Melton Town cut gap to UCL leaders to three with Harrowby win

Tom Rigby gave Town a vital breakthrough at Harrowby with his second goal of the season EMN-190225-091239002
Tom Rigby gave Town a vital breakthrough at Harrowby with his second goal of the season EMN-190225-091239002
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Melton Town once more showed their patient side to complete an 11th straight league win and move within three points of top spot.

Faced with a tricky trip to sixth-placed Harrowby, Town scored twice in the last 15 minutes to wrap up a 2-0 victory.

The result was given added gloss after the final whistle with the news that leaders Anstey had slumped to a surprise home defeat against lowly Raunds.

Looking to extend a winning run which dates back to early December, Melton should have scored within a minute when Josh Hill’s long ball from his own half put Reeve clear, but his great chip over the keeper smacked against the post.

Harrowby responded with their own near miss when Wadada found himself free and his quick shot rebounded off Westwood and his second bite of the cherry went well wide.

After just four minutes, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Parsons went past Wood and was crudely tripped.

But Parsons’ spot-kick was well saved by McGann diving to his right to parry the ball away.

Parsons nearly made amends minutes later with a rasping shot from the edge of the area which beat McGann but went inches wide.

For Harrowby, Podier beat three defenders and sent a shot straight at Peet, and Anderson’s diagonal pass found Leighton who struck the ball on the run, but over the bar.

The match became scrappy, with Harrowby having little choice but to drop back on the defensive and rely on breakaways from their front two, while Melton seemed to over-complicate each attack.

Melton thought they had broken the deadlock just before half-time when Stevenson’s free-kick found Westwood who had time and space to tuck the ball away, only to be adjudged offside.

Melton began the second half aggressively, fashioning several chances.

Parsons had broke into the box and teed up Stevenson who knocked it to Hill standing on the penalty spot, but his shot found McGann.

Lever was picked out by a diagonal cross and he side-stepped Gibbons before unleashing a thunderous drive which was beautifully saved by McGann.

And McGann then denied Reeve after Hill had made a run into the box.

Hammond made his debut off the bench and his first involvement was a one-two with Gilchrist which had him one-on-one with the keeper, but his final touch drifted wide.

Then with just 15 minutes left, Melton took a deserved lead.

Punter was first to a free-kick played into box and flicked a header into the path of Rigby who made no mistake from six yards.

Minutes later, Reeve and Hammond combined with the latter coming close to opening his account with a rasping shot which McGann touched around the post.

Harry Gibbons went close to equalising when his half-volley cleared the bar by a foot.

Then with just three minutes to go, Town put the game to bed and with it their 12th straight win in all competitions.

Westwood crossed from the right and Hammond raced into the area to volley past the keeper and into the bottom corner.

Town face more top-six rivals on Saturday when fourth-placed Blackstones make the short trip from Stamford to Melton Sports Village where the hosts will hope to make it lucky 13.

Town: Peet, Westwood, Rigby, Gilchrist, Punter, Wilson, Stevenson (Hammond), Hill (Hibbitt), Reeve, Parsons (Reek), Lever.