Melton Foxes Under 17s pulled off the shock of the League Cup when they travelled to Premier Division leaders Desford and triumphed in a penalty shoot-out.
Desford soon showed their qualities with quick first-time passing moves which put Foxes on the back foot. The hosts took a seventh-minute lead, when a run and low cross from the speedy right winger was drilled past keeper Connor McNeight from 10 yards.
Foxes responded and Shaun Smith broke clear on the left but lost control before he could cross to the unmarked Cameron Ainge.
But Melton levelled after 17 minutes when Adam Lauchlan’s shot from Ainge’s corner was blocked.. Lauchlan reacted quickly and headed against the bar before Alex Horobin nipped in to whip the loose ball home from close range.
Melton continued to threaten through Ainge on the right and Smith down the left, while several corners spelled danger for Foxes, but McNeight cleared the danger.
On the half-hour, Foxes shook Desford with a second goal when a move down the left found Smith whose driven cross low across the face of the goal was deflected past the stranded keeper by the home centre-half.
Just seconds into the second half Smith was denied by a fine save, and on the hour Desford levelled with a carbon copy of Foxes’ second goal when Lauchlan steered a cross past keeper McNeight.
George Wilkinson went close after a thrilling run, while at the other end McNeight had to dive to his right to push out a curling free-kick.
Sub Kenny Jones sent in two threatening crosses and from his corner, Lauchlan flashed a header over the bar.
McNeight scrambled to save a long-range effort just before full-time.
Smith and Horobin netted the Foxes’ opening penalties in the shoot-out before McNeight made a superb save from Desford’s third.
Jones stepped up to score easily before Desford sent their next kick high wide, allowing Lauchlan to put Melton through to round two with a calm finish.
A wonderful team performance and a deserved win over talented opponents.
Foxes: C. McNeight, C. Lovegrove, J. Nickolls, A. Lauchlan, G. Wilkinson, A. Walker, A. Horobin, L. Thorpe, C. Ainge, S. Smith, A. Kotarba, K. Jones, H. Mayes, B. Carroll.