Senior League: Will Melton Mowbray make it third time lucky?

Melton Mowbray joint-managers Cliff Thornton (left) and Matt Curtis EMN-160601-115424002
Melton Mowbray joint-managers Cliff Thornton (left) and Matt Curtis EMN-160601-115424002
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Melton Mowbray joint-manager Matt Curtis believes big pre-Christmas results have proven his side have what it takes to secure the Senior League title.

Almost halfway through their league programme, Melton lie handily-placed in third and on a good run of eight wins from their last nine Premier Division games.

Melton Mowbraty 5-1 Cottesmore Amateurs EMN-151229-121419002

Melton Mowbraty 5-1 Cottesmore Amateurs EMN-151229-121419002

The only blip in the run appeared a potentially significant one as they were beaten 2-0 at home by title rivals Birstall.

But following an encouraging 2-1 win at promotion-chasing Ingles, Melton restored their title credentials with a superb 3-2 win at Birstall, the only points United have dropped at home this season.

Curtis insists double headers against leaders Sileby and fourth-placed Blaby and Whetstone Athletic Reserves will be crucial to their chances of going one better than their back-to-back runners-up spots.

“We have got a solid back four or five now since Emi (Chiavetta) signed from Rothley and came in at left-back,” he said.

“Kieran (Foster) has also come in on the wing and has an eye for goal and Jack Baker has been immense for us in the last four games.

“I think we can kick on now, the last three results have proven that, and we just have to take that attitude into the rest of the season.”

The customary slow start to the campaign saw Melton stunned 5-1 at Rothley on opening day.

Before August was out, further points were dropped in high-scoring draws at Cottesmore and, controversially, second-bottom Lutterworth Athletic Reserves who were docked a point for fielding an ineligible player.

Last season, home and away defeats to eventual champions Sileby proved crucial as Melton finished three points adrift.

But if Mowbray needed a morale boost, the imminent long-awaited move back into Melton could give them an edge for their run-in.

The pitch at their new temporary home at Burton Road will be fit for play once the weather improves, possibly in time for Sileby’s visit on February 13.

Melton’s chances will also be enhanced this year by their strength in depth.

The squad has been bolstered by a new reserves side, largely taken from Melton Foxes’ successful under 17s team.

Curtis added: “At the moment we’ve got one or two players too many, but obviously that helps.

“It’s been difficult for the Reserves but then we knew it would be because they are young lads. What is pleasing is that three or four of them have made their senior debuts for us. I was really impressed with Will Newton, he is one hell of a player.

“I think they are all capable, they are just missing that bit of experience.”

But what could be their most crucial signing came last month when John Webster joined Curtis and co-manager Cliff Thornton behind the scenes.

Webster knows what it takes to win the Senior League having guided Rothley to back-to-back titles in recent years.

“We brought him in to give us a bit more on the coaching side and the lads have taken to him,” Curtis said. “He has brought a different dimension to our play.

“A lot depends on Birstall, but Sileby probably have the advantage because they have got the points on the board.

“But we have only lost two games this season and now we have to put another run together.”