Melton Foxes U17s strike late to break Bosworth resistance

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Melton Foxes under 17s kept pace with the Division One leaders, but were indebted to Shaun Smith’s last-minute strike after Market Bosworth had looked certain to leave the All England Ground with a point.

Foxes started brightly and nearly snatched a third-minute goal when a clearance from the Bosworth keeper hit a Foxes forward and onto the post.

The visitors hit back and were unlucky when their left winger broke through and fired a shot against the post which rebounded into the grateful arms of keeper McNeight.

Cameron Ainge threatened with two good runs and crosse, while Alex Kotarba broke clear on the right and sent over another dangerous centre.

A third consecutive corner, swung in by Ainge, sparked a goalmouth melee which was cleared after more brave defending.

Alex Horobin, Alex Walker and Lewis Thorpe were working overtime to control midfield, but Bosworth battled hard to win a share of possession, and McNeight scrambled across goal to collect a long-range effort.

Ainge’s fierce drive was denied by a superb save, tipping the ball wide, and further corners kept up the pressure, while the lively visitors threatened on the break, but Foxes central defenders Adam Lauchlan and skipper Joe Nickolls maintained their grip.

Soon after half-time a corner to the back post found the Bosworth winger who fired in a fierce volley which McNeight superbly turned over the bar.

Kenny Jones came on and immediately put two fine crosses over, but again the Foxes couldn’t add the finishing touch.

Foxes should have gone ahead when Horobin crossed to the unmarked Smith but Melton’s leading scorer miscued his header from close range.

With time running out, Bosworth pulled all but one of their players back into defence and the hosts found it hard to create clear chances.

But with a draw looking likely, Cameron Steans picked up a clearance and produced a superb through ball for Smith to race clear. He flicked the ball past the advancing keeper and steering the ball into the empty net despite a last-ditch tackle.

Foxes: C. McNeight, C. Lovegrove, A. Lauchlan, G. Wilkinson, A. Walker, A. Horobin, L. Thorpe, K. Jones, S. Smith, C. Ainge, A. Kotarba, H. Mayes, J. Bates, B. Carroll, J. Nickolls, C. Steans.