With rain pouring down in the bucket loads on Thursday and Friday, our Wiltshire Senior Cup 2nd round tie at home to Wroughton was called into question on Friday night; those questions were answered early on Saturday morning, with the groundsman giving us the all clear.
Fielding a mixed line-up, with several returning players, as well as a debut for new striker Simon Millard, and a one-off appearence for retired keeper Josh Sotiris, The Bees kicked off the game on a mild, sunny day on an excellent, carpet-like playing surface.
Town were straight out of the blocks, Simon Millard taking a great touch before firing the ball from a tight angle inside the box, which the keeper was able to save well, holding onto the ball. Wroughton had a chance a couple of minutes later, with Sotiris able to comfortably pick the ball up, following a speculative effort from distance.
The Bees’ sprung to life over the next 10 minutes when, on 9 minutes, Adam Shipman raced onto the ball, lobbing the keeper, only for his shot to bounce agonisingly off the post; Millard showed grit, pace and determination to beat the keeper to the loose ball and score from a couple of yards out – 1-0 to Trowbridge.
On 17 minutes, player manager Ryan Baggs put in a delightful cross-field ball, which alluded the Wroughton defence before being smashed into the top corner at the back post by Jake Samuel, opening his account for the season. Town were 2-0 up and cruising – or so they thought…
Just 5 minutes later, and Wroughton had a goal back – defensive pandemonium allowing them to score a low shot from close range to make the score 2-1.
The rest of the half did not live up to the 1st quarter, with great chances for Jake Samuel, Simon Millard and Adam Shipman producing no goals. Unfortunately at some point during the half, Josh Sotiris picked up an injury and had to come off at half time – it was later confirmed he had suffered a broken hip. He was replaced in goal by Town CB Dom Kilbane.
The second half started slowly, Wroughton having another shot off target in the opening 5 minutes. On 55 minutes, Milburn won and took a corner – the ball curled in and was visibly over the line to all those behind the goal, but the linesman did not give it and the ball was cleared sheepishly by the Wroughton defence.
On 59 minutes, Shipman – in the process of a Bees’ counter attack – sent Millard through with a brilliant backheel, the veteran springing the offside trap, only for his shot to be saved and out for a corner. From the resulting corner, Miluk had a low shot fizzing towards goal, before it was deflected out for a corner.
On 65 minutes, Miluk and Millard combined on the right hand side, with the latter’s shot being saved well by the keeper and out for another corner. Before this could be taken, Gunning came on to replace Miluk.
Millard was causing problems again 4 minutes later, being brought to ground in the penalty box whilst going for a shot – the referee deemed the tackle to be OK, and played on. Samuel was then penalised for a soft foul wihilst trying to win the ball back.
This decision swung the game for the next 10 minutes where, following some risky defending at the back, and Dom Kilbane in no mans land, having attempted to head the ball clear, Wroughton scored into an empty net from 30yrds out. The score sat at 2-2, and we were staring down the barrel of penalties for the second week in a row.
Wroughton started to get into the game, with several attacking moves not resulting in several off-target shots, whilst Milburn wasted no time in motivating the players, and we almost got our reward on 75 minutes, a free kick sent in from the right by the Town captain was headed across and just wide by Howlett, who towered above his man to win the ball.
On 80 minutes, Town managed to grab the winning goal – great play down the right by Millard, the ball sent in wasn’t dealt with by the Wroughton defender, and Shipman was able to poke it past the keeper from 6 yards out, to the delight of the home supporters. On 86 minutes, Fox and Milburn linked up again, with the latter’s shot just wide of the post.
Wroughton had 2 chances to equalise late on, but Dom Kilbane put in some brilliant play to keep us ahead – firstly saving a shot which looked destined for the bottom corner, and then following up with another 1 minute later, before Wroughton missed the rebound.
The final whistle went, much to the relief of the supporters, as The Bees’ secured their spot in the Quarter Finals – a mid-week local derby away at Melksham Town Reserves.
TTFC 3-2 Wroughton
Millard (A: Shipman), Samuel (A: Baggs), Shipman (A: Millard)
MOTM: Dom Kilbane
Lineup: Sotiris, Baggs, Plank, Milburn (C), Howlett, Fox, Sterling, Miluk, Shipman, Samuel, Millard – Subs: Francis, Wayman, Mitchell, Kilbane, Gunning
Match Sponsor: Paul Windsor & Family
Next fixture: Ludgershall Sports (A), Wiltshire Senior League, 21/10 – 3pm KO.