Melton Town close on safety with Bugbrooke win

George Coser in the thick of the action for Town EMN-180424-092929002
George Coser in the thick of the action for Town EMN-180424-092929002
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Melton Town went a long way to achieving safety as they hung on to record a slender victory against fellow strugglers Bugbrooke on Saturday.

The clash at Digital Deadline Park was a real six-pointer with Town just six points and two places above third-bottom Bugbrooke at kick-off.

Connor Middleton makes the crucial penalty save EMN-180424-092940002

Connor Middleton makes the crucial penalty save EMN-180424-092940002

The visitors to Melton Sports Village knew a win would move them closer to escaping relegation, while dragging Melton into the basement battle.

The first half-hour was predictably nervous with both sides showing determination and confidence, but without being able to break down their opposing defence.

Bugbrooke had the first real chance when they broke into Melton’s area. The run appeared to be halted by a good defensive block from Chris Hibbitt, but a penalty was awarded for what looked like a dive.

Keeper Middleton came to Melton’s rescue with a great save to his right to stop Smith’s spot-kick.

Melton’s first clear-cut chance came on the half-hour when Cufflin-Stableford hassled the left-back, forcing a mis-pass to fall to Foster whose first-time shot was tipped over.

The resulting corner was collected by Cufflin-Stableford on the edge of the area who teed up Foster to place a shot into the bottom-left corner to give Melton a surprise lead.

Five minutes later Town almost doubled their lead when Lane went down the left, reached the byline and cut the ball back to Coser on the edge of the area whose shot just clipped the bar.

Bugbrooke had two great chances just before half-time to equalise.

The first came from their right as Weatherall beat two defenders and shot from a tight angle, forcing Middleton into a great save.

His second foray down the right saw another shot flash across the goalline, evading the oncoming Smith by inches.

Bugbrooke stepped up a gear for the second half in search of a goal, with Haskell causing problems down the left.

He forced Middleton into two great saves, firstly when he cut in and shot from 20 yards, before his next shot was tipped onto the post and wide.

With 15 minutes left, Clark was sent through by Lapworth, one-on-one with the keeper, but he was squeezed out by two defenders and the calls for a penalty fell on deaf ears.

Bugbrooke upped the pressure for the final 10 minutes, with Clayton, Hollis and Hibbitt blocking just about everything thrown at them.

Melton held out for a momentous win, but showed their inconsistent form is confusing players, management and supporters alike.

They next play promotion-chasing Lutterworth away from home on Wednesday (ko 7.45pm), hoping to upset the form book.