Leafy Lane hosted a classic match which warmed both the home and away fans during a cold and frosty morning. On the opening day of the season, North Wilts thrashed Worton & Cheverell 9-0, but since then the league new-comers have improved greatly, and North Wilts knew they were not going to be in for an easy game.
Worton started brightly, and took the lead within five minutes from a corner that was somewhat needlessly conceded by North Wilts. But within the ten minute mark, it was 1-1. Dan Gilbert scoring from a goalie handling error. But Worton & Cheverell immediately hit back, with a great cross coming in from the right wing, and being tidily tucked away at the near post.
North Wilts kept on pressing, and had the majority of the first half chances, with Dan Deacon, who has been in a rich vein of form recently, missing a glorious opportunity on thirty minutes, scrapping his shot wide of the post from ten yards.North Wilts thought they had got back in it, after another superb corner from left back Sam Deane was tucked in at the near post, but the corner was judged to have gone out of play and then back in by the linesman.
Worton & Cheverell took full advantage of the North Wilts defensive frailties all day long, and took a 3-1 lead on before half time, a tidy finish from the striker after finding himself in on a one-on-one after the centre backs lost track. Then, Jason Brooks-Stevens headed home from a beautifully weighted cross from the right by Simon Gray, who was consistently getting to the by-line, using his pace and strength to tease the Worton & Cheverell back line.
Before the half was out, there was time for captain Luke Denham to go into the referees book for pulling back the striker on another run through the middle.
In the second half, North Wilts started brightly, with Gray hitting the post from a superb volley, and on numerous occasions Gray got to the by-line but found he was not only too fast for the opposition, but for his team mates to, who were never in the box for the resulting pull back.
North Wilts equalised ten minutes after half time, with Dan Deacon finishing with a shot off the underside of the bar, which the linesman correctly judged the ball to go over the line,. And after that, the home fans were optimistic that perhaps their team might be able to get something out of the game, especially when Gray then put them in to a 4-3 lead with sixty minutes played.
But there was still time for some more action. Worton & Cheverell equalised after a simple catch was missed by the goalie, and then they took the lead, with twenty minutes to play. Jason Brooks-Stevens then levelled it up again from the spot, after Gray was fouled.
With five minutes to go, both sets of fans were pulling their hair out, and they knew it could go either way. Fortunately for the home supporters, substitute Dan Kelly scored a great side-foot volley from twelve yards, after Gray had crossed from the right. Kelly confidently stroked the ball back across the keeper, for what was probably the best goal of the game to make it 6-5.
The final minutes were played out with plenty of passion, and North Wilts came off the pitch feeling relieved, but proud of their battle to get the points. This time last year, they were on the receiving end of a similar result, and lost a game 6-5 after being 4-0 up, a loss that ultimately cost them promotion.
Worton & Cheverell played a great game of football, and definitely played their part in this cracking game.
Afterwards, star striker Gray said “I had to run my socks off today, but it was worth every minute"