Melksham 1 Winchester 4
Winchester's 4-1 win at Melksham moved them back into the playoff positions, although these notes were written before the Saturday fixtures. However the club's injury list was added to with three players going off injured during the game including two of the substitutes used.
Melksham whose hopes of a playoff place have just been ended although they remain in the top half of the table are comfortably the best supported club in the division and attracted a crowd of 470 for this fixture despite having a lost a lot of players recently as a result of the manager leaving with half their team against Winchester being teenagers and Luke Ballinger son of the caretaker manager being the only player to feature in both games between the clubs. However they recently beat Fleet 3-0 and have an excellent clubhouse which no doubt helps their crowds to remain good.
Winchester made two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with Rob Carr coming in for I K Hill and Craig Davis replacing the injured Rob Flooks, and Winchester also had other players such as Jake Rawkins and George Williams who were unable to feature.
Winchester however made a dream start when in the opening minute of the game a cross from Simba Mlambo was deflected past his own goalkeeper by a home defender with Rob Carr in close pursuit. Carr was always a danger on the right flank and he put in a cross that no-one was able to get on the end of.
Winchester however scored their second in the 12th minute when Jamie Barron for whom there were fitness doubts before the game produced a corner that was headed home by Oli Bailey. Winchester looked like scoring again and it was no surprise when Carr set up Mlambo to score their third and at that time it looked as though it could be a rout, but three minutes later the home side scored through their own Dan King when a corner was not cleared.
The remainder of the half was goalless although Joe Hayward went off injured and was replaced by Mark Fawley who showed promise when he was on the field, but soon afterwards had to go off injured and to be replaced by I K Hill.
Melksham's young side started the second half brightly with Luke Ballinger and Gary Higdon going close and Jack Baker put in a couple of crosses that forced corners, while Ryan Pryce was also forced into action, but in the 61st minute Oli Bailey made the game effectively safe when he saw the goalkeeper off his line and scoring with a well executed lob.
Winchester though were forced into a third substitution when I K Hill who himself had substituted for a substitute went off injured and was replaced by Tyrell Mitford. Tyrell played in an unfamiliar flank role with Simba Mlambo who has played in virtually every position under manager Craig Davis reverted to right back. Mitford had a powerful shot just off target and Bailey had an excellent chance to score his hat-trick but was denied by the goalkeeper on a one on one. However it was an important win for Winchester in nice Wilshire weather, although there were unwelcome additions to the injury list.
Winchester are at home to Blackfield and Langley on Easter Monday and away to Cinderford on Saturday.