Melton Foxes U17s hit 10 to ignite title challenge

editorial image
Have your say

Melton Foxes Under 17s returned to the top of Division One following their thrashing of nine-man Stoneygate Blues on Sunday.

The win also took their goal difference above the other pair of title contenders Whetstone and Barwell with just three games remaining.

The news that regular keeper Connor McNeight had again dislocated his knee meant Chris Lovegrove stepped into the breach, but he was rarely troubled.

It was generally one-way traffic from kick-off but it took the Foxes 10 minutes to create a chance when striker Shaun Smith shot wide when well placed.

Smith made amends seconds later when he ran on to a Cameron Steans pass to fire low into the net.

Lewis Thorpe then joined the attack and his 20-yard shot forced a terrific save before Foxes doubled their lead after 15 minutes.

Cameron Ainge was brought down on the edge of the box and his free-kick found Alex Horobin at the far post whose diving header beat the helpless keeper.

A super one-two between Steans and Adam Lauchlan set up the latter to steer the ball past the keeper from close range.

Several clear-cut chances were squandered by poor finishing before Ainge won a corner on the right and his perfectly flighted kick was headed home by Horobin from close range for 4-0.

Foxes started the second half slowly, but it was 5-0 in the 55th minute when Ainge raced to the byeline to tee up Steans with a simple side-footed finish.

Two minutes later another Ainge cross found Horobin who headed on for George Wilkinson to net from close range and the same players combined for the seventh when Horobin headed Ainge’s corner against the bar and Wilkinson swept home the rebound.

Wilkinson’s low cross allowed Steans to ram home for 8-0 and Smith raced clear before hitting a rare right-footed shot past the keeper from six yards.

With two minutes left Melton made it into double figures when Steans again put Smith clear to send a delicate chip over the keeper to complete his hat-trick.

Foxes: C. Lovegrove, L. Thorpe, A. Lauchlan, G. Wilkinson, A. Kotarba, C. Ainge, A. Walker, A. Horobin, B. Carroll, S. Smith, C. Steans. J. Bates.