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FA Vase: Hartley 1 Melksham Town 2

Post by KOB - 16-11-2016, 10:02

Tuesday 15th November - Report by David Graham

Hartley Wintney bowed out of the FA Vase at first time of asking; losing out to Melksham Town. The Wiltshire club dominated most of the match and deservedly moved into the next round.

Hartley started brightly and took the lead on 11 minutes. A move down the left saw a pass to Sam Argent who quickly set up Dean Stow on the right. The winger took aim and fired an accurate shot just inside the post from 20 yards. (1-0)

Melksham responded strongly and gained control of midfield. On 16 minutes they should have equalised. A long free kick on the right from Luke Ballinger found Gary Higdon free well inside the penalty box. However the striker screwed his shot badly wide when well positioned. Two minutes later Higdon was again out of luck when he got his head onto a left wing cross from Ben Thomson but the effort went just wide.

Melksham continued to call the shots and on 24 minutes a good cross from Higdon found Sam Jordan who narrowly missed the target. Six minutes later, with the visitors well on top, Mike Perrott tried his luck from 25 yards and saw the shot go narrowly over.

The Row came into the game and almost doubled their lead on 33 minutes. A slick move involving Ross Cook and Sam Argent set up Dean Stow. His effort from the edge of the box looked goal bound and only an excellent stop from goalie Rob Brown diving to his left kept the ball out.

On 40 minutes Melksham drew level. A long free kick found Mike Perrott free in the penalty box. The midfielder created space for himself and fired high into the net from 12 yards. (1-1)

HALF TIME: Hartley Wintney 1 Melksham Town 1

The visitors continued where they left off in the first half and on 50 minutes almost took the lead. Good play down the left saw a cross delivered to Gary Higdon, whose powerful header was pushed over the crossbar by Jake Maddock.

Hartley responded and four minutes later Steven Duff had a good effort from the left which went narrowly past the far post. On 59 minutes the Row were bang out of luck. Ross Cook, seeing goalie Rob Brown off his line tried, a lob from 30 yards. The ball looked goalbound but hit the inside of the post and Brown was fortunate that the ball did not rebound off him into the net.

Hartley continued to have problems dealing with free kicks and on 63 minutes a long delivery from Luke Ballinger saw Ben Thomson fire narrowly past the post.

Hartley applied some pressure from set pieces but were undone when a long clearance by Melksham saw a race between Tom Walsh and Sam Jordan. Jordan got the edge and ran on to fire low past the outrushing Jake Maddock. (1-2).

Five minutes later Ross Cook fashioned a chance on the edge of the box but his shot saw Rob Brown well positioned to save.

The visitors almost extended their lead on 76 minutes when a long cross from Luke Ballinger saw Mike Perrott head just wide.

Melksham held on comfortably to progress, leaving the Row to concentrate on the league [D Graham]

  • Mick

    16-11-2016, 12:51

    Excellent report. Melksham reminded me of when Camberley Town were at their best. They played to their strengths most of which was aerial and effective. Some of our squad looked a little heavy legged last night IMO, and that probably cost us.
    I am confident that the coaching staff will be on the case already, and it is our job as supporters to back what is an excellent squad doing the Club proud. :-)
    • KOB

      16-11-2016, 16:22

      Good words Mick, and I agree completely. They kept our celebrated duo upfront pretty quiet by working very hard, once they got themselves into the game. We started very well but failed to match their workrate after that. We missed a player like Evo last night, just to get in amongst them. Their winner, from our point of view, was... well, coming, for a start. They showed first half what a threat they were on the counter. We may have had the aerial strength at the back we needed, but not the pace, and so should never have left Tom without cover. Credit Melksham, they played to their strength and game plan very well, and the luck wasn't on our side with Ross's effort against the post, but we can't rely on a bit of brilliance from Ross or Sam each time we're in the mire. Wasn't enough attacking support from midfield, though to be fair I have a feeling Dean was carrying an injury from early on, and his goal was a lovely strike. Onwards, I suppose, live and learn.

      Just to add our very best wishes to Ross, I'm sure from all the club's regular supporters. Your 'Hartley family' will be watching and cheering your progress mate.
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