Melton Mowbray Reserves maintained their good late season form with their third Leics Combination win of the season against Barlestone St Giles.
The home side started better with confidence high after a recent run of good results. Smith was denied by the keeper after going through on goal on 10 minutes and Melton fashioned two more clear chances in the next five minutes, but Smith and Newton’s chances came to nothing.
The league’s bottom side changed formation and created chances of their own, but were kept at bay by the defence of Wilkinson, Horobin, Snow and Jack Hall.
Knipe came on for Aaron Watson after the break and Melton started the second half as they did the first, again missing chances.
Keeper Klapiscak was tested as he raced out to clear as Barlestone pushed men forward, but this gave the central midfield pair of Hill and Harby more time on the ball, with Knipe and Gavin supporting well.
Harby broke the deadlock when he won the ball and fired a shot which the keeper could only spill into the net.
Harby repeated the trick by once more winning possession and placing his shot perfectly for his second.
Harry Hall came on to combat Barlestone’s physical threat as Melton began to dominate. Hill’s free-kick found Smith to create yet another chance, while Newton, a constant threat up front, also went close with a half-volley before heading just wide.
Kieran Watson came on with minutes to spare to add fresh legs up front, and Harby finished off the game with a deflected free-kick to seal his hat-trick and victory for the developing Melton reserve team.
Manager Jason Hall said: “It has taken just over half the season to get a consistent and committed team, and our recent form reflects this with only one defeat in the last five games.
“We now have right mix of youth and experience, and it seems to be going well. The older players in the team want to coach and guide the youth, which is great to see, and they are getting better week in, week out.”