Radstock Town 2 Warminster Town 2

Under the unusually warm October sun, there was much at stake for both sides. Warminster started the day in 4th place, with Radstock just one point behind. Warminster, a side with key players out through injury, brought in former striker Francois Allen to help out. Both sides contested well, and the game ended 2-2.

The home side started strongly and went close inside 2 minutes, hitting the post and setting the tone of their intentions. 2 minutes later, a free-kick was sent just over the visitor’s crossbar. Warminster were not to be overawed by this early attack from Radstock. Seviour, in the 7th minute, saw his header from Allen’s cross go just wide of the left-hand post. Moments later, excellent work between Wain and McKay saw the latter’s shot cleared off the line by Radstock.

With just over a quarter of an hour gone, Miluk forced Radstock’s keeper into a save. Other opportunities came for Warminster, with Allen and McKay both getting closer to opening the scoring. Surprisingly it remained goalless when the halftime whistle blew.

The opening goal came remarkably quickly in the second half. With just 20 seconds on the clock, Allen chased a through ball, collected it, and charged into the 18-yard box. Firing past the keeper, Allen got the goal he deserved after his first-half efforts. Radstock evened up the score in the 56th minute when their striker broke through the centre backs and fired home into the right of the goal.

The game ebbed and flowed, with Warminster still creating more chances when on 76 minutes, Mckay drove into the penalty area from the left, slipped the ball to Seviour, who, from 12 yards out, left-footed the ball home to make it two for Warminster. 

The lead, though, was short-lived. A minute later, Radstock crossed from the left, and the ball was headed home by an unmarked player, just a few yards out from the centre of the goal. Radstock went close again on 84 minutes when Thomson had to produce an excellent save to prevent the goal. 

Warminster will be disappointed not to have taken all 3 points, but in the end, a draw has moved them into third place in the league table. The next match will be another away trip on Saturday, October 16th, when they travel to Wells City.

Team: Thomson, Pollock, Cockerell, Jeffery, Lisowski, Churchyard, Miluk, Seviour, Allen, McKay, Wain

Subs: (Used) Johnson L, Atkins, Ball

(Unused) Monteith, Chenery-Bowden

Gillingham Town 1 Warminster Town 0

Tuesday, October 5th

A win at Gillingham would have moved Warminster Town into second place in the league table. The new pitch at Gillingham looked good under their new and very bright floodlights, a welcome addition at this level of football.

The match did not go according to plan. The visitors were dominant and remained so for most of the game. In the 14th minute, the Red & Blacks were a man down after McKay was sent off for a challenge in the middle of the pitch. Any latecomers would not have noticed that Warminster was playing with ten men as the domination continued. 

The game’s only goal came in the 39th minute when Bevis for the home side broke through down the left. Warminster’s right-back, Graham, pulled his hamstring chasing the attacker, leaving Bevis free to fire home past the onrushing Thomson.

The second half once again saw Warminster dominating play but unable to capitalise on it. The closest they came to scoring was in the final minutes when the keeper tipped over Seth Wain’s 18-yard shot over the bar. 

A disappointing result for Warminster as they could not create enough clear cut chances to score. 

Team: Thomson, Graham, Cockerill, Jeffrey, De Silva, Churchyard, Miluk, Lisowksi, Johnson, McKay, Wain

Subs: (Used) Humphrey, Pollock, Seviour 

(Unused) Atkins

Warminster Town 2 Wincanton Town 1

Following the 13 goal thriller of the last game, Warminster would be looking to score, but not to let in so many goals! The two sides met in early August, which resulted in a 2-2 draw. The home side conceded in the first half but went on to win 2-1, scoring twice in the second half. 

The first half certainly saw Warminster with more possession, spending more time in the visitor’s half. However, it was Wincanton who struck first with a goal in the 24th minute. A cross from the left found the head of Tom Richardson, which went downwards along the goalmouth for him to then tap home with his left foot and squeeze between Thomson and the left post. 

The home side continued to dominate the match but seemed to try long-range shots without enough power to likely trouble the Wincanton keeper. The visitors, therefore, started the second half with a one-goal lead.

From the start of the second half, Warminster looked more dangerous. In the 48th minute, Seth Wain, from 25 yards out, turned and, with his left-footed shot, beat the keeper but rebound off the crossbar. A couple of minutes later, Cockerill fired from long-range just wide of Wincanton’s left post.

