Pewsey Vale play at The Recreation Ground just to the South-East of the village centre. The football ground is part of a larger sports complex which also Pewsey Tennis Club and Pewsey Vale Bowls Club. The football ground is accessed via a very narrow lane (Easterton Lane) which is very easy to miss if you haven't visited before. The football pitch has a small access road running behind the Easterton Lane end and partially down the Tennis Club side. There is parking on the grass alongside this access road as well as a small parking area next to the clubhouse. Speaking of which, the clubhouse and changing areas are newly renovated but, unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions the club was not open to the public this evening. There was NHS track & trace QR codes available as well as manual checks in operation.
Pewsey do not currently charge for entry. However, they do collect donations during the game to assist with running costs. With quite a decent crowd there for a very cold Tuesday evening, I certainly hope they collected enough to pay for the floodlight costs, and maybe a new bulb or two.
Although these sides are geographically close they were not playing in the same division last season, so there is no recent history to look at between the teams. Pewsey Vale did play in the same division as Devizes Town's first team during the 1999-200 Western League Division One season. Devizes went on to win the league that season, going the entire season unbeaten. Pewsey finished in fourteenth spot. Now Pewsey play in the Wiltshire Senior League. After being placed in the Wessex League for 2019-20, they found the additional travel costs to be too much and resigned from the league in order to preserve the club. This season they made a good start to the campaign winning eight, drawing one and losing one of their opening ten games. The only defeat coming at mid-table Cricklade Town. They have already won 2-1 at leaders Melksham Town Reserves and a win this evening, combined with a Melksham defeat, would send them to the top of the table.
The first thing I noticed upon arrival was that one of the floodlights was definitely a lot dimmer than the other three. However, the referee was satisfied that there was enough light to let the game go ahead, a view backed up by the Devizes players, who were just keen to play the game.
Looking at the league tables, I was expecting this to be quite a one-sided game. However, it was apparent after just a short while that Devizes were not here to make up the numbers. Maybe the fact that Devizes played on Saturday, even if it was a 5-1 defeat, meant that they had a little more natch sharpness? The opening encounters were very evenly balanced and, although neither side unduly threatened the goalkeepers, the away side were giving as good as they got. That being said, I think it is fair to say that Pewsey Vale edged it in terms of possession and definitely looked a little more dangerous when they attacked.
Teh first half and hour or so of the game seemed to go quite quickly even without a huge amount of goalmouth action. However, in the 38th minute, the deadlock was finally broken. Pewsey forced a corner on their right and when the ball was swung in it dropped nicely for Harry Horeau to react quickest, swivelling and smashing the ball into the roof of the next from six yards. 1-0. The goal seemed to give Vale the injection of belief they needed and the immediately started to pile on more pressure. Just before half-time they saw an effort hacked off the line for a corner. When that was swung in, another effort was again cleared off the line. Devizes must have been quite glad to hear the half-time whistle to put a stop to the head of steam that Vale had built up.
HT Pewsey Vale 1 Devizes Town Reserves 0. Overall Vale deserved to be in front but, considering the teams are at opposite ends of the table, it was a much closer contest than imagined.
When they did kick-off it was Devizes who immediately went on the attack. After surviving the late onslaught in the first-half they clearly wanted to ensure that this did not continue after the restart. In fact, the second-half in general was a more entertaining affair than the first, with more shots on target and both goalkeepers having to earn their corn. If Pewsey thought going a goal up would help open the floodgates, they were wrong. Devizes were digging in and proving to be difficult opponents. This feeling was borne out by shouts from the home bench and players that they needed a second goal.
With 22 minutes remaining we were treated to the best move of the game and it led to the second goal for Vale. James Guthrie picked the ball up in midfield, played a neat one-two and then ran on to fire low past the Town keeper's right hand. 2-0
Vale had the second goal they though they needed to secure the game but Devizes ware by no means throwing in the towel. In fact they probably had two or three of their better chances after going two behind. They were indebted to their goalkeeper after 79 minutes however, when he spread himself bravely to block a point-blank range volley from Craig Simmons.
Both sides had late chances, the best of which fell to the home side but the ball was put over from just a few yards out by their number 11.
FT Pewsey Vale 2 Devizes Town Reserves 0. Vale were certainly made to work for their three points but still remain in second place after Melksham drew 2-2 at home to Corsham. Next up for Pewsey is another local derby as they make the short hop North to Marlborough Town. Devizes, who surely must take heart from their performance in this game, make the longer trip down to Bath as they face Odd Down Reserves
Devizes Town Reserves: Anning, Enderby, Gee, Grant, Lawton, Pirie(c), Sloan, Swann, Taliss, Wildman, Rideout. Subs: Cassidy, Moffat, Webster, Dixon, Tandy
Ground Number: 253
Entrance: £0.00 - Donation