Leics Senior League Division One
MELTON MOWBRAY 1 BARLESTONE ST GILES 1
DESPITE the gloomy conditions another good crowd turned out at Saxby Road on Saturday and witnessed a great competitive game.
Melton will see this as two points dropped thanks to some refereeing decisions which they felt debatable.
The home side started very positively and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Daz Taylor was brought down in the area as he approached goal.
Melton appeared to be the hungrier with Taylor and debutant Hazeldine causing Barlestone’s defence many problems with their energy and movement.
After 10 minutes they were ahead when Mann and Taylor worked a quick free kick. The latter played in Ash Palfreyman who drove to the byline before drilling a perfect ball across the box for Hazeldine to slide the ball home from four yards.
Melton came close to extending their lead through Newton and Stainsby, while Taylor, who gave the Barlestone left-back a torrid afternoon, had a good effort saved. Barlestone tried to pump the ball forward at every opportunity, but Newton and Aldridge were commanding at the heart of Melton’s defence.
Barlestone upped their game after half-time as Melton were forced into a change when the injured Newton was replaced by Grant. Barlestone’s long ball tactics forced Melton further back, but the hosts looked strong on the counter.
The turning point came when Aldridge was sent off after fouling his opposite number and then restraining him as the Barlestone man swung a punch.
Melton reshuffled the pack with Hazeldine dropping into midfield and Palfreyman moving to defence, leaving Taylor alone up front.
Barlestone were now camped in Melton’s half, but Mann and Hill battled hard in midfield to win back possession.
With 10 minutes left, Barlestone broke through when Melton defended too deep at a throw-in, allowing their substitute too much time, and his shot looped into the top corner, beating Maycock from 25 yards.
Stapleton replaced Taylor and made an immediate impact. Mann won a great challenge in his own half and continued his run to Barlestone’s 18-yard box but just over-hit his pass to Stapleton who would have been clear.
Melton continued to look for the winner and thought they had found it when Mann’s brilliant corner was met by Palfreyman who placed a firm header over the keeper. But the ref disallowed the goal for pushing.
Melton move up to third, and next face Cosby United at home on Saturday, looking for a place in the last 16 of the County Intermediate Cup (kick-off 1pm).
Melton Mowbray Pukka Pie man-of-the-match was Daz Taylor.
Melton: H. Maycock, D. Swinson, R. Aldridge (R. Grant), D. Newton, J. Love, L. Mann (c), B. Stainsby, S. Hill, D. Hazledine, A. Palfreyman, D. Taylor (S. Stapleton)
Unused subs: H. Forfar, G. Kitchen, J. Skipper.