Melton Town bolster top 10 hopes with Oakham win

Richard Cragg punches clear as Oakham press EMN-171004-095825002
Richard Cragg punches clear as Oakham press EMN-171004-095825002
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Melton Town continued their impressive run of form with a derby win against local rivals Oakham in their final home game of the season.

The home side had the better of much of the match and could, and perhaps should have won by a greater margin.

Midfield maestro Jack Baker helped Town continue to create chances EMN-171004-095837002

Midfield maestro Jack Baker helped Town continue to create chances EMN-171004-095837002

For manager Steve Hendey the result and performance was another building block laid.

“It’s always nice to win a local derby and although Oakham have struggled of late we knew we’d have a game on our hands if we didn’t apply ourselves properly,” Hendey said.

“I definitely think the lads are getting used to how I want them to play and I think with the type of players we have at Melton then we’re only going to improve.

“We’ve still got plenty of faults to iron out, but I don’t feel it’s anything major. The effort and commitment so far has been first class.

“We had a good crowd up there and if we can give them a successful side who are also good to watch then I think we will be well supported.”

Manager Steve Hendey made four changes in personnel from the previous week’s team which beat Lutterworth as well as a couple of positional changes.

But Melton showed little sign of any disruption as they started strongly, passing the ball well.

The only thing letting them down was applying the finishing touch as they squandered four clear chances.

Oakham slowly grew into the game with North prompting things from midfield and Brookes doing his best up front with little support.

Richard Cragg had to be alert when North’s free-kick looked to be creeping in at the far post, but the home goalkeeper denied the visitors with a fine save.

Melton continued to have the greater share of possession and shortly before half-time took the lead when Ash Palfreyman pounced on a mistake by Neebauhm to round keeper Collin and finish.

The second half continued in much the same vein with Oakham content to get men behind the ball.

The hosts still carved out some excellent chances, but again lacked the clinical touch to match their approach work.

And Melton were made to pay when they carelessly lost possession and Cameron Brookes did superbly to hold off Alex Horobin and crash an unstoppable shot into the far corner to give Oakham an unlikely equaliser.

The goal rattled Melton for a while and Black shot straight at Cragg when well positioned.

But Town regained composure with Mike Hendey, Adam Bishop and Jack Baker taking control of midfield, and had a golden chance when Palfreyman broke free on goal and was brought down by Chamberlain’s desperate tackle.

With Melton strongly appealing for a penalty and most spectators debating the colour of the card, after consulting with the linesman, the referee awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box and showed Chamberlain a yellow.

Oakham’s reprieve was short-lived as Bishop hit an exquisite free-kick past the wall and keeper Collin.

Liam Ambrose did well to hold off two challenges before releasing the overlapping Lapworth whose cross just eluded Love six yards out.

Melton replaced Bishop, Lapworth and Fray with Mann, Calver and Ryder, making a welcome return from injury, and the fresh legs comfortably saw out the game to ensure another three points.