Fitness boosts offer silver lining for ‘Combe

PUBLISHED: 10:24 16 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:24 16 April 2014

Toolstation Western League

Toolstation Western League

Archant

The return of Paxton and Mayne are only positives in Melksham defeat.

THE return of top scorer Stan Paxton and captain James Mayne were the only positives for Ilfracombe Town in a scrappy 1-0 defeat at home to Melksham on Saturday.

The game was a re-write of last month’s encounter, with both teams cancelling each other out in a match of few chances.

Melksham did little in attack but they took their chance in the first half.

Kurtis Parkin made the initial save but could do little to stop the follow-up by Dan Sibley.

The Bluebirds had half chances and a couple of goalmouth scrambles in the second half but they couldn’t find the equaliser they desired.

Manager Ross Middleton admitted his side was unable to find the extra gear needed but was buoyed by the performance of the returning Paxton.

He said: “Stan’s performance was a huge positive for us on the day and he’ll be disappointed he didn’t find the break through early in the first half.

“It’s no secret that our strike force has been ripped to shreds since the New Year – we get one back and another drops down.

“But it was great to have Stan fit again – it’s a huge boost to have him back on the pitch and we need him to hit the ground running.

“We got Mayner back as well and hopefully we’ll have another one or two attackers available this week.

“We’re getting the players back at a crucial time so I certainly haven’t lost belief in the players and I don’t expect them to give in either.

“It’s going to be a long tough fight right to the end of the season but we have to be up for it in every game.”

Ilfracombe now have a busy schedule of three games in six days over Easter.

They’ll start with a trip to of Sherbourne tonight (Wednesday) before entertaining Bitton at Marlborough Park on Friday.

The punishing schedule then features a trip to Willand on Monday.

“We’ll be looking to take maximum points and give ourselves breathing space from the two teams below,” said Middleton.

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