Melton Mowbray were left to wonder what might have been as they let a two-goal half-time lead slip at Cottesmore Amateurs on Tuesday evening.
Seeking back-to-back Leics Senior League Premier Division wins, Melton led 3-1 at the interval, but old boys Robbie Aldridge and John Love came back to haunt them as their goals preserved Amateurs’ unbeaten start to the season.
Slick Melton had plenty of chances early on with Ash Palfreyman and Jack Baker putting efforts just wide and Dave Hazeldine testing home keeper Nathan Clare. At the other end, Richard Cragg had to save well from Jordan Smith.
Baker then hit the post after stealing possession before Lee Mann fired Melton in front after 25 minutes, finishing off a flowing move.
But five minutes later Cottesmore were level when Sean Dennigan slotted past Cragg from Danny Seals’ flick.
Clare saved well from Palfreyman, but Baker restored the lead 10 minutes before the break, and on the stroke of half-time, Baker added his second, guiding the ball home at the near post following another impressive passing move.
Melton looked to put the game beyond the home side after the break as Clare tipped Palfreyman’s shot onto the post.
But the hosts rode the storm and came back into the game. Midway through the half it was 3-2 when substitute Aldridge hit a free kick which deflected in off the wall.
Baker was put through one-one-one, but chipped wide, and within minutes Cottesmore were level when Love headed Smith’s cross into the net off a post.
Things grew worse when Melton suffered their third dismissal in as many games, James Hollis sent off for a professional foul on another former Melton man, Robbie Preira.
Love’s penalty was struck well, but Cragg produced a fine save to keep the scores level.
Even down to 10 men, Melton had a chance to snatch the points late on, but Clare again came to Cottesmore’s rescue, tipping Baker’s long-range drive around the post.
Melton: R. Cragg, S. Snow, D. Hazeldine, T. Cooper, J. Hollis, L. Mann, J. Baker, L. Ambrose (T. Thorp), Aaron Black, A. Palfreyman, A. Bishop (B. Capworth). Subs not used: J. McHugh, A. Horobin, S. Myring.