Cameron Pickering Melksham keeper and captain the busiest player on the pitch for large parts of the game. Photo courtesy of Simon Lawrence @simtra29

The Whites visited Melksham only 2 points ahead of their hosts in the table, but like with all teams in the league games in hand still. By the end of this game it wasn’t just 5 points difference there was a gulf of difference between the two sides.

The Whites welcomed a number of players back to the squad whom have hardly played any football this season so far. Add Devon Arnold back in Dev action tonight and the front four of Arnold, Waterson, Tulk and Butt have enough pace about them to scare the living daylights out of far higher sides in the pyramid.

The visitors dominated possession in the first half with probably 65% of the ball, and no shortage of attempts on the home goal, but the Town stopper Cameron Pickering was resilient and threw himself in front of everything coming his direction. Unbelievably it took until the 44th minute before right back Owen Taylor crossed from the right and it was forced home by left back Reece McSorley to make it 1-0 at HT.

Second half started just like the 1st period ended, and it took just 4 minutes for Layton Tulk to make it 2-0, it quickly became 4 nil with a quick fire Devon Arnold brace. At this point in proceedings the Whites where now playing utterly dominating football, winning the ball back almost instantly and keeping it for themselves, but one major difference to the first half was balls where now getting played forward faster and into the channels for the front 4 speedsters to get on to and around the back of the Town defence.

Layton Tulk playing off the left wing is finally showing signs of returning to the form, fitness and speed that saw him bag plenty of goals of the left side last season. 2 further goals from him completed his hat trick on the night and the scoring on the night from a whites perspective.

In the last 25 minutes Whites were able to rest Aiden Savage by introducing Rob Jones back into the fray for only his second appearance this term. The 17 year old picked up where he left off, sitting in alongside Alfie Hawke and dominating the middle third of the pitch.

Centre back Lewis Tosdevine also left the field after his 2nd appearance of the season to be replaced by Tom Feest. And finally Sam Butt departed after just his 2nd game this term to be replaced by another making only his second appearance for the Whites in Emmanuel Abrokwa, a former Chippenham town U23 player.

Managers comments: At last we have been able to select from almost all our squad, that’s the first time this season. When we can do that and put out a side which is fit and not playing with minor knocks or lack of fitness, we have the potential as Melksham witnessed this evening to be a very very good side with too much attacking threat not to trouble the top teams in this league. Fair play to Melksham tonight they never gave up and challenged us to raise our game but in the end the fitness and pace of our lads was to much to handle. It wasn’t just the running speed but how quickly the ball was moved around the pitch that wears teams down over the course of 90 minutes and time and time again this season we get stronger as the game goes on. Tonight I think Melksham where just unlucky to be the side that faced us when we have near all players available.

The Whites now travel to Stratton Juniors on Saturday in fine form and full of confidence with 3rd still a possibility in the league once our games in hand have been caught up.

Mark Winter
September 30, 2021