Melton Foxes U16s 2-2 FC Khalsa

Melton Foxes Under 16s pictured in front of newly-erected team dugouts supplied by Peter Lovegrove, of DPL Steel Buildings EMN-141215-131223002
Melton Foxes Under 16s pictured in front of newly-erected team dugouts supplied by Peter Lovegrove, of DPL Steel Buildings EMN-141215-131223002
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The loss of stand-in keeper Joe Thorn through illness and unavailability meant the team kicked off with just the bare XI.

Skipper Joe Nickolls was forced to leave the field after 20 minutes after a jarring tackle which left him with knee damage. Cameron Steans also had to go off for treatment in the second half leaving the hosts with nine players.

Melton kicked off with a positive attitude and shook the visitors with a first minute goal. Awarded a free kick on the left of the box, winger Kenny Jones curled a sweet shot into the net.

Khalsa responded, but despite several dangerous attacks their shooting was woeful and stand-in keeper Chris Lovegrove dealt easily with two long-range efforts.

The visitors were level after 32 minutes when Lovegrove seemed to have a free kick covered, but he pushed the ball against the bar and it rebounded off him into the net.

The visitors piled on the pressure, but the defence, expertly marshalled by George and Ben Wilkinson, kept the visitors at bay.

Just minutes after half-time, Khalsa were awarded a dubious penalty, but the spot kick hit the bar and was scrambled away.

Foxes retaliated and retook the lead from another free kick. It was chipped through for striker Shaun Smith who placed the ball past the keeper from six yards.

Melton’s defence again came under pressure, but courageous defending and poor finishing kept the hosts in front.

Just when it seemed they had weathered the storm the visitors snatched an equaliser. Lovegrove appeared to have a long-range effort covered, but allowed the ball to slip through his grasp and over the line.

With 10 minutes left, Cameron Steans was sent through, but saw his shot excellently saved before Smith fired wide when well placed.

Steans left the field with cramp, but on his return he and Smith combined to create another opening which the keeper denied once more.

A wonderful battling effort by the whole team and their first point of the season was scant reward.

Foxes: C. Lovegrove, C. Beeken, B. Wilkinson, G. Wilkinson, J. Bates, K. Jones, S. Smith, A. Walker, H. Mayes, J. Nickolls, C. Steans.