Wain continued to harass the Wasps with a shot from the right edge of the 18-yard line that went just wide of the left corner of the goal in the 53rd minute. Seven minutes later, Wain went close again, firing from the left and seeing his shot go just wide of the right-hand corner of the goal. This was soon after recovering from a crunching tackle that saw a yellow card for Wincanton’s right-back Danny Golden.

In the 77th minute, Churchyard was pushed into the visitors’ goal in an off the ball incident, resulting in a penalty. Up stepped the ever-reliable Ian Jeffery with a perfect penalty into the bottom left corner beating Nathan Ball.

The second goal was a beautiful sight to see! With 4 minutes of normal time remaining, Graham’s free-kick from just inside the Wincanton half was flicked on by the head of Churchyard. The ball landed perfectly for Martin Johnson. Johnson, and with two touches, created space and shot with his right foot and floated a curved shot just under the Wasps crossbar. A worthy contender for the goal of the season.

Overall, a good performance from the home side against a very physical Wincanton side, with the second half producing the better football. With such performances, it shows that Warminster is a capable side and can do well in this season’s Toolstation Western League.

Team: Thomson, Graham, Cockerill, Jeffery, De-Silva, Churchyard, Pollock, Lisowski, Johnson, McKay, Wain

Subs: (Used) Seviour, Humphreys, Atkins

Subs: (Unused) Bartley, Hampson 

PLAYING WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

PLAYING WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

At the same time as our political leaders were telling us that we need to learn to live with the virus, the Football Association was setting out their guidance on how we would be able to play football whilst Covid was still with us. Taking a lead from the Governments move into Step 4 on July 19th, the FA’s National League System Club guidance echoed the news that there were no longer any limitations on the number of people who can meet, and the one-meter rule was now a thing of the past. However, like the rest of society, the footballing public was urged to move ahead with caution. Face coverings are no longer required but advised and whilst changing rooms can be used, Clubs are urged to avoid “participants being in a crowded area for a prolonged time”.

But as society opens and schools and universities return, what can non-league football hope to achieve to keep its participants safe, when there is so much potential for work and leisure activities to spread the virus and jeopardise fixtures?

“The evidence is very clear that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors,” Prof Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer has consistently advised. “From the data we have looked at, and the work that has been done on back to play protocols, the risk of playing outdoor sport is extraordinarily low,” said Professor Mike Weed of Canterbury Christ Church University, in March this year. So it’s reasonable to conclude that watching football outside and playing football outside are both relatively safe things to do.

The critical challenge faced by the non-league game, in terms of virus transmission, remains the indoor settings, the clubhouses and the changing rooms. In terms of spectators, clubhouses are no more dangerous than your local pub. However, a study by the University of Portsmouth showing that non-regular pub-goers ‘might never return after lockdown easing’, suggests that clubhouses might not hold the same appeal, post-pandemic, as they once did.

Attendances at non-league games show that spectators are prepared to take their chances, but what about the risks posed to players, coaches and match officials? In many respects these are the groups that can bear the greatest risk, because of their age and good health, but they are also the groups currently working their way through the vaccination system, with many yet to have their second dose. Clubs can play a crucial role in demonstrating good practise, in the same way that workplaces are being closely scrutinised in how they safeguard their employees and customers.

The FA’s guidance wants Clubs to promote the use of masks in crowded indoor settings, as well as suggesting the implementation of a testing policy for players and staff, 48 hours prior to any fixture. A study undertaken by Cognisant Research with 13 Western League players around Christmas 2021, highlighted the importance of the managers role in players matchday routines and whilst Club Chairman and Covid Officers can have important parts to play, it’s essential for all three to be working together to reinforce the importance in adhering to matchday Covid protocols, designed to keep players safe. 

Football is no different to any other aspect of society in that spectators and participants demonstrate a spectrum of different attitudes towards Covid, from genuine concern about the impact of the virus to a belief that it simply nothing to worry about. That is why it’s important influencers like Club Officials, coaches and senior players to be proactive in ensuring that everyone in the game is behaving responsibly. One of the key challenges identified by the Cognisant study was the contradictory nature of some of the Governments Covid advice. The idea that you can mark a player at a corner, but not share a car with them after the game, or limit who goes into a changing room, only to share a crowded bar or nightclub with the very same teammates. 

That is why it’s important to remember that someone else is making these rules and the FA and the Clubs are doing their best to enforce them. Clubs looking to maintain Covid protocols should facilitate an open discussion on the measures they wish to maintain, allowing players to discuss what they consider to be reasonable and providing them with an opportunity to buy-in to a common approach, even if they may have personal reservations concerning their validity.

