Senior League: Melton Mowbray title hopes hit by back-to-back defeats

Kieran Clayton tries to track back as Blaby threaten EMN-160604-095037002

Kieran Clayton tries to track back as Blaby threaten EMN-160604-095037002

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Back-to-back defeats have left Melton Mowbray’s Senior League title chances hanging by a thread.

A slender 1-0 home loss to Blaby and Whetstone Reserves on Saturday was swiftly followed by another reverse - only their fifth in the league this season - by the odd goal in five at Saffron on Tuesday evening.

Ash Palfreyman gets his foot to the ball during the 1-0 defeat to Blaby and Whetstone Athletic Reserves EMN-160604-095048002

Ash Palfreyman gets his foot to the ball during the 1-0 defeat to Blaby and Whetstone Athletic Reserves EMN-160604-095048002

The narrow defeats left Melton trailing second-placed Birstall by seven points, with all of their games in hand gone, with just five games to go, and eight adrift of table-toppers Sileby Town.

This Saturday’s trip to the leaders (kick-off 3pm) has now become a must-win match for Matt Curtis and Cliff Thornton’s side.

But even three points there would require further slip-ups from the top two if they are to be overhauled in the run-in.

Melton were firm favourites going into Saturday’s home match with a fourth-placed Blaby side whom they had thrashed just four days before in the reverse fixture.

Mowbray had produced their best performance of the season at Warwick Road to put five unanswered goals past Blaby. But they could not break down their top four rivals on Saturday after falling behind to Darren Wheeler’s first-half strike.

Worse was to follow on the tricky trip to Saffron for a re-arranged midweek fixture.

David Hazeldine struck for Melton in the first half, but the visitors trailed 2-1 at half-time.

Jake Wain was also on target after the break, but Saffron edged the match 3-2 to further dent their chances of going up.

Melton had their ground inspection on Tuesday and their promotion hopes could rely on it.

Approval for their new temporary home at Burton Road and a failed inspection at Birstall, could yet see them playing step six football next season regardless of league position.