Melton Town denied by late Raunds equaliser

Aiden Black was inches away from  crucial second goal for Melton EMN-170221-105246002

Aiden Black was inches away from crucial second goal for Melton EMN-170221-105246002

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Mid-table rivals Melton Town and Raunds Town shared the spoils after an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Melton Sports Village on Saturday.

The home side had new signings Joe Cooper and Grant Ryder making their debuts, and Ryder was quick to make an impression as he won possession and slid a good pass inside Wills to Aaron Black whose near-post effort was saved by Looker.

Raunds were playing with three up front, but they were well marshalled by Tom and Joe Cooper and Kieron Clayton.

Melton’s Jack Baker was denied by Looker’s fine save, low down to his left, while Fowler was unlucky for the visitors when his shot from distance struck the outside of the upright.

A strong run from deep by Melton skipper Tom Cooper ended with a powerful effort rising above the bar.

Melton took a deserved lead just before the break when Ryder’s near-post corner was flicked on by Aaron Black and forced home from close range by Alex Horobin.

The second half saw Melton press hard for the next goal with Aiden Black inches away from steering Aaron Black’s cross home.

Horobin’s downward header was then brilliantly saved by Looker and the keeper excelled again, blocking well from Ben Lapworth.

With time running out Raunds levelled when Melton switched off from a throw-in, allowing Harrison the time to cross and top scorer Townsend ghosted in to head home unchallenged.

Co-manager Steve Hendey said: “Tony (Thorpe – manager) and myself felt for the lads as we thought we’d done enough to take all three points.

“We certainly looked a more compact unit with the new additions to the side and had a strong bench as well.

“We’re pleased with the progress being made, unfortunately today we met a keeper in top form, but we also gave possession away too cheaply in the last half-an-hour.”

Melton dropped a place to 12th, but the point extends their good recent run to just one defeat in five.

Town have a blank weekend in the league schedule, but return on Saturday, March 4 with a testing trip to title challengers Buckingham Town who currently lie third (kick-off 3pm).