Melton Mowbray’s Senior League title hopes were dealt a boost on Saturday as they took advantage of a rare defeat for rivals Sffron with a routine victory at second-bottom Desford.
Sileby, who are second on goal difference behind Melton, remain in pole position and will claim the title should they win their final three games.
But Melton will focus on keeping their end of the bargain, winning their two remaining games at Kirby Muxloe Reserves, this Saturday, and Saffron.
Saturday’s game began in the worst possible fashion for Mowbray when they lost defender Leon Fray in the first few minutes when he was fouled and was forced out of the game.
Worse still, the injury looked likely to keep Fray out of last night’s County Senior Cup semi-final against his former club Bardon Hill.
After a two-week lay-off, Melton looked off the pace and it took them a while to get into the game.
Aidan Black had a great chance to open the scoring when Palfreyman’s excellent pass split the Desford defence, but Black couldn’t apply the finish as he tried to lob the keeper.
John Love headed over from Hazeldine’s corner before Palfreyman finally broke the deadlock when the Desford keeper spilled his 45-yard free-kick into the net.
The visitors soon made it 2-0 with another slice of lady luck when Bishop’s pass into the box was headed into the net by a Desford defender.
Top scorer Aaron Black then added a third on the stroke of half-time when he cut in from the left wing and beat the keeper at his near post.
Melton again started poorly in the second half as Desford pushed forward.
And the hosts were given a lifeline when Love tried to clear in the six-yard box with an overhead kick, but conceded a penalty for dangerous play. Desford replied from the spot.
Melton looked sharp on the break, but couldn’t find another goal to kill off the hosts until five minutes from time through Aaron Black’s fine solo effort.
Hazeldine’s pass found Black who beat the Desford defence for pace before coolly slotting past the keeper to make it 28 goals in all competitions this season.
Man-of-the-match, sponsored by Melton Building Society, was Levi Fray.
Melton: R. Cragg, Levi Fray, T. Cooper, Leon Fray (J. Love), A. Palfreyman, L. Mann (c), J. Baker (K. Clayton), A. Bishop (B. Stainsby), D. Hazeldine, Aaron Black, Aiden Black, R. Pierra.