Defiant Melton Foxes U18s seen off by classy Coalville

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Coalville arrived at the All England Ground for their first match since the tragic car accident which resulted in the death of their goalkeeper Jack Samples.

Teams, managers and parents lined up for a minute’s silence before the game.

The visitors showed all the qualities of the league’s best footballing side, with speed, control and intensity from front-to-back and the Foxes did well to keep in the game for so long.

Coalville went ahead within five minutes when a chip over Melton’s defence allowed their speedy centre forward to race in and lob the advancing Chris Lovegrove.

Five minutes later it was 2-0 when another quick bout of passing put their left winger clear and his low cross caused havoc in the home defence and was fired past the helpless Lovegrove.

Seconds later the visitors crashed a superb header against the bar and Aaron Doherty cleared.

Foxes then shook Coalville when a move down the right saw Marcus Rowlands’ half-cleared cross collected by Tom Dryell who drove a finish into the net.

But just as Melton seemed to be getting a foothold, the Ravens widened the gap again with a fortunate goal when Lovegrove appeared to misjudge a 25-yard effort which found the net.

This was the signal for a spell of real Coalville pressure and it was 4-1 when a long high cross was headed back across goal and the centre-forward headed a delightful goal past Lovegrove.

Gavin and Dawkins and Doherty defended defiantly and five minutes before half-time Foxes reduced the arrears again.

Lomas’ free-kick found Rowlands who put the ball back into the middle for skipper Shaun Smith to head home.

It took the visitors just five second-half minutes to extend their lead again following a superb passing move.

More superb play created another opening, but Lovegrove made a super triple-save to deny them.

Good work by Dryell and Rowlands then put Smith away and the striker looked a certain scorer until the keeper dived full-length to push the final effort onto the bar.

With seven minutes left, Coalville notched a sixth after a quick break down the left when a long cross was slid past the stranded Lovegrove.

But the hosts had the last word when Alex Walker’s long ball was won by Rowlands. His shot was blocked, but Adam Lomas nipped in to poke past the advancing keeper.

Gavin, Dawkins, Doherty and Walker all turned in defiant performances, and up front Rowlands again looked the outstanding player.

Foxes: C. Lovegrove, A. Doherty, R. Gavin, J. Dawkins, F. Lewis, A. Walker, A. Lomas, Lewis Thorpe, T. Dryell, S. Smith, M. Rowlands, B. Carroll, G. Wilkinson, A. Kotarba.

* On Sunday, the Foxes host Asfordby FC in the County Cup (KO 2pm).