Melton Foxes held by above-par Andrews

Melton Foxes Under 17s in kit and raintops supplied by sponsors BAC Electrical (Melton) and Planit'X Town and Country Planning Services EMN-151222-123708002
Melton Foxes Under 17s in kit and raintops supplied by sponsors BAC Electrical (Melton) and Planit'X Town and Country Planning Services EMN-151222-123708002
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Title-chasing Melton were brought down to earth with a bump on Sunday when they were held to a draw by bottom-of-the-table Andrews.

The home side played well above their league position and their feisty no-nonsense tackling gave Melton many problems.

But despite missing Alex Horobin and Harrison Mayes through illness, the Foxes missed golden opportunities to earn the three points.

Andrews started the better and Melton keeper McNeight was delighted to see a fierce shot fly wide early on.

Shaun Smith headed over when well-placed from a free-kick before Lewis Thorpe sent a fierce drive from the edge of the area fractionally wide, and Smith failed to hit the target when put through by Alex Kotarba.

Skipper Joe Nickolls twice had to clear dangerous free-kicks as Andrews looked the more comfortable side.

Smith found the net from Adam Lauchlan’s assist in the 25th minute, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Melton dealt well with a succession of free-kicks, but the home side did snatch the lead when a mix-up between Lauchlan and McNeight saw the keeper completely miss his kick and the ball ended up in the net.

A corner at the other end saw Smith’s goalbound effort from Kenny Jones’ low cross blocked before Lauchlan’s terrific drive forced the keeper to save.

Alex Walker then fired past the post as Melton pressed.

Steans looked a certain scorer from George Wilkinson’s pinpoint cross, but he completely miscued his close-range shot.

With the slope now in their favour, Melton started the second half on the attack as Kotarba ran in on goal, but he lost his balance and toe-poked his shot wide from close range.

Substitute Bradley Carroll fired against the bar from point-blank range, but the Foxes did finally notch an equaliser when a superb ball from Steans put Smith clear and the centre-forward blasted past the keeper.

Andrews hit a free-kick narrowly wide before Foxes thought they had taken the lead when Smith again ran clear to net, but again he was deemed offside.

Melton’s disappointment at dropping points was tempered at full-time with the news that title favourites Barwell AFC had been held to a 3-3 draw at Loughborough Dynamo.

Foxes: C. McNeight, J. Bates, A. Lauchlan, J. Nickolls, G. Wilkinson, K. Jones, A. Walker, L. Thorpe, A. Kotarba, C. Steans, S. Smith, C. Ainge, B. Carroll, C. Lovegrove.