United Counties League: Melton Town down high-flying Whitworths

Jordan Cufflin-Stableford's double gave Town the points against Wellingborough EMN-160310-092809002
Jordan Cufflin-Stableford's double gave Town the points against Wellingborough EMN-160310-092809002
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A brace of goals by Jordan Cufflin-Stableford helped Melton notch a tremendous home win over third-placed Wellingborough Whitworths on Saturday.

Manager Tony Thorpe made several changes from the team which lost at Long Buckby as Town returned to their Digital Deadline Park home after five weeks on the road.

Jack Baker keeps his eye on the ball against Whitworths

Jack Baker keeps his eye on the ball against Whitworths

Keeper Ash King took over in goal, while Steve Truman came into the starting line-up and Jack Baker came back after suspension.

Torrential rain greeted the team’s return home for much of the match, but despite the adverse conditions, Melton looked the sharper team from the start.

Within three minutes a superb right-wing move ended with Tom Byrne crossing a superb low ball in for Adam Bishop to slide into the visitors’ net, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Shannon Myring then sent Cufflin-Stableford clear down the left, and his low cross flashed across the face of the goal with Ash Palfreyman and Truman unable to add the finishing touch.

Town finally got the breakthrough they deserved after 20 minutes when clever interplay between Slater, Baker and Palfreyman resulted in a Byrne cross which caught keeper Baxter off his line. Cufflin-Stableford cleverly stroked the ball home from an acute angle.

Whitworths hit back, but keeper King dealt easily with several long balls and crosses.

Town were soon on the attack again with Palfreyman firing wide and Cufflin-Stableford getting in two dangerous crosses.

And it came as no surprise when Town went two-up on the half-hour mark after another good move down the left.

It ended with a superb cross to the far post by Cufflin-Stableford and Truman was there with a sliding finish which sent the desperate full-back Alcindor and ball into the back of the net.

Seemingly in control, Melton took their foot off the pedal and paid the penalty five minutes before the break when a long cross from the right was headed home by Dyson from close range.

Play evened out after the break, but Town still carried the greater threat and Palfreyman created a good opening in the 55th minute only to fire high and wide of the mark.

The visitors forced two corners as they pushed for an equaliser, but King collected both safely before punching a curling cross clear from the left.

Town forced the pace and it was fitting that Cufflin-Stableford added his second and Town’s third goal after 65 minutes.

The winger collected the ball on the edge of the area before firing home past the helpless keeper.

But the two-goal cushion was reduced once again in the 75th minute when another cross caught the hosts napping and Hall was allowed to score with a close-range header.

Town introduced Lapworth, Gentleman and John Love during the second half and with eight minutes remaining Love finally put the game out of Wellingborough’s reach.

The striker caught out Wellingborough’s extravagant keeper Baxter who continually raced from his line or dribbled clear. But trying this tactic once too often, Love robbed him before slotting the ball home.

A positive performance by Thorpe’s team which kept their mid-table position of 11th. They remain just seven points off the leaders, and know another good run could promote them into the mix at the end of the season.

Town are at home again on Saturday with the visit of Bourne Town (kick-off 3pm) followed by the Town’s opening floodlit match at Digital Deadline Park against Premier League team Harborough Town in the league cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Matchball sponsor: My Guy Clothing.

Town: A. King, K. Clayton, L. Mann, J. Slater, T. Byrne, A. Bishop, J. Baker, S. Myring, J. Cufflin-Stableford, A. Palfreyman, S. Truman, B. Lapworth, G. Gentleman, J. Love.