The future of the 2021/22 football season still hangs in the balance, with concerns about a winter surge, not to mention any fixture disruption caused by the British weather. We can all do our bit to help minimise the spread of the virus and football is no different. Spectators, coaches and players all have a part to play in keeping our beautiful going each week, this is a challenge that unites us all, but we will only succeed if we work together.

1 https://www.thefa.com/news/2021/jul/16/20210716-non-elite-football-update-step-4-government-covid-19-roadmap

2 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-55680305

3 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2021/03/29/coronavirus-risk-golf-football-sport-outdoors-return-lockdown/

4 https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/business/university-of-portsmouth-research-shows-that-non-regular-pub-goers-might-never-return-after-lockdown-easing-3280772

This article has been supplied by The Toolstation League

LADIES GO TOP OF THE LEAGUE

Warminster Town Ladies returned to league action this Sunday after a two-week break. Keynsham Town Ladies Reserves the visitors to Weymouth Street for the girls first home game of the season.

After a fairly even first 20 minutes, Warminster took the lead through Poppy Spratt tapping in at the far post from a low driven ball from the right side by Shannon Redhouse.

After a spell of possession for Keynsham, Warminster doubled their advantage in the 38th minute. Rachel Godden first to react after the keeper saved a preceding shot.

On 85 minutes Warminster sealed their win with a penalty, Mia Blazey coolly finishing to make it 3-0!

Maximum points from the Ladies opening two games see them go top of the league!

Starting XI: Billet, Trim, Shibley, Spratt M, Whyley ©, Redhouse, Spratt P, Fry, Godden, Blazey, Ayliffe

Subs: Turner, McCarthy, Guy, Kirk

Warminster Town 7 Hengrove Athletic 6

Hengrove Athletic were the visitors to Weymouth Street Saturday, the first home game played on a Saturday since AEK Boco visited way back on the 14th of August!

The sides had previously met a mere 3 weeks ago in the reverse fixture, Warminster running out 3-0 winners at the AVB stadium.

Despite missing a few regular players through injuries Town put on a bit of a goal fest in the 45 minutes!

The first 10 minutes were quite the scrappy affair, and the first meaningful chances went Hengroves way. A cross from the left just 4 minutes in only needing a touch. 4 minutes later, another opportunity presented itself for Hengrove, managing to get in behind the Warminster back line and get a shot away. Town keeper Sam Thompson having to get down smartly to his left at the near post to block it.

First blood would go to Warminster however. In the 10th minute a long ball over the top found Conner McKay onside and one on one with the keeper he slotted his shot low into the bottom right hand corner.

Hengrove managed to pull one back just 2 minutes later however. Another ball finding its way behind the Town back line to Sam Jackson who managed to weave around and get his shot away, burying it into the left side of the Warminster Goal.

After conceding Warminster seemed to go up a gear and floodgates opened. On 18 minutes another ball over the top finding Conner McKay who turned his man and let fly, burying his shot into the bottom right corner. 2 minutes later yet another long ball just out of reach of McKay was poorly cleared by the Hengrove keeper from the edge of his area and it fell kindly to Alex Churchyard near the halfway line who calmly lobbed the back tracking keeper to make it 3-1.

Hengrove did have their chances though as Town were still looking a little shaky at the back, 22 minutes in, one on one with Thompson, but fortunately steering the shot wide.

End to end stuff as 2 minutes later, McKay could’ve had his hattrick. A low driven ball in from Jack Miluk taking a few deflections on its way through found McKay at the back post, but not knowing much about it, his touch sent the ball just wide.

Straight up the other end, Sam Jackson was causing more trouble for the Warminster defence as two more chances went begging for the visitors.

Just past the half hour mark, Town were awarded a penalty. McKay being brought down. Seth Wain stepped up to take the resulting Penalty and coolly put it away.

Warminster were not finished though and in the last 15 minutes of the first half put two more past the visitors! Number 5 coming from a low driven ball by Owen Bartley on the left side, finding Aaron Cockrill in the 6 yard area to poke it home and number 6 courtesy of a tap in from Martin Johnson after a low ball across the face of goal from Seth Wain on 44 minutes.

6-1 to Warminster at the break.

Warminster looked to continue where they left off in the first half and bagged their 7th goal 13 minutes into the second half! A counter attacking move saw McKay burst away, sliding a lovely ball into the middle for Martin Johnson to get his second of the game, finishing low into the bottom left corner.

