After an exciting climax to the end of the season in which Sherborne Town was promoted as champions, Warminster Town came second with 89 points. Following them in third, Wincanton Town on 88 points and Welton Rovers in fourth on 88 points. In fifth place and with 63 points came Radstock Town. These four teams now had to enter the playoffs, and with Warminster triumphing over Radstock, the final was between Warminster and Welton.
Not much separated the two teams; in the first tie of the season, Welton came to Weymouth Street and, from 1-0 down, managed two late goals to win 1-2. In the away fixture, Warminster were the victors, scoring the match’s only goal. Therefore, the Playoff Final was expected to be a tight affair, and so it proved to be.
In front of a large crowd of 652, the two teams went head to head. Throughout much of the game, both teams were cancelling each other out, and chances of a clear sight at goal were limited. Welton sealed the win with the game’s only goal in the second half.
Welton had an excellent opportunity to go ahead in the 20th minute; there was some uncertainty by the Warminster defence to get the ball away. Welton pounced on this, and fortunately, the shot went well over the bar.
Cameron Allen in the 34th minute was sin-binned, leaving Welton with ten men for the compulsory 10 minutes off the field of play. The home side tried to capitalise on having the extra man. Welton, however, stood firm. Warminster’s number 11, McKay, in the 44th minute, saw his shot blocked before it could go between the sticks. Welton had a late chance (46’), but the shot was too weak to trouble Thomson, and the first half finished goalless.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Thomson made a superb save to tip Toby Cole’s shot over his crossbar. A close call and for not an excellent save, Welton would have scored. The Red & Blacks were pressing and getting closer in those opening minutes. McKay got the ball into the back of the net (58’), only to see the goal disallowed and receive a yellow card. But it was Welton Rovers who scored in the 65th minute courtesy of defender Joe Garland. A free-kick was floated into the area, knocked down, and Garland ran a few yards across the area, shooting low in the left. Thomson was probably unsighted by players ahead of him and didn’t quite reach the ball to prevent the goal.
Andy Crabtree, Warminster’s manager, made substitutions to bring on fresh legs to put more pressure on Welton’s defenders. Despite working hard to level up the score and five additional minutes of added time, the goal never came. Sadly, as with any final, only one team can win. Warminster Town can be proud of the best season in their history and look forward to next season and building on the progress made, both on and off the pitch.
Team: Thomson, Graham, Cockerill, Jeffery, De Silva, Humphreys, Wain(s), Mortimer-Taylor, Johnson(s), Bartley, McKay(s),
Subs: (used) Miluk, Morris, Gardiner
(unused) Seviour, McFerran