Melton Mowbray beat Barlestone to go three points clear

Melton celebrate another goal during their 4-2 win against Barlestone on Saturday EMN-150223-112419002
Melton celebrate another goal during their 4-2 win against Barlestone on Saturday EMN-150223-112419002

Melton pulled three points clear at the top of the Senior League after a hard-fought win over Barlestone at Hoby Road on Saturday.

Mowbray started very well and opened the scoring with their first attack after only three minutes.

A good passing move was capped by Gav Williamson’s great ball across the area for David Hazeldine who scored with a neat strike.

The home side made it 2-0 four minutes later when Adam Bishop put Stefan Stapleton clean through on goal and the striker placed a firm shot into the corner of the net.

Melton became lazy and allowed Barlestone back into the game on 25 minutes when the hosts didn’t challenge for a corner and the ball was headed back across goal where Nathan McAllister tapped in.

Melton then committed too many players forward for a corner and Barlestone equalised on the counter-attack.

Tom Cooper found himself isolated against two forwards, allowing them to work the ball for Damian Irons to fire past the helpless Richard Cragg.

After a few stern words at half-time, Mowbray came out looking a different side and with their first attack won a corner. Aiden Black delivered a cross which curled straight into the net with a little help from the wind.

The hosts continued to dominate and Ben Stainsby and Black had further chances, but failed to convert.

Stainsby then received his marching orders after reacting badly to a foul from behind which the referee deemed worthy of a straight red card.

Barlestone threw everything at Melton and they pushed men forward.

But Hazeldine made the game safe in the dying minutes when Williamson put him clean through on goal to fire past the visitors’ keeper.

The three points were given added gloss after the full-time whistle when news filtered through of second-placed Sileby’s first league defeat of the season, 2-1 at Rothley.

Sileby trail Melton by three points, but with three games in hand.

Man-of-the-match, sponsored by Airport Direct, was Kieron Clayton.

Melton: Cragg. Love, Williamson, Cooper (c).Palfrayman. Bishop, Baker (Gerraghty), Clayton. Stapleton (Stainsby). Hazeldine. Black.