Melton Hockey Club’s Third XI were edged out by the odd goal in five at Barton in a close-fought league opener on Saturday.
The visitors started brightly with Boyne, Stanley and Johnson combining well in midfield to launch some potent attacks.
And Melton took an early lead when Icely released Harrison who slotted the ball under the keeper.
Barton’s sluggish defence was having trouble coping with Melton’s quick breakaways, and the away team increased their lead when Butcher’s goalbound shot was stopped by a foot and Icely converted the resulting flick.
Melton’s experienced defence of Frederick, Shelton, Snow and Weatherdon looked in control until they were wrong-footed by an incisive pass and Barton pulled one back.
The ball was then given away in midfield and Barton took advantage to equalise.
But Melton continued to attack dangerously and Harrison again went close.
The second half was a close affair with both teams forcing penalty corners, and from one of these Barton went ahead when a deflected shot gave Cliffe no chance.
Melton continued to press and Exton had a golden chance to level from a yard out, but the ball struck his foot.
Melton: L. Cliffe, N. Shelton, H. Snow, P. Frederick, G. Wetherdon, C. Johnson, S. Stanley, D. Boyne, J. Butcher, S. Harrison, N. Icely (c), G. Exton.
* Melton’s Fourth XI sent out a blend of youth and experience against a predominantly young Barton side and eased to a 4-0 win.
Keeper Tension was largely untroubled as the experienced back three of Hunn, Taylor and Pearson held sway.
This gave Melton’s youngsters the chance to experience league hockey and to set up some great attacking opportunities.
The home side took a one-goal lead into half-time, but it could have been many more.
The second half was very much one-way traffic with youngsters Adam John and Jacob Welch having good games.
Taylor increased Melton’s lead with a trademark drag-flick before Buttery smashed in a third.
Melton completed a deserved win with a fourth goal just before the finish.
Melton: A. Tension, G. Hunn, P. Taylor, D. Pearson, S. Major, A. John, J. Welch, Z. Whitaker, J. Smith, M. Jones, N. Buttery, A. Base, J. Spencer.