Melton Foxes 1-2 Blaby and Whetstone

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A goalkeeping calamity in the dying moments robbed the Foxes of a point against high-flying opponents in their first New Year match.

On a fogbound, chilly afternoon Blaby started better and their slick passing had the hosts on the back foot, but skipper Joe Nickolls and George Wilkinson cleared several dangerous attacks.

Centre forward Shaun Smith broke down the left and put a dangerous ball across goal, while stand-in keeper Chris Lovegrove pushed out a fierce shot from 12 yards.

After 15 minutes the visitors took a deserved lead when the Foxes conceded possession on the edge of the area.

Blaby maintained the pressure, but the Foxes defence kept them out with tremendous last-ditch tackles.

The visitors then scrambled Kenny Jones’ dangerous corner clear as Melton responded.

Foxes brought on Bradley Carroll soon after half-time to strengthen midfield, but Blaby still held the upper hand and had a second goal ruled out for offside.

Lovegrove made a superb block when Blaby’s centre-forward looked a certain scorer before Wilkinson and Jacob Bates combined to clear further danger.

Melton hit back and levelled on 65 minutes when Nicholls’ deceptive swerving free kick eluded everyone and found the net.

The match became a midfield battle with the visitors just having the edge, but just when it seemed both sides had settled for a draw, Blaby were awarded a contentious late winner.

Their first cross was cleared, but the ball was knocked back low into the goalmouth which Lovegrove inexplicably allowed to slip through his legs and roll slowly towards the line.

Bates cleared the ball against the post and away from danger, but the referee adjudged the ball to have crossed the line despite the Foxes appeals.

A desperately unlucky finish for Melton and keeper Lovegrove who had done well until his late mistake.

Foxes: C. Lovegrove, B. Wilkinson, J. Nicholls, G. Wilkinson, J. Bates, J. Thorn, A. Walker, C. Beeken, K. Jones, S. Smith, C. Steans, B. Carroll, L. Thorpe.