Meltomn Hockey: First XI fightback falls short at Stratford.

Action from Melton Seconds 5-1 home defeat to Sutton Coldfield EMN-160315-125442002
Action from Melton Seconds 5-1 home defeat to Sutton Coldfield EMN-160315-125442002
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Melton HC First XI travelled to Stratford for their final away game of the season and again had to reshuffle their team due to injuries and absences.

The home side allowed Melton possession while they worked out the visitors’ formation and style of play.

Action from Melton Seconds 5-1 home defeat to Sutton Coldfield EMN-160315-125431002

Action from Melton Seconds 5-1 home defeat to Sutton Coldfield EMN-160315-125431002

Due to the changes, Melton struggled to string things together and started to come under increased pressure.

Stratford opened the scoring when they seized on a poor pass out of the Melton defence and quickly got the ball to an unmarked forward who topped his shot past the advancing Nick Eden in goal and in off the post.

The visitors were on the back foot and conceded two further goals in a five-minute spell to put the home side comfortably ahead, both goals coming from defensive mistakes as Melton tried to get their passing game together.

As Stratford eased off, the visitors continued to enjoy spells of possession, especially down the left, where Evan Larke had plenty of space.

But apart from a solitary short corner, Melton lacked a cutting edge in the final third of the pitch.

The second half began in the same vein as the first had finished, with the away side spraying the ball around the back, but without looking too threatening.

Midway through Melton created their best chance when Danny Kendall looped a ball over the Stratford defence for Mark Smith to run on to. One-on-one with the keeper, Smith’s attempted nutmeg rebounded out to Kendall whose shot forced a good save.

But with confidence growing, Melton then scored the goal of the game which started at the back. The ball was moved out to the right and quickly switched to the left and then back into the middle.

James Hewitt beat the first tackler and played a one-two with Smith before Hewitt fed Andy Sibun who in turn squared the ball for Kendall to deftly turn the ball home.

This spurred the home team back into life and some good scrambling defence kept the scoreline at 3-1.

Another error in defence cost Melton dearly as a Stratford player pounced on the loose ball, ran it into the area and crashed a shot home.

But the visitors pushed on again and deservedly scored another when Sibun rounded his man and again crossed for Kendall to deftly beat the keeper at his near post.

As the visitors pushed forward and started to tire, holes started to appear in their defensive structure, but Stratford couldn’t add to their tally.

Melton can take heart from a spirited second half performance as they entertain league winners Warwick at home in their final game of the season on Saturday (12.30pm).

* Melton Seconds ended their home league campaign on a disappointing note when they were comfortably beaten by Sutton Coldfield.

They were beaten 5-1 at Burton Road by the fifth-placed visitors to leave them ninth in East Midlands Premier, but clear of the bottom two.

The Second XI end their season at Coalville on Saturday.