the spoils against Basingstoke Town after a really impressive win on Saturday at The Creek against Bristol Manor Farm where Joe Romanski’s well taken goal had split the teams.
Basingstoke had made a series of changes from their team on Saturday with Brad Wilson jetting off to Australia and former Hartley Wintney midfielder Aaron Parfitt joining Dan Brownlie’s side.
The visitors in their navy blue away kit looked up for the match from the start playing with high intensity and tempo. This was matched by Melksham who were keen to get the ball moving and use the slick playing surface to their advantage.
Basingstoke nearly took the lead after six minutes when the recently returned George Hallahan had a speculative long range shot from the right and saw the ball clip off the crossbar and away to safety.
Melksham began to play with more authority as the half went on and Jack Ball flashed a shot wide midway through the half with Watkins the Basingstoke keeper beaten.
Basingstoke then hit the jackpot on the counter attack. Phil Ormrod looked to have been fouled on the edge of the penalty area when Melksham had been attacking. Despite this play continued with the experienced and impressive former Salisbury man Claudio Herbert breaking down the right flank and darting into the penalty box. His shot brought a parried save from Jamie Bartlett which in turn fell to Simon Dunn who hit the bar from close range, the ball bounced back into the area and Basingstoke captain Dean Stow was at hand to finish the move off. Basingstoke had taken the lead and celebrated with their fans.
Melksham showed a steely determination to get back on level terms and three minutes later in the 36th minute it was all square. A free kick on the right hand side was hacked away and the ball bounced out of the area high into the air. Matt Hurley rose highest and headed the ball back towards the Basingstoke goal. The ball was helped on its way towards Jack Ball who turned and smashed the ball past Watkins.
Before the end of the half both Phil Ormrod and Albie Hopkins had chances for the home side but it was Basingstoke who had the final chance of the half with the lively George Hallahan breaking clear before skewing his shot wide of the Melksham net.
The second half began with the same tempo and both teams remained unchanged. Basingstoke were first to have a sight at goal with Adam Everiss playing a clever pass to Cook who had his effort excellently saved by Jamie Bartlett as he tried to beat him.
Melksham then threatened from a corner kick with Basingstoke hacking the ball off the line and away to safety. The home side were beginning to have more of the ball with Jake Mawford and Albie Hopkins shining.
The next goal was soon to come and it went to the home side just after an hours play. A promising break on the right side brought a save from Watkins before he ball was crossed to the back post where Josh Ford headed towards goal. It was a packed goal area and the ball fell to Jack Ball who again showed his finishing prowess by nudging the ball over the line.
Melksham had the lead and less than ten minutes later the goal of the game gave them a 3-1 advantage. Superb work on the right allowed the ball to be squared for Phil Ormrod to tuck the ball home.
Basingstoke showed heart until the end of the game and had a couple of late chances to reduce the deficit. They were met by a solid back line who remained committed to defending and giving Melksham another welcome three points.
Basingstoke played well above their current league position and if they continue to do so they should begin to pick up more points as the season draws to an end and drag themselves clear of any relegation worries.
They will also hopefully have good news soon regarding where their home will be next year, hopefully back in Basingstoke.
Melksham meanwhile continue their season with a trip to Southampton on Saturday 29th February when they take on Sholing.
Sholing are a team in good form and will prove a stern test, the game will have a 3pm kick off and hopefully the weather will allow the game to take place.