Paulton Rovers 0
Melksham Town 1
Pitching In Southern League Division One South
A third minute goal by Melksham’s Alex Henshall was enough to take all three points for the visitors at Winterfield Road.
The early season cheer was quickly wiped away when Rovers’ defence were caught napping; a pass from Melksham’s Dion Molyneux split the Rovers’ backline feeding Henshall on the left hand side of the box who tucked the ball away past Sam Jepson.
It was a shock to both the Rovers’ players and the watching supporters and it took some while for the team to recompose and get themselves back into the game. It was the thirteenth minute before Rovers had their first meaningful chance when Fin Haines put Kye Simpson through on goal but his shot was direct at Joel Manning in Melksham’s goal.
Much of the rest of the first half was scrappy with neither team able to carve out decent chances. Martin Lenihan and Joe Morgan had further attempts for the hosts that didn’t trouble the Melksham keeper and Ralph Graham and Albert Hopkins put chances wide for Melksham.
The closing minutes of the first half saw the best chance for either team when Rovers’ Sam Jepson had to make an outstanding save to stop a rasping Melksham drive that came from just inside the box.
The second half saw both teams trying to be a little more expressive in their play but, as with the first half, neither could create the killer chances to change the scoreline. In the fifty fourth minute, some neat passing play around the visitors box opened up a chance for Toby Stephens but his shot looped up and was comfortable for the keeper.
Minutes later, a long range pass from Nick Hewlett found Joe Morgan lurking near the edge of the box. He took it down neatly and charged towards the goal but, just as he pulled the trigger, a Melksham defender stuck out a leg to deflect the ball away.
Soon after, both Martin Lenihan and Braeden Symes were replaced by Leo Eglin and the experienced David O’Hare. Some of the momentum started to swing towards Paulton as they searched for the equaliser.
Several corners were forced and Toby Stephens, Fin Hains and Dan Restorick all had late chances but, although the supporters willed them on, that final unmissable chance wouldn’t fall to a Rovers player.