United Counties League: Melton Town pipped by leaders Bugbrooke

Shannon Myring gets up well to challenge for Town EMN-161025-103726002
Shannon Myring gets up well to challenge for Town EMN-161025-103726002
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Bugbrooke edged out Melton Town in the battle between the UCL’s two in-form sides on Saturday in a match which did not disappoint.

Melton flew out of the traps and looked to have won a penalty with their first attack when Jordan Cufflin-Stableford drove into the area and between two defenders.

Town keeper Richard Cragg intervenes bravely against Bugbrooke EMN-161025-103702002

Town keeper Richard Cragg intervenes bravely against Bugbrooke EMN-161025-103702002

When Cufflin-Stableford was brought down by a trailing leg and the referee blew his whistle, the home fans prepared for a spot kick.

But after consulting the linesman, the referee awarded a free-kick to the opposition, much to the bemusement of the home side.

From the resulting free-kick, Shannon Myring won the ball in midfield and found Cufflin-Stableford who played a delicious ball into the area for Tommy Byrne.

His first-time volley went under the keeper and into the net, but the linesman flagged for offside with the home side protesting that a Bugbrooke defender was playing Byrne onside.

Bugbrooke went back to the top of the UCL Division One with three points at Melton EMN-161025-103715002

Bugbrooke went back to the top of the UCL Division One with three points at Melton EMN-161025-103715002

Melton continued to push forward and dominated the opening 15 minutes as the game was played at a cracking pace.

Bugbrooke nearly opened the scoring with their first real chance when their lively forward Duffy found space and hit a good shot towards the corner of the net. But Cragg saved smartly, pushing the shot away one-handed.

The game became end-to-end, but was also littered with an awful lot of whistles from the referee as neither team found the opening goal.

Town were again the brighter of the teams at the start of the second half and Myring was denied by a decent save from Oldham.

Bugbrooke looked dangerous on the counter and on 58 minutes opened the scoring when Melton switched off and Duffy was allowed time to fire past Cragg.

The home side went for all-out attack as they tried in vain to find a equaliser.

Palfreyman was unlucky when his shot was saved at the far post and Love then narrowly headed over.

The game was still continuously interrupted by the whistle. And the referee made another decision which proved unpopular with the home fans when he showed Gus Gentlemen what appeared a harsh yellow card with 11 minutes left and then sent him off in the 90th minute.

MM Pics Man-of-the-Match was Cufflin-Stableford.

The win took Bugbrooke back to the summit of Division One, while Melton stayed fifth, still only six points off top spot.

Town turn their attentions to the county cup tonight (Tuesday) when they visit Anstey Nomads in round two of the Jelson Homes Senior Cup (kick-off 7.30pm).

Saturday brings a tough league trip to eighth-placed Wellingborough Whitworths who have scored 30 goals in eight UCL home matches this season. Kick-off is 3pm.

Town: Cragg, Lapworth (Love), Clayton, Mann, Myring, Bishop, Gentlemen, Byrne, Palfreyman, Truman (Baker), Cufflin-Stableford.