United Counties League: Melton Town up to seventh as Palfreyman strikes again

Richard Cragg was man-of-the-match for Town at Stewarts EMN-161209-092245002
Richard Cragg was man-of-the-match for Town at Stewarts EMN-161209-092245002
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A hard-fought win at second-bottom Stewarts on Tuesday evening lifted Melton Town to a season-high position of seventh in Division One.

Jack Baker was missing through work commitments and Kieron Clayton dropped to the bench after his car broke down on the way to Corby, and Tommy Byrne and Shannon Myring came in.

Melton Town boss Tony Thorpe (right) and assistant manager Ross Perkins EMN-160726-182823002

Melton Town boss Tony Thorpe (right) and assistant manager Ross Perkins EMN-160726-182823002

Melton attacked uphill in the first half and started better as Bishop and Myring bossed midfield. Their first real effort came after 14 minutes when Byrne spotted home keeper Roggero off his line, but his audacious 40-yard chip was tipped over the bar.

Cufflin-Stableford looked lively again on the left, linking play well with Palfreyman who blasted over from a tight angle.

Cragg was called into action when Rodriguez burst through, but the Town keeper made a decent save to deny the pacey forward from eight yards.

Melton went ahead after 25 minutes when Love and Byrne interchanged passes on the right. Byrne played the ball back to Horobin whose perfect ball into the area allowed Palfreyman to chest the ball down and fired in a sweet half-volley from 16 yards for his 10th goal of the season.

Makeshift centre-half Ben Lapworth was having a great game and looked composed on the ball to give Melton a great platform to build from defence.

Cragg again came to the rescue in a one-on-one with Hall, and Byrne then hit the bar from 25 yards on the stroke of half-time.

Stewards began the second half much more determined and Melton had to work hard and defend well as a team.

Horobin’s good volley from 16 yards forced a save before Clayton replaced Byrne on the hour with Lapworth moving back into midfield and Bishop pushing further forward.

And Bishop nearly made it 2-0 when Cufflin-Stableford played him through on goal, but the keeper saved well.

Lapworth’s delightful ball played in Palfreyman whose fierce strike was again well saved, and Cufflin-Stableford was next to try his luck when he cut inside from the left, but the keeper again saved the shot.

Stewarts continued to play some decent football as they knocked on the Town door.

Palfreyman made space for himself on the right to roll the defender and race clear, but his effort was saved and the rebound didn’t quite fall for sub Shaun Smith and Bishop’s effort was deflected for another corner.

Melton hung on for a well-deserved clean sheet to extend their unbeaten run to four matches.

Potters Carpets man-of-the-match was shared between Richard Cragg and Shannon Myring.

Town: Cragg, Horobin, Mann (c), Lapworth, Slater, Cufflin-Stableford (Smith), Love, Myring, Palfreyman, Byrne (Clayton), Bishop.