Melton Town fight back to beat St Andrew’s for 16th straight win

Jordan Lever put Town back on terms with a stunning equaliser before teeing up the fourth for Josh Hill (left) EMN-190325-091405002
Jordan Lever put Town back on terms with a stunning equaliser before teeing up the fourth for Josh Hill (left) EMN-190325-091405002
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Melton Town said goodbye to the Signright for a month and geared up for five important away days with another impressive win against St Andrew’s.

Town had dropped two points to the Saints in their first meeting in October, and the match started evenly with the visitors set up in two banks of four to try and frustrate Melton.

Michael Reeve completed his third hat-trick of the season at Irchester EMN-190325-091416002

Michael Reeve completed his third hat-trick of the season at Irchester EMN-190325-091416002

This they did very for the first 25 minutes, restricting Town to just one chance when Hill thumped a shot just over, and taking a ninth-minute lead through Nathan Osati’s 20-yard effort which deflected off Westwood’s back and looped over home goalkeeper Rob Peet.

Midway through the first half, Melton almost levelled when Reeve’s cross found Parsons whose turn and shot brushed the top of the bar.

St Andrew’s were matching Melton all over the pitch, but lacked Town’s quality on the ball.

Hill’s floated free-kick evaded both attack and defence and forced a great save from Armsden, and from the very next attack, Reeve ran down the right and found Lever who fired a low show which Armsden beat away.

Melton Town have chalked up 15 straight league wins since a 2-1 defeat at Northampton Sileby Rangers on December 1 EMN-190325-091427002

Melton Town have chalked up 15 straight league wins since a 2-1 defeat at Northampton Sileby Rangers on December 1 EMN-190325-091427002

Another quick Melton break ended with Parsons driving in a thunderous 25-yard shot which Armsden tipped over, and Westwood then clipped the post from an acute angle after a Melton corner caused the visitors all sorts of trouble.

The pressure eventually told with a remarkable equaliser.

A Saints clearance went only as far as Lever out on the left who, without hesitation, sent a 25-yard effort flying into the top corner.

The hosts went close to the lead when Peet’s clearance found Parsons who neatly backheeled the ball to Reeve, but his shot found Armsden.

And five minutes from half-time, Town were awarded a penalty when Parsons was tripped by Parish, but Reeve’s spot-kick was saved by Armsden, diving to his right.

Osati almost put the visitors ahead right on half-time when he danced across the edge of the box and struck a shot which Peet got down to deny.

The visitors also had the first chance of the second half when McLean’s cross was deflected and needed Peet to clamber backwards to clear his lines.

The management started to ring the changes as the game became a stalemate and almost immediately, sub Nathan Arnold played in Parsons who blazed over from six yards.

But still the visitors caused problems, and on the hour King’s through ball was missed by Wilson and picked up by Sankey, but with just Peet to beat he blazed over.

King then found himself clear one-on-one with Peet, and this time his chip found the roof of the net as Town breathed another sigh of relief.

Then with 20 minutes left came a moment of genius. A ball was played over the top of the Saints defence for Reeve who watched it over his right shoulder and volleyed it into the roof of the net to finally give Melton the lead.

Just 12 minutes later the points were secured when Rigby played in Arnold who combined with Stevenson before slotting the ball past Armsden for 3-1.

Melton continued to push knowing goal difference could yet play a part in the title push, and were rewarded four minutes from time when Lever cut in across the edge of the box and played in Hill who fired low into the opposite corner of the net for his first league goal since November.

Town’s run of five away matches starts with a trip to bottom team Thrapston on Saturday (ko 3pm) before a long-awaited fourth attempt at fellow title-chasers Anstey on Tuesday (ko 7.45pm).

Town: Peet, Rigby, Levi Fray (Arnold), Gilchrist (Hibbitt), Punter, Wilson, Westwood, Hill, Reeve, Parsons (Stevenson), Lever.