Melton Mowbray edged out by Bardon Hill in County Cup semi-final

Melton Mowbray FC in their change strip, sponsored by Engineered Air Treatment Ltd EMN-150417-113750002
Melton Mowbray FC in their change strip, sponsored by Engineered Air Treatment Ltd EMN-150417-113750002
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Proud Melton produced a fantastic performance against East Midlands Counties League high-flyers Bardon Hill last Wednesday.

Mowbray began very positively, moving the ball very well and taking the game to Bardon, and Jack Baker nearly opened the scoring, flashing a shot just wide after a jinking run.

Bardon were very direct and scored from their first attack when a long ball was headed into the path of Hanslow who fired past Cragg.

Bardon continued to play the long ball, but Palfreyman was in excellent form in defence, and Melton had plenty of possession as they dominated midfield.

Palfreyman spun and fired a fierce cross across the box, but no-one could apply the final touch. Aidan Black then found himself in space on the right after a good passing move, but his shot from 12 yards was just wide of the near post.

Aaron Black almost capitalised on a back pass when his pace took him in between the defender and keeper, but again his shot was agonisingly wide. But five minutes before the break the striker found a richly deserved equaliser.

Bishop’s fine pass set Black free on the left and having beaten the offside trap, he sprinted past the Bardon right-back and sent a neat finish past Martin.

Melton then went ahead on the stroke of half-time when Lee Mann’s corner was firmly headed in by former Bardon player Leon Fray.

Bardon upped their game in the second half as their midfield took a grip on the game, but the Senior League leaders still looked comfortable in defence.

Aaron Black sent a great ball across the box, but Jack Baker couldn’t quite reach it with the goal at his mercy. Aaron Black’s pace again took him past the Bardon right-back and his effort from 10 yards hit the post.

Bardon immediately hit Melton on the counter to equalise with 14 minutes left, Hart’s half-volley from the edge of the area finding the corner of the net after another long ball.

Mowbray were hit with another blow in the 80th minute when Hart was left unmarked at the back post and cut back inside to fire past Cragg.

Melton were left exposed as they pressed, and they conceded twice more as they reverted to three at the back. First sub Caulpin smashed in a volley from eight yards before Fell struck from just inside the area.

Aidan Black grabbed a consolation goal, after he was neatly played in by Palfreyman, but the cup dream was over.

Melton were certainly not outclassed, proving they could hold their own at this level.

Mowbray: R. Cragg, T. Cooper, Levi Fray, Leon Fray, A. Palfreyman, L. Mann (c), J. Baker (D. Hazeldine), A. Bishop, Aidan Black, B. Stainsby (S. Stapleton), Aaron Black. Subs not used: J. Love, G. Williamson, S. Tattersall.