Melton Town end positive season with fourth straight win

Aaron Black drew Town level at Lutterworth EMN-170418-102659002
Aaron Black drew Town level at Lutterworth EMN-170418-102659002

Melton Town rounded off their debut United Counties League season in a highly-creditable ninth with a well-earned fourth straight win at Lutterworth on Monday.

A first-half goal from Aaron Black and a second half super strike from John Love helped Town complete the double over their mid-table rivals.

With manager Steve Hendey out through illness, vice-chairman Howard Eggleston stepped into the dugout with committee man Paul Teare taking on the trainer’s role.

Aaron Black’s early miss proved costly as the home side hit the front after five minutes when a close-range glancing header from a corner beat a startled Richard Cragg.

Five minutes later the Town keeper leaped to turn a fierce free-kick over the bar as the hosts pressed, but Melton reacted well with Ash Palfreyman behind several good moves as they began to find holes in Lutterworth’s defence.

And they were level after 15 minutes when full-back Levi Fray advanced down the right and fed Jordan Chamberlain. His first cross was blocked, but the winger recovered to send in another cross which was headed on by Love to Aaron Black who headed past the helpless keeper from six yards.

Town began to dictate play and Love looked a certain scorer when put clean through by Mike Hendey, but the striker saw his final shot deflected by the post by the keeper.

Black then broke on the left and whipped in a tremendous low cross which Palfreyman dummied, but Love just failed to get a touch.

Chamberlain then broke clear down the right, but lost control with Love and Black clear in front of goal.

The visitors continued to have the upper hand after the break and should have taken the lead in the 50th minute when Love broke clear only to shoot into the side-netting.

With Melton’s defence of Fray, Horobin, Mann and Aiden Black looking more and more in control, the visitors pushed forward and Love again fired wide from 12 yards.

But the hard-working striker soon made amends when he put Melton ahead with a sensational strike, collecting a ball 25 yards out and, spotting the keeper off his line, calmly volleyed the ball over him.

Town kept creating chances and missing them just as easily.

Love fired into the side-netting from close range after being teed up by Chamberlain who then repeated this finish when well placed.

Chamberlain was then denied by a fingertip save, and seconds later he drove into the side-netting from close range before firing high, wide and handsome, from Black’s pull back.

Liam Ambrose replaced the injured Black on the left and he, too, found himself clean through, only to take a touch too many and allow the keeper to save.

With time slipping away, Melton almost paid for all of their missed chances when Cragg was forced into a fine diving save to his right to keep out a free-kick from the edge of the box.

And with seconds remaining, another free-kick was pushed through and when the defence failed to clear for once, Cragg saved the day with three successive blocks.

Despite this late rally, Town fully deserved the three points and, but for a succession of missed chances would have ran out convincing winners.

The whole team performed well, giving hope for next season following five wins out of six since Hendey took charge.

Town: R. Cragg, L. Fray, A. Horobin, L. Mann, Aiden Black, A. Palfreyman, M. Hendey, K. Clayton, Aaron Black, J. Chamberlain, J. Love,