63rd minute saw Hengrove have their best chance since their goal. #10 Danny Dodimead forcing a very athletic save from Sam Thompson! The resulting corner pinballed around the face of goal before eventually being nodded home by Dodimead!

A comeback seemed highly unlikely, but Non-league football is always full of surprises…

2 minutes later yet another long ball over the top, caught theWarminster defence napping and Dodimead one on one slotted the ball home.

Hengrove now had their heads up and could smell the blood from a complacent home side. 71 minutes, practically a carbon copy of the goal before, Dodimead yet again on the end of it for 7-4!

On 77 minutes substitute Luco Poncillo, again getting on the end of a long ball, managed to shrug off the challenge from Cockrill to finish into the bottom right corner.

A few moments later, Dodimead again had a chance, managing to shrug off several challenges and getting a shot away toward the near post, Thompson again having to get something on it, deflecting it onto the post.

With just 4 minutes of normal time to play, Hengrove brought the deficit back to just one! The referee awarded a penalty after a challenge from Substitute Toby Ruck. The ref had a good game, but he got this one horribly wrong!

Either way, the penalty was given and Sub Billy Vaughan thumped it home!

The dying minutes of the game were tense with Warminster all over the place and Hengrove piling on the pressure forcing two more fantastic and crucial saves from Thompson in the Town goal!

Warminster however managed just to hold on and take the 3 points, writes Jamie House.

7-6 the final score!

Starting XI: Thompson, Pollock, Cockerill, Lisowski, De Silva, Churchyard ©, Miluk, Bartley, Johnson M, Wain, McKay

Subs: RuckHampsonAtkins, Humphrey (Not used)

Subs: RuckHampsonAtkins, Humphrey (Not used)

Trowbridge Town 2 Warminster Town 0


The Red and Blacks made the short trip to local side Trowbridge Town for the first round of the Wiltshire Senior Cup.

Trowbridge who play a league below in the Corsham Print Wiltshire Senior League have had a reasonably good start to their season taking 5 wins from their opening 8 games.

Warminster on the other hand were looking to bounce back from a bitterly disappointing defeat midweek to high flying Welton Rovers in the league.

The first 20 minutes saw most of the action in the Trowbridge half, but Town were unable to capitalize due to some solid defending from the home side.

The breakthrough came in the 23rd minute. A foul in the Warminster box resulting in a penalty. Trowbridge Captain and former Town player Ryan Baggs stepping up and slotting the ball firmly into the bottom right corner.

The home side doubled their advantage 11 minutes later. A corner from the left side swung in and Jordan Gullis with a free header into the back of the Warminster net.

Closest Warminster went to a goal was right before half time. Conner McKay with a low driven shot from the right hand side about 25 yards out, but it flashed wide of the far post.

17 minutes into the second half after some pinball in the box and several attempts to steer the ball over the line as Trowbridge threw bodies in the way, Warminster were awarded a Penalty, the final shot being blocked by a Trowbridge arm. Surprising that no card of either colour was produced for the transgression.

Conner McKay stepped up but despite his shot being driven low and right in the corner, Sam Jepson in the Trowbridge goal still managed to get across and get a big hand to it to deny Warminster a goal.

Town had another chance a few minutes later, again forcing a save from Jepson.

The rest of the second half was a fairly even affair, play going from end to end, but no real chances for either side writes Jamie House.

2-0 to Trowbridge the final score.

Team: Thompson, Bartley (88’), Lisowski, De Silva, Cockerill, Miluk, Humphrey, Churchyard (c), Johnson L (45’), McKay (80’), Johnson M

Subs: Atkins, Seviour, Wain (All used

Warminster Town 1 Welton Rovers 2

This match promised to be a titanic battle under floodlights, and so it proved to be. Welton Rovers unbeaten and top of the table, arrived at Weymouth Street full of confidence by their successful start to the season. The game was goalless at halftime with 3 goals coming in the second half, finishing, Warminster Town 1 Welton Rovers 2.

Welton had several opportunities to score in the opening forty-five minutes, however, Sam Thomson’s safe hands prevented the ball from going into the back of the net. At the very end of this half, Warminster had a great chance to score only to see McKay’s shot fly well over the opposition’s goal.

With everything to play for and in front of a good crowd of 151, the home side got off to a good start. On 54 minutes McKay fired home after Welton failed to clear the box a couple of times. McKay was in the right place when the ball came to him on the left-hand side of the goal and he made no mistake in smashing home from close range.

