United We Stand, Devizes We Fall
Welton push right to the end, but ultimately fall to defeat
Welton suffered a first midweek defeat of the season but there were plenty of positives as they put in a sterling effort under difficult circumstances.
The match started at full throttle and Devizes could have taken the lead after just a minute, but after rounding Drewitt in the Welton goal, their centre forward could only slot the ball wide with his effort. Welton took heed of this warning immediately, and were 1-0 ahead just 30 seconds later. From the resultant goal kick Francois Allen got in possession on the left wing and raced past a trio of Devizes defenders. They thought the ball was going to run out of play but Allen had other ideas and cut the ball back for Lewis COLEMAN to slam in the opening goal.
Welton’s lead didn't last long however, and by half-time Devizes lead by two goals thanks to two near identical far post headers from right-wing corners coming either side of a penalty.
Throughout the half Welton pressure and were much the better team, but constantly found their flow broken up by persistent fouling from Devizes Town. Coleman bore the brunt of the bully-boy tactics as players from the home side took it in turns to fly in with late challenges very time he was on the ball.
The second half brought much of the same with constant fouls and stoppages breaking up Welton's flow. That’s not to say Devizes’ performance was without merit, they defended resolutely and counter-attacked at speed, and indeed should have gone 4-1 up earlier than they did when they missed an open goal from barely a yard out. Their fourth did come when Jake Roberts completed a hat-trick in style driving in a low shot from upwards of 20 yards.
Welton huffed and puffed but ultimately didn’t start scoring again until too late. A free-kick into the box was half-cleared by Devizes in the 83rd minute but Chris Pile's delicate chipped cross was headed back across goal by Smith for Alex CHAPMAN to stoop and head in from point blank. On 90 minutes Devizes’ fouling finally saw them reduced to 10 men when Hopper got a yellow card, and a couple of minutes later Mike Jones was fouled allowing Malick JAMMEH to bring the margin down to one goal with the resultant penalty.
Devizes breathed a sigh of relief with the full-time whistle, and Rovers manager Clive Scott summed things up well, stating “had there been five more minutes we’d have completed the recovery as they were rocking as we were pushing”