Sholing 5-0 Melksham Town

Scorers : Ryan Cluett 44, Dan Mason 46, Stu Green 59, Byron Mason 65, Conor Whiteley 88

Date: Saturday 26th February 2022, 3pm – Southern League South Division 1

Venue:  Mackoy Stadium

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Ryan Cluett, Marv McLean, Josh Batt, Dan Miller, Rob Nicholls, Sami Makhloufi (Conor Whiteley 74), Byron Mason © (Jack Mann 75), Dan Mason, Stu Green, Brad Targett (Jake Cope 78)  Unused subs : Leo Taylor & Luke Deacon

Yellow Card:  Byron Mason

Melskham Town: Matt Hall, Sayeed Ibrahim (Dan McBeam 67), Will Christopher, Oliver Webb (Matt Hurley 67), Aaron Parsons, Aidan Chainey ©, Ralph Graham, Vaughan Covil, Jay Malshanskyj, Sam Hendy, Albert Hopkins.  Unused subs : Luke Ballinger & Zak Beard

Yellow Card : Ralph Graham, Sam Hendy & Albert Hopkins

Referee:  Tim Godfray   Assistants: David Morey & Stephen Jansen

Attendance: 194

Man of the Match : Byron Mason

Boatmen secured our biggest scoreline of the season as two goals either side of half time changed the complexion of the game.  A switch in formation for the second half saw a rejuvenated Sholing score 4 goals to claim a much needed win.

Team News :  Owen Roundell picked up a knock in the warm up, so Josh Batt came into the starting line up to join Byron & Miller in a back three.  Ryan Cluett returned to the starting line-up and along with Marv on the other flank, pushed further up the pitch.  17 year old striker, Leo Taylor, was promoted to the first team subs bench for the first time.

It was a bright sunny day at the Mackoy Stadium and it's always nice to have the first game where floodlights aren't required as we head into lighter evenings.  Melksham started on the front foot and probably should have taken the lead after only 2 mins when Graham picked out Covil unmarked at the far post, but his effort was straight at Gos from less than 10 yards out. 

Sholing had a couple of chances within quick succession around the 10 min mark. Firstly, Brad Targett was put in behind down the right channel, but he dragged his shot across the goal and wide.  Then an underhit backpass was seized upon by Dan Mason, who tried a first time shot that the keeper got something on as it went under him and he was able to recover to claim before Dan could get to the loose ball.

Boatmen were struggling to keep possession and put themselves in trouble when a wayward pass across the backline saw Melksham presented with a chance that Malshanskyj flashed across goal.   Ryan Cluett put over a lovely cross into the 6 yard box that saw no Sholing player react to. His corner delivery was also on the money and a Melksham defender had to head away from the line as the game seemed set for a stalemate at half time. 

However, that wasn't to be the case as Sholing took the lead with a goal that will win no prizes for its beauty, but one that in the context of our recent run, was hugely needed.  RYAN CLUETT took a freekick wide out the left wing and his low effort into the box evaded everyone, took an odd bounce and found it's way into the net, for his first goal for the club.    HT 1-0

Dave Diaper changed the formation for the second half, going to 4 at the back and pushing Byron Mason into midfield and it made an instant impact.  Byron flicked the ball on for DAN MASON to control well and drill a low shot from a tight angle past the keeper at his near post.   With the cushion of a two goal lead and a more familiar formation, Sholing looked a different side and were to go on to create a hatful of chances and convert three of them.

Byron & Dan combined to set up Brad Targett on 53 mins, but with the whole goal to aim at, he pulled his left foot shot wide.  On 60 minutes, a lovely move ended with us getting our third goal.  Sami Makhloufi threaded a perfect ball through the back line for Marv to sprint onto and he squared the ball into the middle where STU GREEN flicked the ball into the far corner.   Greener then forced the keeper into a good save as he tipped the shot round the post.

Boatmen's 4th goal arrived on 65 mins when Dan Mason found Brad Targett to speed down the left and crossed into the box where the skipper BYRON MASON swept the ball in off the far post for his 101st goal for the club.   With the game won, Diapes was able to bring off Byron, Sami & Brad and give some game time to Jack Mann, Jake Cope & Conor Whiteley.   Melskham had a spell of pressure and Ryan Gosney had to be at his best to react to a close range shot and deflect it round the post.   Conor & D-Dan both had a poke at a loose ball bouncing around the Melksham area, but neither could get the contact to force it in.  CONOR WHITELEY then put a shot over the bar, but on 88 mins he got his goal when Dan Mason did well to keep the ball alive and pass into Conor, who's low shot from just inside the area took a deflection past the keeper.

Scoreline is probably harsh on Melskham, but we've had a few games this season where our dominance wasn't rewarded, so we will happily take the 5 goals, 3 points and a clean sheet to boost confidence ahead of 7 games in March.  FT 5-0

A little historical footnote to the game, the win saw us reach 3,000 points gained as a club since our first full season in 1961/62

Next Game : Slimbridge v Sholing - Southern League - Wednesday 2 March 7:45pm
Next Home Game : Sholing v Plymouth Parkway - Southern League - Saturday 5 March 3pm

Photos courtesy of EspieJaz (swipe to view pics)