Melton Foxes hosted Mowbray Rangers on Sunday morning eager to avenge a 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.
Rangers were the in-form side with eight wins from nine in the league, but travelled without several players due to injury and had to draft volunteer Darby-McCellard into goalkeeping duties. They would miss his pace in defence against a fast Foxes attack.
Rangers’ passing created some early half-chances, but they were well marshalled by the Foxes defence.
Worby, in particular, had two players on him as soon as he received the ball, but still made some headway with through balls.
Tyler saw a shot well-saved by the in-form Foxes keeper, but Rangers did not have it all their own way and needed last-ditch tackles as defence-splitting passes put Creed and Young through.
Rangers had a period of pressure and when Roscoe beat two players, his chipped pass was stopped by a handball and flagged by the Foxes linesman, but the referee did not respond, and as the Rangers players stopped playing, the Foxes played to the whistle, with Young finishing neatly from a fast counter-attack for 1-0.
With Rangers still distracted by the handball, they then conceded a penalty when the quick feet of Creed enticed a clumsy challenge, which he punished with a powerful spot kick into the top of the net.
Darby-McCellard made an excellent stop with his feet to prevent a third before half-time.
Grant’s introduction for Rangers had an impact, linking well with Worby, and he sent a hard low drive just past the upright.
At half time Rangers came off deflated and the visitors moved things around to try and hit back and they came more and more into the game.
Bartley’s lob from just past the halfway line just dropped the wrong side of the bar with the keeper beaten, and minutes later Worby slotted home Grant’s cross with characteristic neat footwork.
Bartley made a timely challenge to prevent Young from running through again, and then hit a free-kick which forced a good save after Grant’s twisting run was halted illegally.
The game became scrappy and Rangers moved Homewood forward to link the midfield with attack and hold the ball up.
This worked well, but Foxes’ deep-=lying defence held on, and with two minutes left, the hosts Foxes broke from their goalmouth with two quick passes which bypassed midfield and allowed the excellent Young to slot home and kill the game.
The game was played with a good spirit from both sides, but the result dented Rangers title hopes as they dropped to third with a game in hand.