Melton Town held at Birstall United despite Munton double

Zak Munton took his goal tally to 20 for the season with another brace at Birstall EMN-200122-084224002
Zak Munton took his goal tally to 20 for the season with another brace at Birstall EMN-200122-084224002
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Melton Town had to fight back twice to earn a draw at Birstall United on Tuesday evening, extending their unbeaten league run to 13 matches.

Town’s last United Counties League defeat was three-and-a-half months ago, but the midweek trip to face former boss Shane Jarram’s side felt like two points lost in their promotion bid.

After Saturday’s clash with Northampton Sileby had become the latest home postponement, Melton started Tuesday’s clash on the front foot when Zak Munton headed Jordan Lever’s cross inches over the top.

But Birstall took a surprise lead after just four minutes when Rob Peet’s point-blank save, from a header, fell kindly to Jackson-Berarey to tuck away the rebound from three yards.

The pressure mounted as Town sought an equaliser, and it was a defensive howler which let them back into the game.

Nimblette cut out a long ball, but his cushioned header evaded the keeper and Munton nipped in to finish into an empty net.

The keeper nearly presented Town with a second goal three minutes later when he fumbled Nathan Arnold’s free-kick, but the defence chaotically cleared the danger.

Arnold continued to cause problems in midfield and his pass down the line released Lever to cross for the unmarked Munton, but Town’s leading scorer blasted his shot over the bar.

Peet dealt comfortably with Snaith’s 20-yard efforts, and Melton almost hit the front on the half-hour when Munton ran onto a long ball and rounded the keeper, only to see Phillips clear his shot off the line.

The very impressive Potter then beat Town’s offside trap and played a great ball into the unmarked Jackson-Berarey, but he scuffed his shot.

But it was largely against the run of play when the hosts regained the lead.

Hibbitt cleared off the line from Jackson-Berarey’s powerful right-foot shot, but Cotter kept the ball alive and calmly played in Bibby to smash into the roof of the net from close range.

Trailing at half-time, Melton thought they had levelled two minutes after the restart when a goalmouth melee ended with Young appearing to save the ball as it went over the line, but no goal.

Young was alert to tip a skewed Phillips clearance over the bar from player-manager Tom Manship’s free-kick, but on the hour Melton had their deserved equaliser.

Articolo was looking to shepherd the ball out when Sandy nicked possession, drove into the box and set up Munton whose sweet strike found the top corner.

With 20 minutes left, Melton almost grabbed a winner when Munton turned his defender and sent a rasping half-volley goalwards only for Young to make a great save.

Town now face two more important games against tough opponents, at Saffron Dynamo on Saturday before they welcome fourth-placed Aylestone Park to The Signright on Tuesday (ko 7.45pm).

Town: Peet, Beaver, Benjamin, Hibbitt, Fray, Gilchrist, Lever, Manship (Storey), Munton (Hammond), Duncan (Sandy), Arnold.