Bradford Town were handed just their second league defeat of the season, going down 3-1 at home to Melksham Town. The visitors had much the better of the first-half, and led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Chris Allen and Luke Ballinger. Soon after the interval, Warren Maidment put the result beyond doubt when he added Melksham’s third of the afternoon, before substitute Matt Morris secured a late consolation for Bradford. Odd Down managed to claim a 2-2 draw away at Clevedon Town, with goals from Asa White and Kye Simpson helping them to gain a point after Lucas Vowles had scored twice for the hosts during the first half. In their first away game in over a month, second half goals from Tim Legg and Paolo Borges saw Wellington triumph 2-1 over Bridgwater Town, for whom Jake Llewellyn scored in stoppage time. Cribbs and Hallen were also forced to share the points, after Ben Dowdell’s equaliser cancelled out Oli Morris’ opener during the sides’ 1-1 draw at The Lawns. Bitton claimed their first victory in the month of December, with a brace from Reeko Best, plus goals from Harvey Baker, Tom Knighton and Corey Kelly helping them defeat bottom-side Longwell Green Sports 5-1.
Westbury United moved to within a point of top spot following a 3-1 win away at Warminster Town. In a local derby, played in front of the biggest First Division crowd of the season to date, Ricky Hulbert gave the visitors a dream start when he headed home a Jamie Jordan cross just three minutes in. Westbury doubled their advantage in the 34th minute through Dan Kovacs, before Warminster gained a lifeline in the fixture with their captain Charlie Walton scoring from 25 yards out midway through the second half. Eight minutes later, Westbury regained their two-goal lead when Dan Price scored with a header, and then late on the hosts had player-manager sent off following a sliding tackle to compound their disappointing afternoon. In the highly-anticipated clash at the Southfields Rec, a pair of goals from Morgan Skipp, either side of a Matt Minnis strike, led Radstock Town to a 3-0 victory at home to Welton Rovers. There was also a 3-0 win for Calne Town, with goals from Matt Hudson, Billy Gleed and Stuart Windsor helping them see off Chippenham Park away from home. A first-half header from Matt Russell gave Devizes Town a 1-0 victory away at Corsham Town, while the fixture between Sherborne Town and Wincanton Town at Raleigh Grove ended goalless.
Saturday 30th December
Luke Bryan struck twice in the final five minutes, as Bitton came from two goals down to claim a dramatic 3-3 draw with Bradford Town. Having fallen behind to Corey Kelly’s opener, Bradford turned the game around following goals either side of the break from Will Haliston and Rickie Scott. Top scorer Sam Jordan then gave the visitors a two-goal lead, which was halved by Bryan six minutes from time, before the same man scored a last-gasp stoppage-time equaliser. Bridgwater Town survived a fifth minute red card to defender David Thorne, defeating Shepton Mallet 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Syd Camper. Bridport will head into 2018 on the back of a well-earned three points, after goals from Mark Salter and Richard Hebditch helped them to claim a 2-0 win away at Wellington. A goal in the opening stages of the second half from defender Alex Cumming saw Chipping Sodbury Town claim a surprise 1-0 win away against Melksham Town for whom Jake Brown hit the post in the early stages. At the Lawns, Brislington came from behind to defeat Cribbs 2-1. The home side hit the front in the 15th minute through Jake Slocombe, with Neikell Plummer claiming an equaliser midway through the second half before Louis Britton completed the turnaround nine minutes from time.
On Friday evening, Keynsham Town made it six league wins on the bounce tanks to a 5-2 triumph at home to Bishop Sutton. After the division’s top scorer, Matt Brown, put them ahead in the 20th minute, Keynsham were clawed back by a goal just before the break from their visitors. It took Keynsham 20 minutes to go ahead during the second half, with Kyle Box tapping home, and then ten minutes later they extended their lead to two when Matt Curnock got on the end of a fine cross from Brown. Adey Harvey and the prolific Brown added further late goals to complete the victory, before Sutton added a stoppage-time consolation strike from long range. Second-place Westbury United kept up the pressure the following day, with a second-half hat-trick from Dan Kovacs following on from Josh Ferguson’s 12th minute opener during their 4-0 victory at home to Bishops Lydeard. There was also a hat-trick for Chippenham Park’s Ben Pring, with his three goals plus strikes from Lewis McCarron and Garry Lock helping the home side to a 5-1 triumph over Wincanton Town. At Oaklands Park, Ken Oni, Rhys Hodgson, Jordan Yeo and Lewis Wentland all got on the scoresheet during Roman Glass St George’s 4-2 win at home to Cheddar, with Callum Ham and Dan Griffiths scoring for the visitors. Chard Town scored four goals for the third consecutive time at home, scoring twice in either half to defeat Malmesbury Victoria 4-1 at the Dening Sports Field. The hosts found themselves 2-1 up at the break thanks to goals from Max Westlake and Taoufik Ben-Salem, with James Boyland adding a third soon after the interval before Ben-Salem scored his second of the contest in the closing stages. A 40th minute penalty from skipper Leigh Rogers, plus a goal midway through the second half from Tony McElhone saw Corsham Town claim a 2-0 win away at Ashton & Backwell United. At Nursteed Road, Cullen Wylie hit a late equaliser to help Devizes Town claim a 1-1 draw with Almondsbury who had earlier led through Ben Chick.