Senior League decision revives Melton’s promotion hopes

Melton FC players and coaching staff with Melton Borough Council's Ronan Browne at their new ground EMN-160420-084105002
Melton FC players and coaching staff with Melton Borough Council's Ronan Browne at their new ground EMN-160420-084105002
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Melton Mowbray’s fading promotion hopes were given a major boost just two days after moving into their new home.

On Monday, the Leicestershire Senior League sanctioned an extra promotion place, opening the way to step six football for Melton next season.

Melton Mowbray FC made it a winning start at Burton Road with a 5-2 win over Allexton and New Parks EMN-160420-084052002

Melton Mowbray FC made it a winning start at Burton Road with a 5-2 win over Allexton and New Parks EMN-160420-084052002

With just one team due to go up and rival promotion candidates Birstall almost out of sight, Melton thought their chances had gone despite having their new ground at Burton Road passed fit for higher league football.

Their fate now rests with the Football Association, but their approval would send the team up to the East Midlands Counties league or United Counties League.

Chairman Sam Ellis said: “It’s an unprecedented decision. There are no guarantees, but the door is now open a little after it looked closed to us.

“I’m quietly confident. The UCL is in our boundaries and they need extra teams.”

Ash Palfreyman scored Melton's landmark first goal at their new ground EMN-160420-125209002

Ash Palfreyman scored Melton's landmark first goal at their new ground EMN-160420-125209002

The club marked their debut at Melton Sports Village with a 5-2 win over Allexton and New Parks on Saturday.

The result left Melton third in the Senior League, seven points behind leaders Birstall with just three games to go.

Saturday marked the end of a long road for Ellis and co-managers Matt Curtis and Cliff Thornton after years of campaigning for a ground good enough to meet their ambitions on the pitch.

The new facility is intended to be a temporary move while a 400-seater stadium, to be shared with Melton Rugby Club, is built.

Ellis added: “I am very impressed with the ground. They are saying by rights it will be our second ground.

“The stadium would be at least level four so there’s no stopping the team from going as far as we can.”

Melton relished the improved playing surface on Saturday as they looked to impress on their return to the town after three seasons in Asfordby.

Jake Wain and Kieran Clayton both went close before Ash Palfreyman scored the landmark first goal on 17 minutes, placing a firm shot into the corner.

Palfreyman then turned provider as he squared the ball for Adam Bishop to smash home.

Shannon Myring completed the first-half scoring when he bravely prodded under the keeper from Aidan Black’s assist.

Allexton started the second half better, but were fortunate to score when Clayton looked to have been pushed in the build-up.

Wain’s free-kick rattled the bar from 25 yards and Aidan Black’s effort also struck the woodwork before Jack Baker made it four, finishing off a great move with a top finish from the edge of the area.

The visitors scored a second consolation when Melton’s defence switched off, but Wain completed the rout with a deserved goal, scoring from close range after the keeper spilled a shot.