Melton Town FC suffer FA Vase KO as Gedling Miners dig deep

The pivotal moment as Michael Reeve is denied a penalty late on in normal time. Picture: Phil James EMN-190209-103054002
The pivotal moment as Michael Reeve is denied a penalty late on in normal time. Picture: Phil James EMN-190209-103054002
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Melton Town were left to concentrate on their promotion bid after being knocked out of the FA Vase by Gedling Miners Welfare on Saturday.

Seven days after giving opponents from two leagues higher an almighty scare in the FA cup, Town went down 4-2 in extra time to fellow step six opponents in the first qualifying round of the Vase.

Jordan Lever fires in a spectacular late equaliser. Picture: Phil James EMN-190209-103044002

Jordan Lever fires in a spectacular late equaliser. Picture: Phil James EMN-190209-103044002

The East Midlands Counties League side arrived at The Signright buoyed by an excellent start to their league campaign, but Melton began the tie the better.

Their first clear-cut chance arrived after just two minutes when an in-swinging free-kick found Wilson unmarked in the area, but his header went the wrong side of the post.

Minutes later, Manship’s corner was headed on by Benjamin to the unmarked Wilson who found the side-netting.

Aaron Large went on a mazy run for Gedling and cut into the box before slipping Spiers through on clear on goal, but Town skipper Peet saved at his feet.

Munton and Reeve combined well up front and nearly broke the deadlock when a one-two ended with Reeve turning and firing a shot which Sharp finger-tipped around the post.

The game became niggly, with both teams conceding free-kicks aplenty, and both Town centre-backs went off injured, firstly Fray and then Gilchrist, as the hosts were forced to reshuffle the back four.

Then, out of nowhere, Melton went ahead when a Gedling attack was broken up and a long clearance found Munton.

He was tackled well, but the ball broke to Reeve who outpaced the defence and slipped a shot under the on-coming keeper.

Gedling were level 10 minutes into the second half when Sharp’s long ball beat Melton’s defence and found Tony Law clear on goal to slot past Peet.

Lever looked dangerous all game, and on the hour mark fired a shot which clipped the outside of the upright after another run across the box.

The match became a lottery in the last 10 minutes as both teams went for the win before a pivotal moment in the 83rd minute.

Reeve went clear and rounded the keeper, but appeared to be clipped by the defender as he was about to put the ball into an empty net.

Both sides stopped, but the ref waved play on, and immediately Gedling broke up the other end where Thornton calmly played in Haughton to hit a great low shot into the bottom corner.

Town saved the day in stoppage-time when Manship swung a free-kick into a crowded box and Lever latched on to Hastings’ headed clearance to hit a sweet volley into the top corner.

But Gedling regained the lead in the sixth minute of extra time when a weak backpass was intercepted by Thornton who kept his cool to place a shot under the oncoming Peet.

Reeve had a low shot well saved by Sharp, while Peet made a double save from Newton and Thurgood before the game was put to bed with 10 minutes left.

A Gedling short corner found Haughton whose cross-come-shot floated over Peet into the net.

The first-half injuries certainly unsettled Melton, but the best team on the day went through.

The cups are worth going for in a mid-table season, but the Melton management team have made no apologises for making the league their only priority this season.

They return to league action on Saturday when they welcome Rushden and Higham to the Sports Village.

Town: Peet, Beaver, Manship (Parsons), Gilchrist (Lever), Wilson (Rigby), Munton, Hibbitt, Reeve, Arnold, Day (Reek).