Melton Town bemused as three sent off in Lutterworth defeat

Melton Town gave a debut to former Lincoln City star Nathan Arnold against Lutterworth EMN-180810-102941002
Melton Town gave a debut to former Lincoln City star Nathan Arnold against Lutterworth EMN-180810-102941002
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Melton Town were left fuming after having three players sent off as they lost their unbeaten league record to fellow title hopefuls Lutterworth Town.

Town led 1-0 at the break despite having Leon Fray and Sam Wilson dismissed in the opening eight minutes.

Montserrat international Spencer Weir-Daley was also handed his debut against Lutterworth EMN-180810-102952002

Montserrat international Spencer Weir-Daley was also handed his debut against Lutterworth EMN-180810-102952002

But Josh Hill became the third Melton player to be shown a red card by referee Dave Pullen midway through the second half for disputing the penalty which allowed the visitors to level.

Eight-man Town eventually conceded the winner with three minutes left.

It was a sad end to a much-anticipated match between two of the three unbeaten teams in United Counties League Division One which drew a large crowd to Signright Park.

Melton again came out of the traps fast as they have done all season and Tom Manship’s corner was met by captain Fray whose header went inches over the bar.

Then after just six minutes the game took a bizarre twist when Fray was shown a red card for an alleged stamp on a player.

And just two minutes later Wilson was adjudged to have led with an arm in an aerial battle according to the linesman and another red card was brandished.

Melton were up in arms at the decision and a third red card was shown to a member of the Town bench for appealing the decision.

The game eventually got back under way with Melton’s nine men still dominating possession.

Almost immediately Manship’s free-kick from the left thundered against the post.

Lutterworth’s two-man advantage saw them change to a more passing game, and Melton looked to pick them off.

The hosts could have led on the half-hour when the Lutts keeper fumbled a free-kick from new signing Nathan Arnold and the visitors scrambled the rebound away.

As the half drew to a close Melton took a well-deserved lead when Reeve received the ball on the edge of the area.

Dancing past two defenders, he struck a powerful shot into the top corner to send the home fans delirious.

The first attack of the second half almost saw Melton double their lead when Manship’s ball between the two centre-backs found Reeve, but his first-time shot brushed the outside of the post.

The game took another remarkable twist in the 65th minute when Lutterworth were awarded a penalty.

The players surrounded the referee in protest and Hill was sent off for dissent.

The league’s leading scorer Tendai Daire made no mistake from the spot, sending Peet the wrong way.

Lutterworth still found it difficult to penetrate Melton’s defence as the eight men looked the more dangerous.

With six minutes left, Arnold played a great ball to fellow new signing Weir-Daley whose strike went just wide of the post.

Lutterworth eventually found a way through with just three minutes to go when a one-two on the edge of the area ended with Jordan Small slotting past Peet.

Melton should take some heart that they were the better team with just nine men against one of their title rivals.

And while the top two meet on Saturday, Melton could get back in the promotion places with a good result at struggling St Andrews (ko 3pm).