Melksham Town 3 – Cirencester Town 2
The two form sides in the Division met at Melksham in what was a competitive and exciting game. Nearly five hundred supporters packed into the ground and were rewarded with some excellent attacking football.
The game was only 3 minutes old when Josh Ford played the ball down the left channel for Phil Ormrod to run onto. Ormrod beat his man for pace before delivering a looping cross which beat the scrambling defence. Luke Ballinger arrived with impeccable timing to head the ball into the roof of the net.
Cirencester looked to get back into the game and were presented with the ideal opportunity shortly after, but the striker narrowly missed when through with only the keeper to beat.
Melksham threatened next with Ballinger picking out Josh Ford with a well delivered free kick, Ford’s commanding header sailed narrowly over the bar.
Cirencester drew level just before the twenty-minute mark when a diagonal ball bypassed the Melksham defence before being sent back across the face of goal by Toumani Sidibe. This made its way to the far post where John Dennis applied the finishing touch.
Cirencester then had several chances to take the lead but were unable to convert them.
On the half hour mark Melksham edged back in front when Ford delivered a clever free kick into the area. Phil Ormrod controlled superbly, and the ball was eventually worked to the edge of the area. Jake Mawford arrived and volleyed home into the corner beyond the diving Lewis Clayton. It was a superb finish through a crowded penalty box.
The away side were soon back in the game when John Dennis cut in from the and unleashed a thunderous strike from the edge of the box which seemed to deflect past Jamie Bartlett and draw Ciren level.
Matt Hurley then drew a fine save from Clayton for the home side, after his powerful drive from around 25 yards out was tipped over. It was unfortunate for Hurley who had seen an equally fierce shot smash against the bar when playing Paulton Rovers on New Years Day.
Dennis nearly bagged a first half hat trick just before the break as his shot went into the side netting of the Melksham goal.
The second half started all square and both teams traded blows as the darkness descended. Jamie Bartlett was forced into a dramatic fingertip save to divert the ball from the top corner after a Levi Irving looping header.
Both teams were clearly not happy to settle for a point and in the 63rd minute the impressive Phil Ormrod got the goal his performance deserved. As Melksham pressed forward the ball was crossed into the six-yard box from the right.
It broke to Ormrod who controlled it before smashing it beyond Clayton into the roof of the net, despite the presence of several Cirencester defenders around him. It was a fine finish and well deserved for the running and work the Melksham striker had put in during the game.
Cirencester still had time to launch a number of late attacks but the home defence remained focussed with Bartlett plucking crosses out of the air, and Joe Romanski making a superb defensive header as time ebbed away.
It was another solid performance from the home team with everyone playing a part in an impressive win against an established Southern League Team.
Melksham now face a trip to Slimbridge next Saturday when they will be looking to extend the winning run to 7 games.
It is testament to the management team of Rich Fey and Nathan Rudge that the club are the form team in the League and are playing with skill and confidence.