After deliberately taking the entire summer off from football, I was more than ready to get back out to watch a live game. So, what better than a summer evening in Wiltshire to watch my first game of the new season? Well, the weather for a start but that's a different discussion.
My destination was Oakfields Stadium, home of Western premier side Melksham Town. I say home, they only moved in last season after a prolonged exit from their old ground, The Conigre which I, unfortunately never managed to visit.
The new stadium is part of a purpose built complex that houses both Melksham football and rugby clubs. There are numerous pitches across what appeared to be a very large complex. As I have mentioned numerous times before, I am not normally a big fan of these new purpose-built stadia. I completely understand the need for them but I generally find them a bit soulless. Having said all of that, I like Oakfields and i can;'t quite put my finger on why I like it. Maybe my views on new stadia are softening or maybe the designers/builders are putting a little extra into them? Whatever the reason, Oakfields has a good feel about it. The feel of a proper football stadium.
The home side began the brighter of the two, popping the ball around nicely on the slick surface, although neither team made a clear cut opening in the first 15 minutes.
Heath were far more reliant upon the longer ball, whereas Town seemed much happier playing short passes and keeping the ball on the deck.
The game really came to life in the 24th minute when Chippenham Town loanee, Chris Allen, produced an absolutely delightful, defence-splitting, through ball for Jake Brown to run onto. The winger got to the ball first but was then felled in the box giving the referee no option other than to point to the spot.
Captain Gary Higdon stepped up and made no mistake with the penalty. 25 minutes gone, 1-0 to Melksham.
The remainder of the half continued in much the same vein although Cadbury did show one or two glimpses of being able to get at the home defence without ever really stretching Rob Brown in the Town goal.
The home side had two more penalty shouts. The first of which, a tangle involving substitute Luke Ballinger, would have been a harsh call. The second, however, when Higdon seemed to be tripped from behind, looked a nailed on foul from my angle. Whether it was in the box or not is a different matter but, ultimately it didn't matter, as the referee waved play on much to the ire of the home crowd.
HT Melksham Town 1 Cadbury Heath 0. A deserved lead for the home side with Cadbury probably quite grateful to go in just a goal behind.
Six minutes later it was three. Another corner, this time from the right, was flicked goal-wards by Ballinger, the ball evaded the defender on the line, hit the far post, and flew into the net. 3-0.
The Heathens were now well and truly on the back foot. Melksham started to play some really neat one-touch football, cutting through the visitors midfield and defence with some ease. It looked like only a matter of time before the fourth goal arrived. However, credit to Cadbury Heath who dug in and held firm against the onslaught.
Twice Daniel Worton, in the Cadbury goal, made very good stops to keep it at 3-0. When he was beaten he was relieved to see a shot come back off the post and be cleared to safety.
Heath couldn't quite hold back the Yellow tide though. On 89 minutes Dan Demkiv latched onto a ball on the right-wing. He drove into the box and fired high into the roof of the net to notch a goal that his performance on the night greatly deserved. 4-0.
FT. Melksham Town 4 (Higdon(p), Maidment, Ballinger, Demkiv) Cadbury Heath 0
Melksham Town: Rob Brown, Mark Cooper, Lee Davidson, Chris Allen, Warren Maidment, Steve Casey, Dan Demkiv, Dave Thompson, Gary Higdon (c), Mike Perrott, Jake Brown. Subs: Ben Pring, Ben Thompson, Luke Ballinger, Joe Stradling, Sayeed Ibrahim
Cadbury Heath: Daniel Worton, Samuel Bailey, Leon Maloney, Rob Scott, Andy Campbell (c), Ruben Draper, Aliaster Bamford, Lewis Shipp, Simon McElroy, Sacha Tong, George Boon. Subs: Mitchell Harrison, Kevin Douglas, Harry Churchley, Omaril Sims, Matt Huxley
Ground No. 129