Derby Day: Melton Town skipper insists big game record could give them edge

Lee Mann has spent a decade with Melton either side of a single season at Holwell EMN-161116-102850002
Lee Mann has spent a decade with Melton either side of a single season at Holwell EMN-161116-102850002
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Melton Town captain Lee Mann says his team’s record in big games could give them the edge in Tuesday’s huge derby against Holwell Sports.

The two teams will be battling it out for a place in the County Senior Cup semi-finals.

Jordan Cufflin-Stableford has been in the goals since his move this season EMN-160711-105442002

Jordan Cufflin-Stableford has been in the goals since his move this season EMN-160711-105442002

The United Counties League Division One side defeated Premier Division opponents Northampton ON Chenecks in the league cup this season and only went out to Premier Division top six side Harborough after penalties.

Spot kicks could again come into play on Tuesday in what is likely to be a tight game, with both teams eager to claim the bragging rights in the first derby meeting for six years.

Town captain Lee Mann was one of Melton’s successful penalty takers in their shoot-out win the last time the teams met in the 2010 Charity Cup final.

“Playing a team from a higher league we went there with nothing to lose,” he said.

Summer signing Tom Byrne played his early senior football at Holwell EMN-161010-095249002

Summer signing Tom Byrne played his early senior football at Holwell EMN-161010-095249002

“Everyone had written us off, but we turned up without our star players, ground out a draw in normal time and won on penalties.

“It typified us as a team. We always performed in big games, particularly when we were underdogs.

“So it’s a good memory, but we won’t dwell on that too much - we take Holwell very seriously.

“The game has certainly captured the imagination so we’re expecting a good crowd down there.”

Town have endured a rollercoaster season so far of ups and downs, perhaps understandably as they adapt to a higher level of football.

They followed a poor start of four defeats in their opening six games by winning seven and drawing one of their next nine, a run which rocketed them up into the top six.

Momentum has been halted recently as a tough run of fixtures has brought four defeats in their last five, but Mann insists they will be optimistic of progress.

“We are always confident,” he added. “You have to go into every game confident of a good result. We have beaten good teams in the UCL.

“The new league has been a learning curve. We had a couple of disappointing results at the start, but when we got used to the league and the squad settled we went on a great run.

“We’ve slipped a bit over the last few games, but the whole season has been a great experience and there’s a lot for us to build on.”

* Kick-off at Digital Deadline Park, at Melton Sports Village, off Burton Road, is 7.30pm.