Melton Town began their bid to reach a second successive County Senior Cup final began with a 6-2 win at Thurnby on Tuesday evening.
Town were looking to go one better following their penalty shoot-out defeat last April, but Thurnby had just come off a good win against Asfordby and were looking to cause an upset.
A frantic start saw the first chance fall to Rangers when Johnson hesitated coming out for a ball, but the Town keeper just got his foot to it.
Melton were reduced to two half-chances in the opening 10 minutes, a header from Tom Harris and Laithan Hammond’s long-distance shot.
But the visitors broke the deadlock when slick passing in midfield ended with Zak Munton playing a one-two with Harris who fired the ball into the bottom corner. Johnson made a great save from Thurnby’s leading scorer, while Munton’s deflected effort fell to Kadeem Price whose curling shot brushed the post.
Midway through the half it was 2-0, Chris Hibbitt meeting Nathan Arnold’s corner and heading past beat the keeper.
Thurnby immediately halved the arrears straight from a Melton attack.
Having saved from Hammond, the keeper’s clearance caused a mix-up between Rigby and Johnson, leaving the ball bouncing towards an open net which the Rangers striker tapped in.
But two minutes later Melton restored their two-goal lead. A counter-attack ended with Munton’s turn and shot which was well saved, but it deflected in off a defender’s back.
Rangers hit back almost immediately when Rigby was dispossessed and the ball was floated into the area and fell just inside the far post for 3-2.
Right on halt-time the hosts should have equalised when a deep cross to the back post found a striker unmarked, but he headed wide.
The second half saw Melton go up a few gears and it took just two minutes to show the gulf in class.
Nathan Benjamin’s great ball down the line found Harris who turned the defender and sent in a low cross for Munton to smash past the keeper.
Harris then became the first 10-minute sin-binning of the season for Melton who opted to control the game until they were back up to full strength.
Fifteen minutes from the end the game was over as a contest.
Munton rolled in Hammond whose shot was palmed around the post, but from the resulting corner, Price glanced a header into the top corner.
An injury to Hibbitt saw sub Rob Peet go in goal to replace Johnson who was pushed on as an outfield player.
Melton’s attacks were relentless and were rewarded with a sixth goal when Harris went on a mazy run down the wing.
The winger cut into the box and beat three defenders before slotting past the keeper to cap a good performance.
Town: Johnson, Rigby, Arnold, Hibbitt (Peet), Gilchrist, Benjamin, Munton, Storey (Manship), Hammond (Fray), Price, Harris.