Warminster Town 3 - Calne Town 1
On one of those rare lovely warm and sunny days in February, Warminster Town welcomed Calne Town to Weymouth Street. High flying Calne lying in third place in the table and chasing promotion this game billed as a tough challenge for the 'Red & Blacks'. The game indeed was full of twists and turns, and Warminster showed true grit to come out as the 3 - 1 winning team. Here's how the game unfolded.
In the first half, Calne showed why they were towards the top of the table, passing the ball well and creating chances. Just inside the tenth minute, Calne struck first with a goal by Rory Worthington made easy by poor defending by the home side. Both sides threatened, and Warminster forced many corners in the first half-hour and produced some shots but were unable to capitalise on them. The game was not helped by the referee who made some strange decisions regarding what counted as a foul causing frustration amongst the players and supporters.
As both teams were battling for supremacy, Warminster scored the equaliser in the 40th minute, when Calne's keeper Martin Mitchell's save from Martin Johnson's free-kick was pushed into the path of Conner McKay who headed the ball home. The second-half ended 1 -1.
Ten Men Beat Eleven
More controversy came early in the second half and still inside in the first minute when Warminster's captain Charlie Walton was accused of stamping on a Calne player while winning the ball. It was a straight red card for Walton much to the bewilderment of all onlookers. How would the ten-man home side now fare with nearly all of the half remaining? The players responded well and reorganised to keep Calne away from goal as much as possible while looking for opportunities to attack and exploit any gaps in the visitors' defence. To help with the battle, manager Andy Crabtree substituted Martin Johnson for Eban Mortimer-Taylor 8 minutes into this half.
A few minutes after the substitution in the 56th minute, Jack Miluk made good work down the left and from the edge of the penalty area crossed with a looping ball along the edge of the 6-yard line and the ball was met by George Butler flying in at the far side leaving the keeper with no chance of getting there.
Five minutes later (61) Connor McKay worked hard on the right-hand side and almost reaching the touchline crossed into the box to find Jack Miluk waiting in the centre of goal on the edge of the 6-yard box to beat his marker and strike the ball home with his right foot. Calne Town were clearly not enjoying this experience and there was a fair amount of dissent towards the referee who clearly was not controlling the players and allowing this to happen.
Warminster went close again in the 64th minute when a superb free kick by Mortimer-Taylor floated into the box, met by Butler and cleared off the line by the keeper.
Calne did create some chances, and Nathan Ball called into action. Calne missed a great opportunity (70) after a rebound from Ball's save at the near post was tapped straight back to him by a Calne player instead of into a fairly open goal! Warminster countered a few minutes later when Miluk made a great run from halfway, squared the ball to McKay a yard outside of the centre of the penalty area. With the keeper rushing out he shot to avoid him, and the ball went agonisingly wide of the right-hand post.
MIluk proved a threat for the rest of this half as the outlet for Warminster to find him and still look to exploit Calne as they pushed to get back in the game. Calne did go close hitting the crossbar after being tipped onto it by Ball's save with 12 minutes left on the clock. Calne's hearts were also in their mouths when their keeper came out of his box to close to the halfway to lob the ball to Warminster's penalty area. The ball was cleared by Alex Churchyard, and it went all the way towards Calne's goal and finished going past the left post by a couple of yards with the keeper having no chance of getting back.
Warminster cleverly ran the clock down in the final minutes keeping the ball and frustrating the visitors' from any chance of getting any points from this game. It was another excellent performance from a team whose confidence is growing and now capable of beating any team on the day in this league.
The league leaders, Cheddar F.C. are next on Saturday, March 2nd at Weymouth Street. Kickoff 3.00pm.
Team: Ball, Baggs, Barnes, Graham, De-Silva, Churchyard, Miluk, Walton(c), Johnson, McKay, Butler subs: Herd, Mortimer-Taylor, McEntee
Photos: Scott Drysdale