Welton have shown this season that they are never out of a match, and even though down to 10 men at the time due to Batchelor being sinned binned, scored the equaliser. On 73 minutes, Kyle Box right-footed home from inside the penalty area, after Warminster failed to clear the ball.

Warminster had a great opportunity to take the lead again but the shot from Lewis Graham on the 18-yard line, flashed just wide of the post.

Rovers second goal came with 4 minutes of normal time remaining. A free-kick 10 yards inside the home side’s half was chested down by Garland in the box, leaving Joe Ellis to smash the ball past Thomson.

Both goals were disappointing to have conceded and the Red & Blacks missed out on an opportunity to put a dent in Welton’s grip on the league.

Team: Thomson, Bartley, Milburn, Cockerill, De Silva, Churchyard, Hiscocks, Johnson M, Graham(s), Wain(s), McKay(s)

Subs: (used) Humphry, Atkins, Miluk
(unused) Johnson L, Seviour

Farnham Town FC v Warminster Town FC

Warminster Town made the journey to Farnham in Surrey for the first qualifying round of the FA Vase. This competition offers the hope to play a final at Wembley for the two teams that make it to the end. Farnham Town plays in the equivalent of a division higher, but in 2019, Warminster brushed aside several higher-ranked opponents and hoped to do so again. 

This time, hopes became dashed at the first attempt with Farnham Town winning 4 – 0. From the first whistle, the home side looked sharp and looking for victory, forcing Thompson into making an early save. Not to be outdone, Warminster’s Martin Johnson saw his goal attempt go just wide. 

Farnham broke through with the opening goal in the 24th minute. A corner taken short, then back to the taker was flighted in towards Warminster’s left post and met by the head of Ashey Lloyd. His header went towards the right upright, beating everyone in the process and into the net. 

Three minutes later (27), Farnham would double their tally. A cross from Stewart from the right across Warminster’s goal saw the keeper slide and try to clear the ball with his feet. He lost out under pressure, and the ball returned to Stewart, who tucked it away into the right-hand side of the net.

Farnham’s third goal was a penalty, taken well by Joshua Ogunseye (38), sending Thomson the wrong way. Finishing off Warminster’s first-half woes was the goal scored by Matt Glass. A long goal kick was played on by an opposing player; Glass headed it down to his own feet and, from the left side of the penalty area, shot past Thomson into the right corner of the net.

Warminster improved in their second-half performance, but the score remained the same. With a four-goal deficit, it was a mountain to climb. Manager, Andy Crabtree after the match, confirmed his disappointment with the way the team had played and the fundamental errors, which led to the loss.

Team: Thomson, Bartley, Cockerill, Graham(s), De-Silva, Churchyard, Johnson L, Mortimer-Taylor(s), Johnson M, Wain, McKay

Subs: (used) Humphreys, Stockley

Subs: (unused) Miluk, Jeffrey

Hengrove Athletic 0 Warminster Town 3

After a 4 – 0 win in mid-week, Warminster travelled to Hengrove Athletic with confidence to face a team near to the bottom of the league table. However, experience from similar situations shows that a league position doesn’t always mean much on the day. This match saw The Red & Blacks come away with all three points and a 3 – 0 win.

Warminster took the early lead in the 6th minute. A few moments earlier, Gardner watched his shot deflected just wide of the post. Churchyard met the resulting corner to head the ball home into the left side of the goal. McKay went close in the 34th when his shot went just wide of the left-hand post. Three minutes later, he put in a fine cross, which just needed a touch as it crossed the goalmouth with Gardner not quite reaching it. A late shot from McKay was straight at the keeper, so the half finished at 0 – 1.

There were some feisty moments from the home side during this half, which earned them several yellow cards. The referee did well in dealing with the situations, and credit goes to the Town players for letting him do his job.

The visitors got off to an excellent second-half start and on 53 minutes. Wain running along the byline, beat the defender and passed the ball to Graham in the centre of the box. Near the penalty spot, Graham made sure as the ball fell at his feet, having been slowed down by a defender.

The third goal came from a corner from Warminster’s right, first met by Lewis Graham’s head and finished off in the 6-yard box with a bicycle kick by Wain.

The 3 points earned move Warminster Town into 3rd place in the table. Manager Andy Crabtree knows there is still much his side can do to improve, and as they do so have a real chance of finishing in the top segment of the division.

Team: Thomson, Bartley, Cockerill, Lisowski, Jeffrey, Churchyard, Gardner, Mortimer-Taylor, Graham, Wain, McKay

Subs (used) Johnson M, De Silva, Hampson
(Unused) Pollock, Humphreys