Melton Mowbray’s young reserve side made a fine start to 2016 as they fought back from 2-0 down to earn a point at Earl Shilton on Saturday.
In-form Earl Shilton sat second in the league and had already beaten Melton 4-2 in the pre-Christmas fixture at Asfordby.
Both teams started well in what soon became an open game with each side cancelling the other out in the final third.
The defence of Lewis, Wilkinson, Horobin and Lauchlan, three of whom are just 16, held firm and denied the home side any chances.
Gavin and Clayton held the midfield together well, and as the game progressed, so did Melton’s confidence.
Snow and Hazeldine were lively and wingers Newton and Botelho exploited the space down both sides.
But from a Melton corner, Earl Shilton broke away and found their forward who cleverly rounded keeper Evison and won himself a penalty. The spot kick was dispatched well to give the home side the lead.
They double their advantage soon after with a second breakaway goal.
However, their first half performance gave Melton confidence after the break, and within five minutes Newton linked up well with Snow who fired the visitors back into the game.
Baker made his debut at half-time but was then forced off injured after just 15 minutes and replaced by Lovegrove.
The home team used all three substitutes and changed formation to try and kill off the game, but it was Melton who created the better chances.
Clayton’s header from a corner almost found the net and with 20 minutes left, Hazeldine collected the ball in the area and calmly rounded the keeper to stroke the ball into the net.
Melton continued to work hard as a team and did well to hold on for the draw.
They host Barlestone Reserves on Saturday at Hoby Road, Asfordby (kick-off 2pm).
Melton: Evison, Lewis, Wilkinson (c), Horobin, Laughlan, Botelho, Clayton, Gavin, Newton, Snow, Hazeldine. Subs: Baker, Lovegrove.