Melton Town got back on track with a hard-fought win against Division One leaders Raunds Town in a close encounter at Digital Deadline Park on Saturday.
The home side got off to a flying start when new signing Zac Ginvert blocked defender Gotch’s clearance, and the loose ball was collected by Josh Clark who beat Jones in the visitors’ goal from 20 yards.
Raunds responded with a good spell of pressure, but vital defensive clearances from Chris Hibbitt and Ben Lapworth denied the visitors who threatened with high balls into the box.
Melton were playing the neater football, but Raunds were almost gifted an equaliser when an under-hit backpass allowed Raunds leading scorer Ty Clark a clear run on goal.
But Charlie Taylor stood up well and got a strong hand on his effort to deny the in-form striker.
At the other end Jones made an excellent save to tip Matt Hendey’s near-post flick up and over the bar after good approach work from Jack Baker and Ginvert.
The Raunds keeper was in action again minutes later, saving well with his feet as Ginvert tested him at his near post.
And when Coser’s defence-splitting pass picked out Ginvert’s run, Jones raced from his line to spread himself and deny the lively number nine once again.
Raunds put the Melton defence under pressure with a series of corners towards half-time, but Taylor and his defence stood up well to the test.
The hosts started the second half well with Baker, Hibbitt and Mike Hendey prominent in midfield and they soon increased their lead.
Patient build-up work ended with Sheridan on the overlap who delivered a cross which Hibbitt met with a leap to head home a superb goal.
Jones was fortunate minutes later when leaving his man to clear a through ball. The alert Ginvert almost dispossessed the keeper, but the ball broke free and the referee deemed Ginvert to have committed a foul.
Melton had their keeper to thank when Clark latched on to a long ball and Taylor’s brilliant save pushed his low shot onto the outside of the post.
Both sides went close again through Clark and Ginvert before Raunds reduced the deficit from a harshly-awarded free-kick.
A cross was sent towards the towering Gotch and Russell, and the first effort was blocked by Hibbitt, but the loose ball was swept home at the far post by Townsend despite Taylor’s valiant effort to block the shot.
The visitors pushed men forward and were almost level when Clark swivelled on the edge of the box, but his shot struck the base of the post with Taylor beaten.
Melton brought on Kieran Foster, newly signed from Holwell, to help solidify the midfield and soon took advantage of this rare bit of good fortune.
Ginvert latched onto Hibbitt’s flick only to be unceremoniously brought down by Gotch on the corner of the box.
The free-kick, in a dangerous area, was superbly dispatched into the top corner past the flailing arms of Jones by Mike Hendey.
Raunds went all-out attack, but with Sheridan, Hollis, Lapworth and Coser determined not to concede another goal it was the home side who could have scored twice on the counter, Jones twice denying Matt Hendey.