Melton Town lost away from home for a third straight time as they succumbed 3-2 to Eastwood in Nottinghamshire on Saturday, writes Adam Etheridge.
The Reds gifted Eastwood the lead when an errant pass at the back was easily intercepted by Ayleal Dill, who found Kamani Wilson in acres of space, allowing him to calmly place it past Bill Harrison for a fourth minute lead.
Melton didn’t dwell on the mistake and responded by calming stroking the ball around, maintaining possession and working their way in to the opposition box.
Zak Munton worked space for a shot in the ninth minute, resulting in a corner for Melton Town.
Eastwood couldn’t clear the ball as it came in low across the face of goal where Henry Eze was on hand to smash home his fourth goal of the season.
Eastwood were starting to wobble as Melton’s high press forced a series of mistakes, debutant Mason Lee won possession high and found Tom Harris in the box but his shot was narrowly wide.
The home side began to stabilise and were having success on the break, forcing a couple of good saves from Harrison but Melton were continuing to apply pressure at the other end and would have led but for some desperate last gasp defending.
Finally, shortly before the half hour mark, that pressure became too much and Harris’ ball across the face of goal was turned in to his own net by Cal Jones.
The Reds continued to push forward, looking for a third goal.
Eastwood centre half Jacob Sturgess foiled an attack with a heavy foul that saw him booked, but could easily have seen him dismissed. The resulting free kick was met by the head of Eze, but his effort only found the side-netting.
Against the run of play, Eastwood were presented with a second goal when Eze headed back to Harrison, unaware that the keeper had come out.
The opportunistic Wilson found himself gifted with the ball and an empty net, making no mistake as his second strike of the day levelled the scores before the break.
At the restart Melton flew out of the blocks, determined to take all three points as Owen Storey’s shot was charged down and both Munton and Luther Munakandafa drew saves from Warren Squires in the opening few minutes.
However, it was the hosts that would be able to find the back of the net when, in the 51st minute, Dill pounced after a series of balls in to the box which Town couldn’t get clear.
Eastwood enjoyed their best spell of possession after the goal and had a clear upper hand until around the hour mark when Melton utilised their substitutes and wrestled back control of the match.
Munton continued to cause problems but was again denied by an inspired Squires.
Patrick Fini pushed further forward as Town exerted more pressure, the Dutch defender causing all manner of problem in the Eastwood area.
Lee almost put an exclamation on his debut performance but his shot from the edge of the box sailed narrowly over the bar with 15 minutes to play.
Syme Mulvany consistently ran at an increasingly packed home defence, but he too was denied by Squires as Eastwood began to try and slow the game down and hang on to all three points.
The final chance of the match came after Munton had a shot blocked, resulting in a corner.
He went out to take the set-piece himself and almost curled the ball in under the crossbar directly, but yet again, Squires was alert to the danger and snagged the ball out of the air.
An entertaining match played at a blistering pace by both sides on a warm spring afternoon came to a close with Melton camped outside the Eastwood box, unable to find a way through.
Town will be looking to bounce back as they return to Sign Right Park on Saturday to host Heanor Town.
Melton have been in great form at the Sports Village, winning three in a row, and will hope to continue that form as they push for a top five finish in an impressive debut at step five.