Melton Hockey Club First XI had a disappointing return to action as they lost to a strong Players side who sit second in the table.
The hosts were good value for their half-time lead after dominating the first half.
Chances had been hard to come by for the visitors, with the Players’ goalkeeper fortunate to concede just once from Hewitt’s drag-flick via a penalty corner.
The game remained tight after half-time, but it turned on a piece of misfortune for the home side.
A tame drag-flick from the visitors took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Brown, causing the ball to end up beyond Eden and in the Melton net.
The goal knocked the wind out of Melton’s sails, and two more rapid goals followed from the well-organised Players visitors who finally showed why they are challenging for promotion.
Despite the setbacks, Melton refused to lie down and another Hewitt drag-flick sailed past the visiting goalie who once again failed to deal with a straight shot.
But despite mounting pressure, the home side couldn’t find the equaliser.
Two more short corners beat the Players keeper, but while one whistled past the post, the other was well saved on the line by a covering defender.
The game could have gone either way, but Players showed their resolve to sneak the points, leaving Melton seventh in the East Midlands Premier.
On Saturday, the First XI are on the road as they travel to North Notts for a 2pm start.