Melton Town made to pay for missed chances with late Huntingdon winner

Tom Byrne brought Town level at home to Huntingdon EMN-170611-085719002
Tom Byrne brought Town level at home to Huntingdon EMN-170611-085719002
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Melton Town slipped to another frustrating defeat, with just one win in nine, as another good performance went unrewarded against Huntingdon on Saturday.

Overnight rain had left the match in doubt, but by 3pm the pitch was bathed in Autumn sunshine and looking perfect for the two teams to battle it out.

Jack Baker was denied by a fine save EMN-170611-085706002

Jack Baker was denied by a fine save EMN-170611-085706002

Huntingdon were looking to cement a place in the top six, while Melton needed to turn their recent good performances into wins.

The hosts started brightly with several attacks finishing with shots flashing across goal, but with no-one gambling they became missed opportunities.

Huntingdon’s first real chance came from a floated free-kick from the right, but when Witham fumbled, Huntingdon’s leading striker Richie Baines blazed over the bar.

The visitors counter-attacked down the right and a header from the subsequent cross brushed the crossbar on its way over.

Midway through the first half, Matt Hendey slipped past his marker and his cross from the right caused chaos in Huntingdon’s defence.

They scrambled it out to Byrne whose shot was blocked on the line.

The resulting corner then flashed across the box, but missed everyone.

The sucker-punch came after 29 minutes when Huntingdon scored against the run of play.

A long ball down the left took a peculiar bounce, catching Sheridan out, and Stewart passed into the six-yard box to give Baines a tap-in.

Melton responded strongly with a succession of attacks which lacked the final ball.

Finally, with just minutes left of the half, Matt Hendey’s great ball found Zak Ginvert. The striker lobbed it on the half-volley to Byrne who nodded into an empty net from three yards for a well-deserved equaliser.

The first 20 minutes of the second half saw neither side make any clear-cut chances as the game became tense with both sides desperate for the points.

It took until the 66th minute for Melton to get a real sniff of goal when Ambrose slipped through Baker and his slide-rule pass put Byrne clear, but his first-time shot went just wide of goal.

Minutes later Jack Baker made a dazzling run across the box, beating three players, and his shot found the right-hand corner of the net, but was ruled offside, with the unfortunate Byrne adjudged to have interfered with the goalkeeper’s line of vision.

With the game just five minutes away from ending in a frustrating stalemate, the visitors launched a rare attack.

A long ball was played out to the right and the winger’s first-time pass found Lee Christian clear in the Melton box to head in unopposed.

Melton looked to get another late equaliser, with first Foster beating two defenders and firing into the side-netting before Hendey’s free-kick from the right was fumbled by the keeper, but the resulting shot was saved while he was on the floor.

Town’s performances have been excellent, but too many chances are going unconverted.

They now move on to back-to-back away games at Rushden and Bourne with a belief that they can come away with six points if they keep playing their positive football.