Defeat at Belper United as Melton Town boss rests players ahead of play-offs

With their place in the UCL Premier North play-offs secure, Melton Town rested players as they went down 3-0 at Belper United on Saturday, writes Sam Ellis.
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They now head for Kimberley MW on Saturday in their final away game of the regular season as, having secured fourth place, they try to finish third and earn a home game in the play-offs.

Player-manager Tom Manship made four changes to his starting line-up in order to rest a few players.

The first attempt on goal came in the fourth minute when John-Edwards, from inside his own half, tried to catch the keeper off his line with a shot which just missed the target.

Melton boss Tom Manship - resting players ahead of play-offs.Melton boss Tom Manship - resting players ahead of play-offs.
Melton boss Tom Manship - resting players ahead of play-offs.

Melton dominated the early possession but Belper's high line was catching the visitors out with the offside flag going up into double figures.

The hosts' first chance fell in the 26th minute when a free kick was delivered by Dale to the back post where Robinson found himself free but his header was directed straight at Harrison.

Melton went straight up the other end and John-Edwards won an aerial battle and ran onto his own knock down. He rounded the keeper and from a tight angle, sent the ball across the goal line which shaved the far post.

The very next attack saw Belper taking the lead.

A ball through the defence had Johnson beating the offside trap and slotting the ball past Harrison.

Johnson almost doubled the lead within minutes when he beat McRory in a 50-50 and went clear on goal only for Harrison to race out and smother the ball.

Tefera had a speculative shot from 22 yards out which went inches wide.

Melton came out in the second half with more purpose.

Mulvaney had an effort from the edge of the area which was well saved by Roberts and Calver had a pop shot which went close.

Then with Belper's first attack of the second half, Tefera collected the ball out wide and drove across the edge of the box before firing in a low shot which squirmed under Harrison and into the corner of the net.

A ball over the top to Calver saw him knock it ont to Anderson, whose first time shot was well saved by Roberts.

Belper nearly extended their lead on the hour when Booth-Davis beat the defence for pace and his shot was cleared off the line by Khalis Gore.

Dube then had a powerful shot from 20 yards out that went just wide.

The game was put to bed in the 82nd minute when Dale had a low shot that needed a Harrison to make a great save, only for the rebound to fall to Steadman to plant in the bottom corner.

Dale almost made it four but for a point blank save from Harrison.

Belper deserved the win, they were good in defence and took all their chances.

Melton will continue to use their whole squad in readiness for the play-offs so it’s performance rather than results that matter.